An EPD is a standardized format for presenting data from a life-cycle assessment. These EPD data from Kingspan Insulated Panels North America come directly from an LCA and were verified by UL. Source – Kingspan Insulated Panels North AmericaThe arrival of this credit in LEED v4, along with ongoing activity in Europe, has stimulated a flurry of activity around environmental product declarations (EPDs) over the last couple of years, and the pace appears to be accelerating. (See Resources for more background.)
EPDs, formally called “Type III Environmental Product Declarations” by ISO, are independently verified reports based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that have been conducted according to a set of common rules (product category rules, or PCRs) for each product category and then peer-reviewed.
At the heart of the EPD process are “program operators”—organizations that ensure that the EPDs meet the various requirements.
UL Environment is the leading program operator in the U.S., responsible for the great majoirty of EPDs that have been published to date. These include generic, industry-wide EPDs for the American and Canadian Wood Councils as well as product-specific EPDs for several carpet companies and other major manufacturers. Other organizations vying for the program operator role include NSF International and ICC Environmental Services (ICC-ES), a subsidiary of the International Code Council.
These program operators don’t do the actual LCA studies behind the EPDs. They simply ensure that the studies follow the appropriate product category rules and that they’ve been translated properly into the EPD format. Because EPDs are relatively new in the U.S., the program operators have been busy sorting out the product category rules while trying to meet ISO’s stipulation to avoid creating duplicate PCRs within a product category. When program operators attempt to produce the first U.S.-based EPDs in a category, they can either create a PCR from scratch—as ICC-ES has done for pressure-treated wood—or adapt one from Europe, which is UL Environment’s preferred approach.
Option 2 of this credit seeks to reward products that have been certified as preferable by programs with an LCA-based approach. No specific programs have been approved yet, so it is too soon to say what products might comply, but a LEED pilot credit recognizing the BIFMA level certification program for furniture is a likely harbinger of things to come.
Given the rapidly evolving field of EPDs in the U.S., it is perhaps not surprising that a number of organizations are introducing alternative approaches. Each of these has its own rationale, but the inconsistency with standard practice in Europe and among leading U.S. program operators is problematic.
One example of a different approach is that of the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), which has chosen to be the program operator for concrete EPDs produced under a new PCR developed by the Carbon Leadership Forum. There is some disagreement as to whether trade associations count as independent third-party program operators per ISO.
More extreme outliers are the so-called EPDs that the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) is now producing based on its own proprietary PCR, which it claims covers all products. According to the organization’s May 2012 SMaRT Environmental Product Declaration Policy & Product Criteria Rule, the existing SMaRT product certification program already meets the requirements of an EPD, so MTS decided to include an EPD Summary as part of the SMaRT Summary in order to faciliate SMaRT’s acceptance in Europe. MTS justifies its single-PCR approach based on the efficiency gained by not having to create a separate PCR for each product category. Also, unlike other EPDs, which are designed to be neutral reports on the impacts of a product, MTS touts its EPDs as only appearing on products that have been certified to the SMaRT standard.
Not as farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). along is the emerging Standard for Type III Life-Cycle Impact Profile Declarations for Products, Services and Systems (LEO-SCS-002) from Leonardo Academy and SCS Global Services, which seeks to introduce a more comprehensive LCA method, including health and other impact categories not included in mainstream EPDs. This standard, once approved, could lead to PCRs and EPDs produced according to a structure that can’t be aligned with others on the market. It’s worth acknowledging, however, that the comparability of EPDs—even when they’re produced under the same PCR but by different entities—has yet to be proven.
At Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia USGBC announced a collaboration with UL Environment to clarify the EPD standards that LEED expects. This initiative will still support other program operators (in addition to ULe), but they'll have to follow formats and use PCRs endorsed by this collaboration.
The LEED credit includes an option for products to contribute, albeit at a lesser value, by being covered by a generic EPD for their industry, not one specific to a single company’s product. Currently, generic EPDs from UL Environment do not list which manufacturers are considered “participants,” so it would be tricky to find products that can contribute in this way, but participant lists might become available as a supplement to the EPD once enough project teams start asking for them.
