The built environment contributes 40% of greenhouse gases globally. In an era defined by growing environmental consciousness, businesses are increasingly recognising the need to adopt sustainable practices to mitigate their impact on the planet.
One essential tool to guide environmentally responsible decision making is Life Cycle Assessment (LCAs).
From the initial extraction of raw materials, through production, distribution, and eventual disposal or reuse, LCAs pursue robust, accurate and meaningful data. This is to provide environmental accountability for the products used in a building project or assessment.
By analysing crucial factors such as energy consumption, emissions, waste generation, and resource depletion, LCAs empower businesses to make informed design decisions that drive positive change. They allow businesses to identify areas to optimise sustainability and reduce their ecological footprint, fostering a tangible commitment to environmental responsibility in the long term.
Environmental Product Declarations
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) play a pivotal role in advancing sustainability by providing transparent and credible information about a product’s environmental impact. These declarations offer a quick snapshot of a product’s environmental performance throughout its life cycle.
EPDs reveal key environmental metrics during product manufacturing, such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. What sets EPDs apart is their adherence to internationally recognised standards and guidelines, ensuring consistency and reliability in product sustainability reporting. Businesses and consumers can rely on high quality EPDs from trusted organisations to make decisions that align with their environmental values and objectives.
The strength of EPDs lies in their ability to distil complex LCA data into an easy-to-understand format.
LCAs serve as the scientific foundation for EPDs, providing rigorous analysis that evaluates a product’s environmental impact from cradle (or product conception) to grave (or product disposal). Through LCAs, EPDs consider each stage of a product’s life cycle – from sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, usage, and eventual disposal or recycling. A 3rd party verified declaration of the product is then issued, which shows its quantified environmental performance.
LCAs can also be conducted from cradle to gate, which concludes when a finished product leaves the factory – though this is a less complete assessment of a product’s environmental impact.
By leveraging LCA methodologies, EPDs offer a holistic view of a product’s environmental footprint. This enables stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and implement eco-friendly practices. These declarations empower businesses to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection by choosing verifiably sustainable products. They also enable businesses to gain a competitive edge in the market through showcasing sustainability commitment, and by meeting the demands of environmentally conscious consumers.
BRE and EPDs
BRE is internationally recognised for its expertise in LCAs and pioneering work in the environmental evaluation of construction products for whole building assessment and other related schemes. This includes BRE’s sustainability assessment, BREEAM.
Our expertise saves businesses time and resources while providing a cost-effective solution. BRE’s EPDs follow strict guidelines, with industry recognising them as reliable and trustworthy – in a market where a number of alternatives cannot match the quality of our product modelling and assessment. Many respected local and international organisations trust BRE’s EPD services, including trade associations like the Brick Development Association and UK Cares. In addition, previous clients include large manufacturers like Hanson and Hemple, and other companies like Uzin Utz, Kenoteq, Addagrip, and Ecotherm.
In the flooring industry we have already seen there is a growing demand for clarity and information regarding manufactures products claims. EPD certification plays important role in helping our clients make informed decisions regarding their choice of materials. This coincides with rise of sustainable building practices such as BREEAM certification, which helps companies to develop sustainable and eco-friendly buildings.
Daniel Leeson, Marketing Manager, Uzin Utz UK
BRE can help you obtain your product’s EPD in two ways. The first is BRE Consultancy, where we assist you in data collection, modelling, and producing a draft EPD for verification. Alternatively, our BRE LINA Tool subscription allows you to upload data and generate a draft EPD independently.
Choosing BRE to validate your EPD ensures verification that is high in quality and respected by many businesses and institutions across the world.
EPDs are a vital tool for businesses and consumers alike to make informed decisions that align with environmental legislation, values and objectives. EPDs offer transparent and credible information about a product’s environmental impact, fostering a commitment to sustainability and driving positive change in the built environment.
By working with BRE, companies can enhance their brand image, gain a competitive edge, and demonstrate their dedication to environmentally responsible practices. As climate change continues to pose challenges, EPDs play a crucial role in sculpting a more sustainable economy and supporting green practices across industries.
Visit our dedicated page to find out more about EPDs and how BREEAM can help certify your products construction.
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