The IMPACT database

BRE Centre for Sustainable Products has completed an update of the IMPACT Database (IMPACT DB) for construction products. Version 5, released in March 2018, supersedes version 4. The IMPACT DB contains approximately 350 datasets that are compliant with EN 15804[1] and have been modelled in SimaPro, using BRE Global EN 15804 PCR[2]ecoinvent v3.2[3] and various Trade Association/representative manufacturers’ primary data where applicable.

The IMPACT DB fulfils data quality requirements of EN 15804 for product-level environmental data, and is applicable to building-level environmental assessments using EN 15978:2011.

  1. BS EN 15804:2012+A1:2013
  2. BRE Global EN 15804 Product category Rules (PCR), PN514 Rev 2.0 (pub January 2018)
  3. ecoinvent v3.2 is a publicly available, research-based, peer-reviewed (and open to scientific scrutiny and dialogue) and therefore scientifically robust database that can be used for the life cycle assessment of construction products.

Current database: Version 5

The IMPACT EN 15804 v5 dataset provides LCA data for modules A1-C4 (product stage, transport to site, construction, in use and end of life) for each material. The dataset is fully compliant with the international standard in LCA – EN 15804. As such it includes not only LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) data on embodies carbon or GWP (Global Warming Potential, measured in kgCO2eq.) but a range of other environmental indicators including: Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), Acidification Potential (AP), Eutrophication Potential (EP), Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP) and Abiotic Resource Depletion Potential (ADP).

It also includes the BRE metric Ecopoints.  A single score that includes all environmental indicators weighted by environmental significance. The underlying data in IMPACT is provided through Ecoinvent which is highly regarded within the industry. Compiled by international research institutes and LCA consultants, it is the worlds largest life cycle inventory with over 17,000 datasets. Each dataset is fully documented and referenced so that all unit and system processes that feed into product data results are transparent.

The differences between the previous database versions are summarised as follows:

VersionMethodBackground databaseSoftware
Version 5BRE Global EN 15804 PCR Rev 2.0ecoinvent v3.2SimaPro
Version 4BRE Global EN 15804 PCR, Rev 0.0ecoinvent v3.1SimaPro


Specific notes for Version 5:

Construction Product datasets

In modelling the construction products, some compensation steps were necessary:

  • BRE Centre for Sustainable Products has adapted, where relevant, the datasets (which are representative of Europe) to be representative of UK production by adjusting on a case-by-case basis specific material and energy inputs based on publicly available information and historical production data held by BRE.
  • For products that are typically imported from specific countries, in the absence of country specific data the adjustment has implied using regionally appropriate raw materials and energy input data.
  • For construction products that are internationally traded, e.g. metals, the respective European or global average ecoinvent v3.2 datasets have been used without adjustment.

End of life scenarios

The data for the scenarios used for waste from construction, refurbishment and demolition have been derived from BRE SMARTWaste statistics. Overall this data is comparable to the UK statistics published from Defra in 2016. Licensed IMPACT database users may obtain specific end of life percentages and final disposal routes for individual materials directly from BRE Sustainable Products.

Default installation wastage percentages are also included for applicable materials in the IMPACT database, also based on BRE in-house data (Resource Efficiency team).

Carbon sequestration of biomaterials

The IMPACT database takes into account the storage of carbon in biomaterials such as timber. The sequestered carbon is an inherent physical property of the biomaterial and leads to the reporting of net negative CO2 emissions values for these products, especially in instances where the manufacturer-related processes do not contribute sufficiently significant carbon dioxide emission values.

Carbonation of CaO and Ca(OH)2-containing products

The IMPACT database takes into account the carbonation of products containing calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide, e.g. concrete. This uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is applicable to surfaces exposed to air and is dependent on the porosity and the strength of the product.

International transport

The transport of construction products that are imported into the UK from specific countries (e.g. China/India) is accounted for in the respective datasets.