Just as UL Environment dominates the program operator market, ThinkStep, based in Europe, is the leading provider of LCA services in support of EPDs.
Not only is ThinkStep leading the field in doing the LCA studies itself, but the company also has a software platform that major manufacturers can use to produce custom EPDs for each product variation, or SKU (stock-keeping unit).
Currently, the most extensive list of EPDs openly available is in UL’s SPOT database, which lists products with EPDs along with many other certified claims. Others can be found on the ICC-ES website and scattered around the Internet.
To encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. To reward project teams for selecting products from manufacturers who have verified improved environmental life-cycle impacts.
Achieve one or more of the options below, for a maximum of 2 points.
Use at least 20 different permanently installed products sourced from at least five different manufacturers that meet one of the disclosure criteria below.
Use products that comply with one of the criteria below for 50%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed products in the project. Products will be valued as below.
For credit achievement calculation, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost.
Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products.
This LEED credit (or a component of this credit) has been established as equivalent to a SITES v2 credit or component. For more information on using the equivalency as a substitution in your LEED or SITES project, see this article and guidance document.
An Environmental Building News feature article introducing the key concepts and tools behind the product transparency movement.
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
The credit language says,"For credit achievement calculation, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost."
Does this mean extracted AND manufactured AND purchased within 100 miles as in v2009 NC OR extracted OR manufactured or purchased within 100 miles as in v2009 CI? I assume the former, but does anyone know for sure?
I am not 100% certain, but I think it's safe to assume it follows the rules of LEED 2009, and all three must be the case. But I think it's also the case that if part of the product has all three attributes (like OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard. made from locally sourced wood but binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. from another place), you get to count the locally sourced percentage.
The v4 BPDO calculator has a simple yes/no question about the local material source: "Does the entire product meet local criteria?"
And from the reference guide: "For a product to qualify for the location valuation factor, it must meet two conditions: all extraction, manufacture, and purchase (including distribution) of the product and its materials must occur within that radius, AND the product (or portion of an assembled product) must meet at least one of the sustainable criteria (e.g., FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. certification, recycled content)
My reinforcing steel supplier, which is a global company, sent me an EPD that is based on the american products (it seems to be downloaded from their US webpage). Can I use it for the steel that they produce locally in Poland?
I know the location part of the EPD is not valid, but I expect that the production process shall be the same.
Alicja, I do not believe this can be used in the way you are hoping. Even though the process will be pretty similar, the point of the location data is in part to capture the impacts of the local grid. Also, their raw materials may come from a different place. I believe you will need an EPD that is globally applicable or reflects the impacts in Poland. Others may chime in to correct me, but this is my understanding.
For Option 2 - How do you determine credit compliance with an industry-wide EPD?
You compare the industry-wide to a product EPD from a company whose products are covered by the industry-wide average. If the manufacturer has a product-specific EPD that is available for comparison with the industry-wide, they should be able to point you to it.
An international insulation manufacturer has developed an EPD for all its products consisting in rock wool insulation. The plants chosen for the analysis are located in different European countries, and represent the average technology in the company in terms of energy use and emission and the application of environmental technology. Data are weighted by production volume.
According to the EPD, stone wool products are manufactured with the same underlying technology and pass through the same production processes in different production plants.
It doesn't match with the guide definition for generic EPDs, but I'm not sure if it could be considered as a product specific EPD.
As an EPD developed by a single manufacturer for its products ¿Can this EPD be considered as a Product-specific declaration for its rock wool insulation products, even if it is not for a specific production plant?
Thank you for your help!
If the EPD meets ISO standards as required by LEED, then it is product-specific.
Thank you Paula!
The EPD meets ISO stadards ;)
I am reviewing the benefit of generating EPDs for our pre-blended mortar and grout products and the challenge is the guidance via the new rules of LEED v4.
