Environmental Product Declarations

What is an EPD?

Transparent LCA-based environmental impact reports are rapidly becoming a requirement for product specification by architects and designers.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) effectively communicates the impact that the materials and processes used throughout a products lifecycle has on the environment. This includes the entire lifecycle, enabling consumers to conduct an evaluation of alternative products based on environmental performance across suppliers.

Developing and verifying EPD’s for your products has the potential to earn your product range credits for LEED, BREEAM and other green building rating systems. Verification requires preparation in accordance with the relevant Product Category Rules (PCR) for your products. Compliance with a range of international standards is also required, including ISO 14044, ISO 14025, and ISO 21930.

Our in-house life cycle assessment (LCA) team is experienced in managing every aspect of the EPD process. Our collaborative approach to developing your EPD’s ensures a smooth, efficient LCA and an accurate EPD.

Our LCA and EPD team offer two services:

  • LCA and EPD Development. TZC conducts the LCA and prepares the EPD report based on the appropriate PCR. We then work with an external third-party to independently verify the EPD before publishing the verified EPD with your preferred programme operator.
  • EPD Verification. If you already have completed an LCA, TZC can critically review the LCA and provide a template for the EPD. We then work with an external third-party to independently verify the EPD before publishing the verified EPD with your preferred programme operator.
EPD

Creating an EPD

The reliability, comparability, and usability of Environmental Product Declarations are determined by a number of factors:

Product Category Rules (PCRs)

ISO 14025 (The international standard governing EPDs) stipulates that certified EPDs must be prepared in accordance with the relevant PCRs. PCRs define the product category, describe the scope of the life cycle assessment (LCA) to be conducted, and identify the types of potential impacts that must be evaluated and reported.

LCA Study

In order to ensure the integrity of the final EPD document, the LCA must be conducted in accordance with international LCA standards (ISO-14040 family). The assessment must address each environmental or human health impact identified in the relevant PCR.

EPD Report

The resulting EPD is based on the findings of the assessment. It must disclose all information required in ISO 14025, the PCR and any information required by the programme operator. EPD reports include details such as a description of the study scope, the product, results, and additional environmental information about the product or products included within the EPD.

Pile of paving blocks

The EPD Process

Identify the Product Category Rule (PCR’s)

  • TZC will work with you in evaluating your products and identifying the relevant the PCR’s for your products.
  • If a relevant PCR has not yet been developed, we will work with programme operators in order to develop a set of PCR’s for your products.

Scoping and Data Collection

  • TZC works with you in order to develop an approach to EPD’s which will accurately represent your range of products through an efficient and cost-effective scope.
  • TZC supports you in gathering necessary supplier and manufacturing data.

Perform Life Cycle Assessment

  • TZC leverages accredited LCA models, drawing data from a range of sources including Ecoinvent datasets. This approach ensures a cost effective LCA strategy for your products
  • The resulting LCA Report is critically reviewed for conformance to the relevant requirements

Prepare EPD

  • The TZC life cycle team prepares an EPD compliant with the PCR, incorporating the results of the LCA and any other information required in a market-ready format.
  • Your feedback on the EPD is included in the EPD preparation.

Verify EPD

  • Consistent with the requirements of ISO 14025, the EPD will be reviewed and verified by a third-party team.
  • TZC facilitates this verification process through a fully independent external verifier.

Publish EPD

  • Once the EPD is completed and verified, TZC will register the EPD with your preferred programme operator. 

We always recommend publishing your EPD with an Eco Platform member, such as BRE.

Frequently Asked Questions

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) effectively communicates the impact that the materials and processes used throughout a products lifecycle has on the environment. This includes the entire lifecycle, enabling consumers to conduct an evaluation of alternative products based on environmental performance across suppliers.

An LCA covers the entire lifecycle of a product, measuring and quantifying the human health and the environment impacts associated with a product. It investigates the impacts associated with each stage of the lifecycle, including raw material extraction, manufacturing processes, distribution, use, and disposal/recycling. In order to promote consistency and comparability, LCAs are conducted in accordance with international standards such as ISO 14044, ISO 14025, and ISO 21930, and include a range of factors associated with the product including climate change, acidification, Land use and Ozone layer depletion.

LCA’s form the basis of an EPD.

In order to conduct an LCA, a range of data relating to the production of your products is required. Examples of this data includes:

  • Energy use (i.e., electricity and fuel use)
  • Water use
  • Waste generation and emissions generation
  • Material composition and supplier details (location, transport modes etc.)
  • Packaging detao;s
  • Transportation distance representing distribution of the product
  • Anticipated product lifetime and required maintenance (for cradle-to-grave EPDs only)

Product Category Rules (PCR’s) inform and dictate the requirements of the LCA study for your product (e.g. concrete blocks, steel framing, etc.). Reviewing the relevant PCR’s is the first step in preparing your EPD’s. It determines the aspects which must be reported, ensuring all EPD’s for your product category are comparable across manufacturers and suppliers.

Many PCRs have been developed for products across industries, with more PCRs in the process of being developed for additional categories.

Please get in touch to discuss the availability of PCR’s for your products.

Once the LCA is prepared, an EPD report and file is prepared which summarizes the LCA results and includes the information required by the PCR’s and Programme Operator. The EPD is externally verified, ensuring accuracy with respect to LCA results, PCR and Programme Operator requirements. Once verified, the EPD is registered and published with a Programme Operator. Once published, the EPD is typically valid for a period of five years.

EPD’s can create a source of competitive advantage for manufacturers, as sustainability is becoming a factor influencing the consumers decision making process, EPD’s can help your products become designers and architects preference.

Through understanding what aspects of you product are impacting the environment, the data used in preparing your EPD can be used to identify opportunities for improvement throughout your manufacturing process, helping your organisation achieve its climate objectives.

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