Our Technical Working Group
Bastian is a Senior Managing Consultant with Ramboll’s ESG & LCA Consulting unit and member of the Technical Committee of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). He is an environmental engineer with a PhD in building physics from the University of Stuttgart.
Over the last 15 years, Bastian worked on LCA, EPD development with a focus on tools for EPD & LCA automation, building LCA and green building certification. Earlier positions include managing a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics and as teamlead of an LCA consulting team at Sphera (formerly thinkstep).
Ramboll is a global engineering, architecture and consultancy company. Its 16,000 experts create sustainable solutions across Buildings, Transport, Water, Environment & Health, Architecture & Landscape and Energy.
Ongoing work of TEWOG
The biggest change for the product level of sustainable building has been the amendment of EN15804 to make it compliant with PEF. Accordingly, the TEWOG reviewed and adapted the Audit and Verification Guidelines for ECO EPD Programme Operators and, at the same time, included after long discussions verification rules for EPD applying Green Electricity.
TEWOG has followed the development of the European Commission in facilitating use of green electricity data and avoids green washing by double counting. The European requirement to use registered GoO (Guarantee of Origin) has simplified the application. However, the open market for electricity products, the growing need to reduce the CO2 burdens, the limitations in interconnection of grids and the uneven distribution of green power in the member states pose problems in detail which we are tackling one by and one. The ISO standard for carbon footprint provides guidance which TEWOG translates into data quality requirements which are now included in the Audit and Verification Guidelines for ECO EPD Programme Operators. The requirements for the use of green electricity in EPD will be reviewed as experience with the calculation is gathered.
The pressure on manufacturers to reduce their emissions of CO2 has increased significantly since the EC published the Green Deal and DG Grow has started pilot projects for the inclusion of EPD based information into harmonized construction product standards. This leads to the introduction of calculation methods similar to green electricity by which manufacturers intend to promote the use of Biomass, Recycled Materials or Biogas. In order to avoid greenwashing by double counting benefits or producing gaps in the calculation of environmental impacts, the TEWOG investigates these new approaches critically.
With the increasing relevance of Circular Economy issues, ECO Platform decided to establish a Task Group on this issue within the TEWOG. ECO Platform expects to provide a globally accepted standard for the circularity assessment of construction products, complying with the different international regulatory and non-regulatory (e.g. green building rating schemes) developments and requirements by
- providing a generally recognized/accepted method that helps construction products manufacturers to assess, how well their product’s/product materials align with circular economy principles of minimal waste and enhanced reuse value
- integrating verifiable circularity information into the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), providing a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the overall sustainability credentials of a construction product.
In order to widen the scope for sustainable building it is important to include Electronical Equipment (EEE products) in the calculation of environmental impacts of construction works. eco passport program has recently revised its PCR document based on EN 50693 and EN 15804. TEWOG is now investigating the application of eco passports in building assessment as this will allow to include a very large number of declarations in the ECO Platform registry for building assessment.
The PEP ecopassport program has become a member of the ECO platform. ecopassport documents for electric and electronic equipment (EEE) are based on EN 50693 (Product category rules for LCA of electronic and electrical products and systems) and EN 15804+A2. They provide data for EEE products that are applied in construction like elevators, pumps, cables, batteries etc. With smart buildings, energy de-centralisation and the availability of green power these products are becoming increasingly relevant. TEWOG investigates how both EPD and PEP ecopassports can be applied for improving building performance and how PEP ecopassports can be registered with the ECO Platform.
Just recently TEWOG finalized the rules for Tool Verification. Tools for more efficiency in the calculation of the LCA underlying an EPD are by now applied by almost all ECO Platform members. This is an area where we expect even more innovation and we will need to keep the verification procedures updated.
Recently the application of pre-defined LCA and EPD tools have cut the costs for calculation and verification of EPD significantly. Among others, associations, manufacturers with large product portfolios or monitoring their environmental performance over time make use of such tools. EPD produced by the LCA tool can be product specific based on defined input-parameters, while the calculation model is fixed. EPD-tools allow the use of pre-calculated elements of complex products. Once a tool has passed third party verification, EPD can be verified with less effort because the calculation models not having changed, need not be verified for each declaration. It is however important that the tool is checked rigorously. Our TEWOG has completed verification rules for LCA tools and EPD tools.
The tool verification rules also include the handling of Integrated LCA and EPD tools. Here the verification is integrated in electronic or administrative management systems to a degree that integrity of input data and LCA model is ensured to a level we consider equal to that of traditional third-party verification.
As the market for such tools is growing quickly, handling of tools is and refining appropriate verification rules still an on-going task!
Some relevant issues of our TEWOG under current development:
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Dr. Bastian Wittstock
(LCA Practitioner Ramboll)