Our products were considered assemblies of products in previous versions of LEED. But it is a little more grey when developing EPD's and complying with the MR Category with assemblies. If I used the previous guidance our LEED form would list 3 products (ie: cement, lime, and mason sand for mortars). [As a side note Cement and Lime manufacturers, which utilize a lot of energy to produce their products, may very well comply with Option 2, as they produce verified sustainability reports annually which tracks greenhouse gases. ]
Now the question is if I we generate finished product specific EPD's, do we still list the components of the assembly and the finished product? In this case how would customers apply the costs for the assembly products (portland, lime and sand) and the finished product (mortar)?
Do I simply list the finished product and the supporting EPD?
John, this seems like a complicated question, and I appreciate you bringing it up. I'm going to contact someone at USGBC and see if they have some guidance on this. Thanks!
Our project may be able to obtain this credit, but it might come down to the last half value for an industry EPD. My question to the knowledge pool is;
May I count both an industry and a product specific EPD?
Initial thoughts are that the product specific supersedes the industry wide EPD but I am left wondering if anyone has had success submitting both in the past? A specific example I have is for an insulated metal panel, I have both the industry and product specific EPDs.
Leanne, that is not addressed specifically anywhere that I know of, but I seriously doubt you can count them both toward Option 1.
The application where you could use both would be in Option 2, where the goal is to compare the actual embodied impacts against a baseline and choose better products based on that.
Is there a bank of "USGBC Approved Programs" we can consult while working through product submittals for the BPDO credits?
Alexa, if you mean additional programs not mentioned in the credit language or reference guide, the only way to keep up with that is by keeping up with credit interpretations. This credit has not had any updates to the accepted programs, however. The material ingredients credit has (Declare and UL's Product Lens are both now accepted).
I have located an industry wide type III EPD for gypsum by the Gypsum Association. In the product description it lists the products as "for average 5/8" type X gypsum boards". I am using a 1/2" gypsum and am not certain if I can apply this industry EPD as it states 5/8". What are your thoughts on being able to count this EPD?
Leanne, I don't think so.
Unfortunately that was my immediate thought as well. I posted to the knowledge pool in case someone had experience submitting already and had success. One can always hope this credit is within reach.
I understand that USGBC are seeking feedbacks from stakeholders on the draft EPD guidance.
When is the final version scheduled to be ready and when would the guidance become effective?
Akira, I have to admit I'm not familiar with the draft you're referring to. I thought USGBC's EPD guidance was final. Can you send a link?
Thank you for the reply. Here is the link to the document I'm referring to:
Akira, the comment period is still open. Then, they would typically take some time to review comments before posting guidance. There is no published timeframe... I would expect anywhere from a couple months to longer.
What happens when multiple products are gathered into one EPD? In the context of concrete and masonry products, multiple products can be used on a project, let's say 3 (blocks, pavers, slabs) . However, assuming that only one EPD has been done to cover the environmental impacts of those 3 products, how much point do you get? Are points related to the number of EPD or to the number of products. This is not clear to us.
Jean, if they are truly three different products by the definition in the ref guide, I believe they would still count as three products from one manufacturer. The EPD should have different sections detailing how the impacts change from product to product. But check against that definition of a "product" in the ref guide before submitting.
Jean, thank you for posting this question!
We have a very similar question and looking for some guidance on assemblies and/or products that are made up of multiple materials. Additional examples: Curtain wall systems, windows, skylights, etc. Hypothetically, if there was an industry-wide EPD for Aluminum and Glass, would we be able to claim 2 Industry-Wide EPDs for a window? Or does the Window Industry need to have their own Industry-wide EPD? Or do windows only qualify for Product-specific EPDs?
Another scenario I am looking at is for concrete. While each mix design is intended for a specific purpose (walls, footings, grade beam, slab, etc) the overall purpose could be defined as the same - building construction/support/strength material. May we use the industry level EPD which was produced by NRMCA and have it count for each separate mix? My initial thought is yes, but I would like to hear your ideas as well.
