What function does an EPD serve?
An EPD is used for the verified documentation of environmental impacts, resource consumption, and waste generation for a material/product/building component.
As such it is a declaration – not a labelling or an environmental claim, therefore the EPD does not directly speak to the sustainability of the building component.
Whether one thing is more sustainable than another demands a direct comparison, best performed at the building-level where the building component is included in a construction process, and a comparison to alternative solutions can be made.
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) documents the environmental performance of a construction product, and is developed according to European and international standards.
An EPD can, amongst other, be used for:
- Building certification (e.g. DGNB, LEED or BREEAM)
- Material requirements in tender documents
- Product development and production optimization
When performing sustainability certifications of buildings (in Denmark this is primarily done through DGNB) an EPD can be used as input or documentation for the lifecycle assessment (LCA) that must be carried out for the building. Furthermore, EPDs are used to achieve points in the DGNB certification system.
Moreover, the lifecycle assessment (LCA) that is the foundation of an EPD can contribute to better understanding of a product, and be used internally in the manufacturing company for optimization and product development purposes with regards to environmental sustainability – i.e. documentation forenvironmental management certification of the manufacturer.
Case studies on how EPDs are used by the Danish construction industry/companies, can be found HERE.