What is an EPD and how can I use it?

You can use this data for a building-level assessment or building evaluation scheme. But what kind of information will you exactly find in an EPD? And how do you read and use it?

What is an EPD and how can I use it? background

What is an EPD?

EPD stands for Environmental Product Declaration. It’s a document that details the environmental impact of a specific building material, presented in a standardized format for easy comparison. This data is vital for understanding and evaluating the ecological performance of a building. But what exactly is included in an EPD, and how do you use it?

Published on 28th May 2024

Brown Cups in a factory - EPD Pro Enviro

An EPD typically consists of:

  • Product Description: Information about the material, including what it’s made of, how it’s manufactured, and its intended use.
  • Environmental Impact Data: Metrics on various environmental factors like carbon footprint, energy and water usage, and waste production over the material’s life cycle.
  • Life Cycle Stages: Breakdown of environmental impacts at each stage of the material’s life, from raw material extraction to production, transport, installation, use, and disposal or recycling.


How to Use an EPD?

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) answers a critical question: How does a product perform at different stages of its lifecycle? EPDs are available for various types of products, and while the content varies by product category, the format is consistent within each category. This standardization makes it easy to compare similar materials.

You can find EPDs on the manufacturer’s website, the website of the EPD issuer, or in a national database.


Understanding and Using EPDs

An EPD provides data on the environmental impact of a building material at each stage of its lifecycle: production, construction, use, end of life, and the potential for reuse, recovery, or recycling. This information is crucial for making sustainable choices in building materials.


The Lifecycle Stages

The system boundaries of these stages are defined in every EPD. There are five stages, often referred to by letters and consisting of several sub-factors:

  • Production Stage (A1-A3): Impacts from raw material supply, transport to production facilities, and manufacturing. This covers the "cradle to gate" part of the supply chain.
  • Construction Stage (A4-A5): Impacts from transporting materials to the construction site and the construction process itself.
  • Use Stage (B1-B7): Environmental impacts during the product’s use, including emissions, maintenance, repair, replacement, and operational energy and water use.
  • End-of-Life Stage (C1-C4): Impacts from deconstruction or demolition, transport to waste processing, and recovery or disposal processes.
  • Potential for Reuse, Recovery, or Recycling (D): Information on the potential for the material to be reused, recovered, or recycled.


Ways to Use an EPD

  • Identify Key Indicators: Focus on the environmental metrics most relevant to your project.
  • Compare Materials: Use the standardized data to compare different materials and their impacts.
  • Integrate into Assessments: Apply this data to your building’s environmental performance evaluations or sustainability certifications.


Why do Lifecycle Stages Matter?

Examining all life stages of a product is essential for determining its overall sustainability. A product might be produced sustainably, but if it has a short lifespan or cannot be reused or recycled, its overall sustainability is compromised.

EPDs provide detailed information on multiple life stages to give a comprehensive view of a product's environmental impact.

By understanding and using the information in an EPD, you can make more informed decisions about the materials you choose, leading to more sustainable construction practices.

Contact Us: For more information and help on EPD, contact our environmental and energy experts and we shall get back to you at the earliest opportunity!