Given the liberal intent of the credit language here, I think you could count each mix, and similarly each aluminum product.
This should be tested with real projects and contacting GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). to confirm, and please report back here as you go!
Thanks Tristan. We will add to our inquiry list on a specific project for December. Will report back next month!
Quoted from the reference guide: "Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products."
How does LEED define enclosure and structure materials? For example, fireproofing paint applied to the structure is included as structure? Waterproofing applied to the enclosure is considered enclosure?
Noriko—The definitions are in the LEEDv4 Glossary (http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-glossary-terms-translations):
Structure: Elements carrying either vertical or horizontal loads (e.g., walls, roofs, and floors) that are considered structurally sound and nonhazardous.
Enclosure: The exterior plus semi-exterior portions of the building. Exterior consists of the elements of a building that separate conditioned spaces from the outside (i.e., the wall assembly). Semi-exterior consists of the elements of a building that separate conditioned space from unconditioned space or that encloses semi-heated space through which thermal energy may be transferred to or from the exterior or conditioned or unconditioned spaces (e.g., attic, crawl space, basement).
I'm not sure Jon fully answered Noriko's question. In my humble opinion, fireproofing paint (mastic?) on the steel, would be considered part of structure, because it's there to make the steel structure compliant with the building code construction type; and the waterproofing would be part of enclosure because it's a component of the assembly designed to keep the elements out. Again, just my opinion, but that's the argument I would use.
Thanks, David! I'm trying to get an answer from USGBC.
Apparently there hasn't been an official interpretation yet, but Sara Cederberg replied:
My litmus test has been, if it’s on the structural drawings, its structure. So no, I wouldn’t include fireproofing as structure.
I would agree with David that I did not fully answer Noriko’s question. I hoped that, by linking her to the glossary, I could help her reach her own conclusion based on the specifics of her particular project. I would also agree, based on the definitions, that waterproofing is part of the envelope, and that fireproofing could go either way. (I have even debated the question with a structural engineer who argued that fireproofing was completely outside his scope.)
In the end, questions like this only matter for products that fall on a Credit tipping point. If this were the case on one of my projects, I would err conservatively or ask USGBC for a credit interpretation.
Thank you all for debating on this. Very helpful!
Paula/Noriko/David/Sara: This discussion has started me thinking about how to treat materials that one could classify as structure/enclosure, or not, and that could fall on a Credit tipping point.
For example, many projects spend a significant chunk of their budgets on gypsum board (drywall). Some percentage of the board forms part of the exterior wall and ceiling assembly, making it part of the “enclosure.” In many cases, the gypsum is there as fireproofing to make combustible load-bearing elements (such as wood frame) code-compliant. Using David’s rationale, this makes it structural. Still, in most buildings, the lion’s share of the gypsum board is for non-structural work on the interior of the building. To count this portion as non-structure/non-enclosure, are we required to tally the costs and characteristics of the interior gypsum separately from the small percentage used to enclose the structure?
Wood framing raises a similar question. Some is used for exterior walls and interior bearing elements, but some comprises non-bearing interior partitions. The sticks of wood are identical, but it appears that we must track them separately.
Since, for Option 2, structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products, all this hair-splitting may be necessary to maximize the contributions of non-structure/non-enclosure elements. I am curious how others have handled materials like these.
Since the questions above are applicable to all BPDO Credits, I have posted them to the “Sourcing of Raw Materials” forum. Let’s continue this discussion there: http://www.leeduser.com/comment/redirect/66653.
In relation to the Educational Session on EPD that you lead through USGBC, can you please tell me if the EPD compliant with LEEDv4 that you cover through this course, requires that the program under which the EPD was published should be operating and current at the time of the LEED building certification?. I am building an EPD database, but I know many of these come from programs that are not currently operating, would these be useful to comply with the MR credit: Building Disclosure?. I would appreciate your response or if you know of someone that may know this,
María José Valdebenito
Architect, LEED AP BD+C
Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture
University of British Columbia
SCS certified EPDs are not yet approved? So this industry-wide EPD would not yet be acceptable for the credit?
