Environmental Product Declaration

We have made a collection of important information to consider when working with Environmental Product Declarations EPDs.

Key points to understand about EPDs for building materials and construction products

Understanding Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) is crucial in the scope of building materials and construction products. It is essential to clarify that an EPD serves as a declaration, often mistaken for certifications or eco-labels. An EPD encompasses a product description, material composition, and environmental declaration – and not an assessment of this data.

EPDs are rooted in life cycle assessments (LCA), evaluating the environmental impact across various stages of a product’s life cycle — from raw material extraction to end-of-use.

When comparing EPDs for different products, or even the same type of product, several factors merit attention:

Method and Standard:
EPDs must adhere to the same method and standard to enable accurate comparisons.

Factors like the nature of the data used, product lifetime and end-of-use scenarios significantly influence EPD results, necessitating consistency for valid comparisons.

Chosen Emission Factors:
Emission factors play a pivotal role in LCA data. Consequently, identical materials can yield different results based on the emission factor utilised*.

For instance, wool, despite being a by-product of meat production and a rapidly renewable resource, is linked with relatively high emissions due to its association with animal agriculture. Discrepancies in emission factor calculations for wool further complicate comparisons.

It i imperative to avoid comparing disparate entities, akin to comparing apples and oranges. For carpets, for instance, comparing a 1500 g/m2 carpet with an 1100 g/m2 variant would yield different results solely based on weight.

In selecting building materials, various factors such as indoor climate, acoustics, aesthetics, and fire approvals must be carefully balanced. This holistic approach ensures a well-informed decision aligned with environmental and performance objectives.

*An emission factor serves as a standardised measure aiming to correlate the amount of a pollutant discharged into the atmosphere with the activity responsible for its release. Multiple calculations for the same material may yield varied emission factors.

Utilising EPDs: Leveraging comprehensive LCAs

The foundation of an EPD lies in the thorough analysis of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a valuable tool for documenting and understanding the key areas within the value chain that contribute most significantly to environmental impact. Identifying these critical factors enables targeted optimisation efforts, emphasising improvements in areas with the greatest impact, regardless of our direct or indirect influence as a company.

Moreover, the LCA underscores the necessity for collaboration throughout the value chain to achieve meaningful improvements and sustainability goals, and it highlights the interconnectedness of various stakeholders.

This collaborative mindset aligns with the principles of our Cradle to Cradle certification, which prioritises cooperation and shared responsibility across the value chain. Therefore, beyond serving as documentation for construction projects, the LCA serves as a vital tool in our ongoing efforts to continuously enhance materials and processes, fostering sustainability improvements throughout the value chain.

Our EPDs are available below and in The International EPD® System.

For certifications related to our carpet solutions, please refer to our Cradle to Cradle- and VOC certifications.

EPD – Colortec RE:THINK

EPD – Colortec ORIGIN