ECO Newsletter archive
ECO Platform - Newsletter Q4
Time to say thank you with this release of our ECO Platform newsletter, which indicates very active and turbulent times. The actual activities show, how much ECO Platform has achieved already and how present ECO Platform is at the European level for the related stakeholder groups.
Within the next weeks, we will ask you to get involved into a stakeholder dialogue to work on common goals with all relevant stakeholder groups involved. The basis for this communication was laid during the Cities To Be event in Angers, France, where we had the chance to meet many of the relevant players in the field of Building LCA and Product Data.
But one step after the other. Let's start with some reports about the last months of ECO Platform.
"Thank you, Alliance HQE!"
Every year, ECO Platform joins an event, hosted by one of our EPD Programme Operators, to promote EPD, the ECO Platform and the local Programme in their region. This year we were invited to Angers by our French member Alliance HQE. ECO Platform could present its achievements during the "Cities To Be" event, to which many stakeholder groups were invited and more than 1.000 participants joined.
Moreover, ECO Platform used this occasion to hold an Open Board Meeting for all members, to meet with the InData Group and various relevant stakeholders, such as representatives from the European Commission, national ministries, industry, architects, LCA practitioners, Green Building Councils and Rating Schemes. With good results. We found a wide range of common goals, achieved understanding for the achievements of ECO Platform and InData and opened a continuous direct communication on relevant issues with relevant stakeholders.
ECO Platform thanks our French Members for the opportunity to become part of this event and all the connected efforts. And we would like to congratulate you for this successful event.
Cities To Be event in Angers, France on September 11 and 12
Board Meeting in Angers, France on September 11
"Thank you, presenters!"
In the session about EPD that we hosted together with Alliance HQE during the Cities To Be event, ECO Platform asked some stakeholders to present their view and experiences with EPD. By this, we wanted to show the relevance of Building LCA and EPD for the market.
The stakeholder groups, we asked to contribute to our session were:
The presentation could show an audience of over 150 participants from various stakeholder groups how Building LCA can contribute to improve buildings and how product data from EPD serves the process. With comprehensive examples Kevin Thizy and Charlotte Petiot made complex issues simple. Charlotte expressed furthermore, how St. Gobain is using their EPD to improve their supply chain, production and product performances. Tanja Brockmann could show how the data provision can be organized by the public authorities and explained the solution for the data exchange in an open database network. Finally, Christian Donath expressed ECO Platform's and InData's common approach, which finally offers one digital data format for whole Europe, reducing the effort for manufacturers drastically and how digitalization makes data exchange in between the various databases possible, while sticking to the "single source of data" principle.
ECO Platform thanks all three presenters. Your tangible contributions made our session successful.
EPD session co-hosted by ECO Platform during the "Cities To Be" event in Angers, France
"Thank you, Audit Team!"
During our Board Meeting in Angers, we could hand the certificates over to PEP ecopassport after they successfully passed their audit. We congratulate and welcome you to the circle of ECO EPD Programme Operators.
We would like to use this chance to thank our Team of Auditors and especially our Board Member Hakon Hauan, who is serving as Chief Auditor and Quality Manager, responsible for the audits as well as the implementation of our Audit Tool, which meant an enormous amount of work for him.
Sylvie Bronchain received the ECO EPD PO certificate for PEP ecopassport
"Thank you, Marc Bosmans!"
Just after our Board Meeting in Angers, Marc Bosmans has stepped down from our Board of Directors due to a personal job change. ECO Platform would like to thank Marc for his outstanding contribution. His help to optimize internal processes as well as communication, his inside view to the perspectives of industry and trade associations, his critical and always very constructive reviews plus comments were very appreciated and meant real improvement to ECO Platform. We are very grateful for that and will miss you "on board".
Marc, we wish you all the best for your next tasks and hope to stay in close contact.
Marc Bosmans during our Board Meeting on September 11 in Angers, France
"Thank you, TeWoG!"