Erin, I believe it's not necessary for USGBC to explicitly approve any specific framework. If the EPD has third-party verification that it follows the relevant standards referenced in LEED, then it is acceptable. I just took a quick look at the steel EPD, and it seems to adhere to the proper standards.
Does the compliance with the ISO 14025 standard automatically include cradle to gate scope? Or is the scope stated separately in the product EPD?
ISO 14025 does not set the scope. The scope for a product category is determined in the product category rule.
You're very welcome! Don't forget that industry-wide counts as a partial product.
I talked to a leading manufacturer of thermal barrier tape which typically requires an EPD to be included in the credit. The manufacturer has stated that they will not be providing EPD for their fire protection products and putting together "other" information that may help customers acquire LEED v4 credits. What other information could they be talking about? Because this is a large facility, we have fire protection needs throughout the project and don't want to lose the opportunity to get the credit. What should we be looking for to ensure that we stay in compliance with this credit?
They are probably talking about achieving other credits (perhaps they're working on an HPD for BPDO-Material Ingredients). I don't know of any other documentation that meets this credit in particular. This makes complete sense, if you think about it. The tape in the building is more relevant to health impacts, including IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors., than it is to your building's carbon footprint or other metrics you'll find in an EPD.
Since credit achievement (under Option 1—with Option 2 elusive for now) is calculated by number of declarations rather than cost, there are likely other products that could contribute to achieving the EPD credit. These other products are also very likely to be more relevant to the actual environmental footprint of your building, so it works out.
It still isn't clear to me what is meant by "USGBC approved environmental product declaration framework" which is applicable for pursuing either option 1 or option 2. Would Cradle to Cradle certification of a product count toward the full value (1 out of 20) when trying to meet the 20 permanently installed products with EPDs?
To my knowledge, these multi-attribute frameworks have yet to be chosen. For other credits, the "USGBC-approved" programs are being named through addenda. We're watching for these to start rolling in for Option 2 of this credit.
As I read the v4 MR requirement for EPD's, they apply to assembled products. Since a lot of millwork that arrives on a jobsite is an assembled product (cabinet, reception desk, etc), does this mean that in order to comply with the requirement, the millwork company has to develop EPDs? Or can the millworker submit EPDs on components, like MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. or particleboard, and satisfy the requirement?
I think it probably needs to be the finished product unless the cabinetry is site-assembled. Check out the MR section intro in the ref guide, under "Defining a Product."
Also, just to be clear, no manufacturer will be "submitting" any transparency documents to the project team. ALL transparency documents must be public in order to count toward the BPDO credits. The only exception is full C2CA protocol developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry that establishes guidelines for the manufacture of products in ways that harmonize with natural systems. These guidelines require, for example, that products be recyclable indefinitely, contain no hazardous ingredients, and be manufactured using renewable energy. certification, where the "disclosure" piece is covered by disclosure to a third party.
We have a Type III environmental declaration form for a product, verified by a third party (Bauen und Umwelt institute). The PDE is based on the Product Category Rules established by the Bauen und Umwelt institute and clearly states that it conforms to the norms ISO 14025 and EN 15804. Nevertheless it’s never mentioned in the EPD form content that it conforms to the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 norms.
The institute’s PCR as well as the ISO 14025 norm mention the need of conformity to the ISO 14040/44 norms for the validation of the LCA methods and data.
Could we imply that if the form is based on the institutes PCR and conforms to both the ISO 14025 and EN 15804 norms, the form also complies with the ISO 14040/44 norms? And if so, could this be a valid PDE for the credit?
Charline, compliance with 14025 assumes compliance with 14040. But whether a reviewer will find this acceptable I am not sure. Can you ask the company to send a pdf with all the relevant standards listed? My take: it's probably eligible for the credit, but I would not risk it without explicit documentation from the company.
