About EPD


What is an EPD?

Environmental Product Declarations, known as EPD. provide a standard way of declaring the impacts of manufacturing and using products through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Construction products are assessed using a single set of Product Category Rules (PCR) ensuring consistent reporting for similar products. EPD for construction products in Europe use the European Standard, EN 15804, as their PCR, to ensure that the information is provided using the same LCA rules, with the same environmental indicators, and in a way that means the information for lots of different products can be brought together to provide the environmental impacts for a building. EPD should always be independently verified by an expert familiar with the product category.


Are construction products “different”?

Although we talk about construction products, they are really “intermediate” products whose main purpose is to come together to produce a building. Many products can be used in different ways – cement can be used in ready mix concrete, mortar or block paving.  Providing the information for a tonne of cement in an EPD allows the producer of concrete, mortar or block paving to create their own EPD.  Mortar might be used on an exposed wall or an internal wall – providing the EPD in the modular format given by EN 15804 allows users to take the information from the EPD and apply it to their own use of the product. 


What is an ECO EPD?

ECO EPD are EPD which have issued by Established ECO EPD Programmes. ECO EPD Programmes have been audited by ECO Platform to ensure that they are following EN 15804 and that it is using the ECO Platform Verification Guidelines, ensuring a high level of robustness and quality. ECO EPD are recognized across Europe, which gives your EPD a much wider recognition than through a single EPD Programme. With offering a digital ECO EPD via the ECO Portal datahub LCA tools and other applications will in future have direct machine readable access to the EPD. This will help increasing the effectiveness of building and construction LCA and bring high added-value to all stakeholders.


What is the ILCD+EPD format?

Originally, EPDs were provided in print documents or digitally as static “pdf” format. To perform building environmental assessments using EPD data from pdf resulted in enormous manual efforts, since data from a pdf document can't be read by software like building LCA tools. To allow automation digital EPDs were needed.

Digital EPDs in ILCD+EPD format are machine-readable EPD information stored in an XML file that can be used by building LCA tools. ILCD is a widely used data format developed by the European Commission. In order to integrate EPD specific information (e.g. scenarios, modules, type of data), extensions were added to the ILCD format. The resulting format got named ILCD+EPD format. The ILCD+EPD format has the flexibility to adapt to future requirements or different national specifications and underlying standards.


Is a product with an EPD a “good” product?

An EPD is just a way of providing environmental information about the product – products with high impacts can have EPD just like products with low impacts – but an EPD does give you the information to assess the product’s performance at the building level. It’s important to take into account the other products that you will need to product the required functionality at the building level – two insulation products may have different conductivities so you will need less of one to provide the same amount of insulation – you will need to consider both the quantity of each insulation and the impact provided in the EPD to understand which product will have the better environmental performance.


Who needs EPD and why? 

  • Building Life Cycle Assessment 
    EPD for construction products are critical in conducting whole building life cycle assessments. 
  • Designing for low impact over the building life cycle 
    They can provide information on the reference service life and the impact of any maintenance.  This enables architects to design for durability and adaptability.
  • Designing buildings for the Circular Economy
    EPD provide environmental information about the use of secondary materials and fuels and renewable energy and materials in production, and how recoverable the product is at end of life, and what benefit its recovery might have.  This enables architects to design buildings which address the circular economy.
  • Marketing
    EPD enable companies to make credible and verifiable environmental claims about their products. This enhances credibility and allows comparisons against similar products.
  • Procurement
    EPD can be used as source information in the procurement and purchase of products. They provide buyers with the confidence of knowing that the environmental performance of a specific product has been reviewed and verified by an independent expert with expertise in LCA.
  • Product Comparison
    Where the same Product Category Rules have been used, and all the relevant life cycle stages have been included, EPD can be readily compared providing their functionality and use in the building is considered. It is also important to take into account any additional materials or work required to make the same products achieve a similar level of performance, e.g. fire retardants or foundation supports and to take account of any differences in service life, maintenance and disposal.
  • Specification
    Specifiers can include information provided in EPD in their performance specifications, to ensure that products used in the building meeting their requirements for environmental performance.
  • Supply chain
    EPD verification will cover the specific information provided by the supply chain as well as the product manufacturer to ensure the robustness of data and identify opportunities for improvement throughout the supply chain.