The global construction sector is responsible for a staggering 39% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Out of this, 28% can be attributed to operational emissions resulting from buildings´ energy consumption, while the remaining 11% arises from embodied emissions in building materials and from the construction process. In response to this pressing issue, the European Union (EU) has introduced new policies and building designs that emphasise a comprehensive lifecycle approach for considering and managing the sector´s emissions. This approach aims to tackle not only operational carbon emissions, but also the carbon embodied in building construction processes as well as materials.
A key tool in this endeavour is the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which offers a reliable, certified, and independently verified assessment of a product’s environmental impact. EPDs have gained significant recognition among industry professionals and policymakers, as they play a pivotal role in addressing embodied carbon within the construction sector. For example, all public procurement bodies in the EU are required to use EPDs to assess the environmental performance of products. Additionally, new building regulations which set targets for the embodied emissions in buildings are being implemented in the Netherlands, France, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
By composing EPDs, companies can gain valuable insights into the environmental performance of their products and make informed decisions to reduce their carbon footprint.
At Civitta, we specialise in assisting companies in the development of EPDs and unlocking the environmental benefits associated with them. Our comprehensive service can guide your company through the entire process, ensuring accurate assessments and helping you maximise the positive impact of your products on the environment. Please visit our website to learn more about the benefits of EPD and how our services can benefit your company.
Recognising the climate urgency, the EU has adopted the European Green Deal which establishes two principal climate goals: a 55% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and achieving carbon neutrality across the entire union by 2050. Achieving these goals require decarbonising the construction sector, which currently accounts for a staggering 39% of the global energy-related GHG emissions. Out of this figure, 28% can be attributed to operational emissions resulting from the buildings´ energy consumption, while the remaining 11% is associated with the construction materials´ production and construction processes — i.e., embodied emissions.
In addition to the overarching climate goals, the European Green Deal mandates that all new buildings must be zero-emission by 20302. This means that these buildings must exhibit high energy efficiency, consume minimal energy, and rely solely on renewable energy sources. Furthermore, there is increasing pressure to measure and disclose carbon emissions throughout the entire building lifecycle, encompassing operational and embodied emissions from material production, transportation, construction, demolition, and waste management. To realise the ambition of zero-emission buildings, it is crucial to prioritise low-carbon materials in order to minimise embodied emissions. Structured quantification and transparent disclosure of GHG emissions guide decision-makers in identifying emission reduction needs and required actions. But the rationale extends beyond the political agenda.
Within recent years, there has been a considerable increase in the market demand for sustainability which, in turn, has significant financial implications for businesses, as quantifying and publishing the product´s environmental impact enables to:
At Civitta, we believe that addressing the environmental impact is a driving force for product portfolio development and a key differentiating factor in the competitive landscape. We advise companies to embark on their sustainability journey by quantifying their products´ environmental impact, for example through the creation of an EPD.
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) provides objective, comparable and verified data about products or services’ environmental impacts throughout its whole life cycle.
EPD serves as a transparent and well-established approach to provide essential and verified environmental information about a product. This declaration isbased on a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) that evaluates the environmental impacts of a product or a product group.
EPDs are in accordance with the standards EN 158043 and LCA standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. The mandatory scope for an EPD is production stage (A1-A3), end-of-life (C1-C4) and external impacts beyond the system boundaries (D). Other modules, including assembly stage (A4-A5) and use stage (B1-B7) can be applied depending on client’s needs, but it is not mandatory for the EPD. This ensures that EPDs provide information on both cradle-to-gate (A1-A3) and end-of-life phases (module C), as well as external impacts beyond the system boundary (module D).
Furthermore, the standard mandates the reporting of 13 core environmental impact indicators, including:
Developing an EPD involves a systematic process encompassing several stages to ensure accurate and reliable environmental information
Let’s explore the key steps involved:
At Civitta, we provide comprehensive support, which extends beyond EPD development. We offer assistance in various product assessment methods, including the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)9 developed by the European Commission and the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard developed by GHG Protocol10. Additionally, we help companies measure their carbon footprint and assess their climate impact at the organisational level together with setting up a sustainability strategy and roadmap development, sustainability reporting and compliance.
Our team of sustainability experts is here to guide and support your company in developing an EPD and implementing sustainability initiatives. To explore the possibilities further, feel free to contact us!