Our Technical Working Group (TeWoG), convened by Eva Schmincke, is continuously working on further harmonization and technical issues to secure the quality of ECO EPD. This means a lot of work on a voluntary basis. The group is open for all ECO Platform members, which many of our members make use of, to contribute, to be informed and to implement the results into their own business.
After intensive work on the revision of our Audit Guidelines, the new version was approved and now is effective. All ECO Platform members can download the new Audit Guidelines in the Audit & Quality Management section of the member area on our homepage.
Of course, our TeWoG doesn't rest but continues its work. Next major issue: verification guidelines for EPD and LCA tools.
ECO Platform expresses its gratitude to all contributors for all the valuable work done in the TeWoG.
"Thank you, InData Group!"
Since the beginning, ECO Platform was promoting and supporting the InData Working Group, encouraging all ECO EPD Programme Operators to actively participate in the process of defining the digital format and organizing the product data exchange in between the existing databases.
InData's work is contributing 100% to the objectives of ECO Platform. The overlap of common goals and work is obvious. In Angers InData and ECO Platform continued their fruitful and intense cooperation and their talks about efficient alignment of the ongoing and future activities.
ECO Platform would like to express their respect and gratitude for the achievement of InData. We honour our close cooperation and see great value in it for our common stakeholders.
On September 11, ECO Platform and InData held their Board meetings in Angers.
"Thank you, members and stakeholders!"
In the last months we were strengthening our networking efforts with the help from many of our members. This helps to better understand the needs of the different stakeholders, communicating the achievements of ECO Platform and bundling efforts with partners to achieve common goals.
Good talks on common objectives and alignment of activities with many stakeholders in Angers.
Furthermore, the participation in events will increase the visibility and presence of ECO Platform throughout Europe. Following our active presence in Angers in September, we participated in the Thematic Group III Meeting on the use of natural resources in Brussels on October 24, where ECO Platform again had the chance to meet and speak with very relevant partners.
Thanks to all the members and stakeholders that are contributing to communicating and achieving ECO Platforms goals.
The JRC asked ECO Platform to participate in a study on existing LCA tools by review and comments. We agreed to send the report to our EPD Programmes, gathered comments and replied to the JRC. We thank all members that contributed to our replies on behalf of JRC.
On November 26, Christian Donath will speak on behalf of ECO Platform during the EPD International Stakeholder Conference 2019 in Bilbao.
Next year from June 9 until June 11 a world sustainable built environment conference "Beyond 2020" is taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Together with InData, ECO Platform submitted a proposal for a session on " Digitalization and global communication of product-data (EPD) for Building LCA". Idea is to comprehensively explain the future of Building LCA and Product Data Exchange with short impulse presentations by all relevant stakeholder groups.
"Thank you, Jane Anderson!"
We all know that our resource consumption and our carbon emissions are significantly influenced by the building sector. If the agreed European political goals on carbon reduction are to be kept, the potential for mitigation in the building sector should be activated better, soon. Basis for any effective action is transparency: measurability is key for understanding the impacts, when choosing the right measures to improve.
We support building Life-cycle assessments (LCA) as best methodology for correctly assessing the "carbon impact" (as well as use of resources) of buildings and construction products correctly. Building LCA are well established, such as EPD as the best format for the required product data for any life-cycle assessment on building level.
With this newsletter, Jane Anderson provides insights about the world of building rating schemes and their methods to consider building LCA. Thank you for all your efforts and for sharing your knowledge with us, Jane!
The value of EPD for Green Building Certification
By Jane Anderson, ConstructionLCA Ltd.
