The Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is designed to help create a low carbon, more resource efficient, sustainable built environment. EPD provides information on a product’s environmental impact. It includes resources, energy use and efficiency, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
Within the recently introduced Construction Products Regulation (CPR), an EPD is used to assess the impact of a product on sustainable construction.
The American Wood Council (of which APA is a member), in collaboration with the Canadian Wood Council, has released Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for softwood plywood and Oriented Strand Board (OSB), with third-party verification from the Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULE), an independent certifier of products and their sustainability. The North American wood products industry also has EPD for I-Joists and LVL.
EPD is based on international standard ISO 14025:2006 which establishes the principles and specifies the procedures for developing Type III environmental declaration programmes and Type III environmental declarations. ISO 14025:2006 was also the foundation for the new environmental standard, recently updated – EN 15804:2012 +A1:2013.
In Europe, 11 EPD ‘programme operators’ from ten countries recently founded the ECO Platform. Its aim is to support the development of a pan-European Core EPD which will lead to mutual EPD recognition across regional borders.
The information provided by EPD can help to assess the impact of materials and products used at the building level. Decision-making at design stage can be improved by combining environmental impact data and whole life cost data and linking them to ‘building information modelling’ (BIM) data.