BREEAM, one of the most well-known and well used of the Green Building Certification schemes, first included Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) when its Mat 01 Credits were linked to the use of the Green Guide to Specification in 1998. BRE’s Green Guide contained Green Guide ratings for over 200 elemental specifications for commercial buildings, based on generic LCA studies for UK construction products using a common methodology known as Environmental Profiles, one of the first Environmental Product Declaration Programmes for construction products. Using the Green Guide, architects were able to obtain more credits by using building elements with better Green Guide ratings, and hence with lower environmental impact over the life cycle
Around 2003, BRE launched a certification scheme for Environmental Profiles, allowing manufacturers to produce Environmental Profiles for specific products, accompanied by Green Guide ratings, so that they could demonstrate their products’ environmental credentials and potentially help architects get more BREEAM Mat 01 credits by using products with better Green Guide ratings. To my knowledge, this was the first time that EPD provided added value within Green Building Certification.
Many sustainable building certification schemes have now been developed around the world, and they almost all consider the environmental impact of construction materials, but in widely different ways. However, there are two main mechanisms by which EPD themselves, and the LCA data for construction materials reported in EPD are considered within these schemes.
EPD Credits: An increasing number of schemes give credits for using products which have EPD. Often more credit will be given if the EPD are product or manufacturer specific, rather than generic (average data for several products or manufacturers). Some schemes also require the product manufacturer to be listed in the generic EPD to obtain credits. Most schemes justify these credits by explaining the need to encourage the use of EPD and increase the number of EPD available in the market. The potential problem with this type of credit however is that the EPD could be for the worst performance product in the market but the credit would still be given. The following schemes shown in Table 1 include credits for using products with EPD.
Table 1:Examples of Green Building Schemes providing Credits for Products with EPD
Product Improvement: LEED V4.1 is the first scheme to use EPD to recognise product improvement, either by providing a publicly available action plan to mitigate or reduce life cycle impacts or by demonstrating environmental impact reductions through a comparison of EPD or LCA studies over time. The improvements shown must be intentional, and for example, improvements in the grid mix cannot be taken into consideration.
Table 2: Examples of Green Building Schemes providing Credits for Product Improvement
Building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): Many of the schemes now include credits for undertaking a detailed life cycle assessment of the building, which should link where relevant to LCA data for construction materials provided in EPD. DGNB in Germany was the first to include Building LCA as a mandatory part of the assessment in 2007 but for most other schemes this type of credit is optional. There are three main approaches used to awarding credits in relation to Building LCA. The first is to benchmark the Building LCA so buildings with the lowest impact over the life cycle have the most credit, but to do this, it is necessary to use a common database and scope to ensure comparability with the benchmark. Most schemes do this by limiting the tools which can be used and providing a national database. Table 3 below shows the schemes using this approach, the approved Building LCA tools, LCA databases and the EPD programmes which can provide EPD into the databases.
Table 3: Examples of Green Building Schemes using Building LCA Benchmarking approaches to award Credits
Another approach commonly used is to require that projects show an improvement in the life cycle impact of the building, either in comparison to a baseline or reference building, or through the design process. These approaches can be problematic if the comparator is an untypical “worst case” option rather than a “business as usual” option. Some schemes ask for option appraisals but do not require the lowest impact option to be used. Details of the different scheme’s approaches are provided in Table 4.
Table 4: Examples of Green Building Schemes awarding credits based on a reduction in impact of the Building LCA
Other Green Building Schemes, unwilling to adopt consistent LCA databases and concerned by the problems of demonstrating improvement, have often chosen to assess the quality of the tool and the scope of the assessment to award credits – some examples are shown in Table 5. In these cases, the LCA may show the building to have very high impact, but the maximum credits could still be awarded if the tool was based on EN 15978, used reliable data, assessed the whole building and whole life cycle and provided a wide range of environmental indicators.
Table 5: Examples of Green Building Schemes awarding credits based on the tool used and scope of assessment
And the simplest approach, though not commonly used, is to simply award credit on the basis of undertaking a Building LCA, as shown in Table 6. Some schemes use this as a base level credit and may have more credits available for going beyond this.
Table 6: Examples of Green Building Schemes awarding credits just for undertaking a Building LCA
| Sven-Olof Ryding
| Christian Donath
|ECO Platform AISBL
c/o Construction Products Europe AISBL
phone: +49 201 - 3203172
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