Charline, the EPD is fine. It will comply due to the structure of the standards, for these purposes, EN 15804 implements ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and they're normative references in that standard.
I have a doubt about EPD, could someone help me?
This credit explains that products with LCA (ISO 14044) or EPD (ISO 14025) that have at least cradle-to-gate scope are valued as 1/4.
My doubt is: In this case, can the manufacturer do the product declaration WITHOUT external verification? Auto-declaration is enough?
By my understanding, a manufacturer's self-documentation is not enough. An example of an ISO 14044 EPD valued at 1/4 is the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute LCA of concrete. http://www.nrmca.org/sustainability/epdprogram/Downloads/NRMCA%20LCA%20P...
I hope that this helps.
Did GreenWizard cease to exist? I keep getting an error when I go to their webpage?
Yes, Alyssa. The company went bankrupt near the end of 2015 and the website seemed to blink out of existence overnight, earlier this month. We're not sure if anyone is going to purchase the assets and attempt to reconstitute the database.
If we use the strategy F for the EQ credit Interior Lighting, furniture is ‘officially’ in LEED scope.
Does it mean that we have to include furniture in MR BPDO credits? Or furniture consistency is only within MR credits?
I'm not sure it would be so much "have to" as "get to," at least for Option 1! (I don't think Option 2 is currently achievable, though I would love for someone to prove me wrong.)
I think the reference guide is not clear about being consistent across credit categories. However, to be safe (and because it's actually an advantage to have more products to choose from to hit your 20), I would include it.
Hi Charline and Paula,
My understanding was that the scope of this credit for NC applies to "permanently installed" products only. Option F in the Interior Lighting credit lists movable partitions and work surfaces, both of which would typically not be considered permanently installed. The MR category introduction just refers to consistency within the cost calculations for MR credits, so it seems like on a really pedantic level there wouldn't be a conflict (but I might be reading too closely).
There's also an option to include furniture in the IEQ Low Emitting Materials credit, so if you do need to be consistent between the two categories it might have a big impact for a lot of projects! I think I would play it safe and make sure that I had the twenty products covered separately--what do you all think?
Quoting from the ref guide, including furniture is optional in MR:
The MR section addresses “permanently installed building products,” which as defined by LEED refers to products and materials that create the building or are attached to it. Examples include structure and enclosure elements, installed finishes, framing, interior walls, cabinets and casework, doors, and roofs. Most of these materials fall into Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) 2012 MasterFormat Divisions 3-10, 31, and 32. Some products addressed by MR credits fall outside these divisions.
Furniture is not required to be included in credit calculations. However, if furniture is included in MR credit calculations, all furniture must be included consistently in all cost-based credits.
It would be great to find out if you must be consistent between them! My guess is that they did not intend to make them consistent between MR and EQ because they were trying to set a low bar for achievement of HPD/EPD/CSR options.
I was addressing Charline's question under the assumption that furniture is already in the scope of the project. My view is that to get the 20 threshold, it's desirable to also put it into MR. As for going the other way...that is something people will want to consider carefully for sure, if you have to be consistent!
The company I work for is just in the beginning stages of creating a type III EPD for our engineered wood products. It appears as though LEED v4 only requires a cradle to gate LCA, is there an advantage (forward looking or present) to having the LCA cover cradle to grave?
Hi Christine, yes I believe there's an advantage to addressing the full product life cycle but from a practical standpoint my understanding is that manufacturers typically limit the LCA boundaries to cradle to gate (i.e., when the product leaves the factory) because there are so many variables beyond that point - shipping distance, installation, maintenance, repair or replacement, disposal or recycling, etc. Also for consistency the ISO standards that govern LCA's may dictate the system boundaries. You might want to check ISO 14040 and 14044. (caveat: I'm not an LCA expert)
Definitely agree with Craig! Manufacturers have a lot more control over their own processes. Understanding, predicting, and making assumptions about the use phase of building products is quite complicated. For a product like food, looking cradle to grave is much simpler: it gets shipped to specific stores, gets eaten, with the packaging thrown away or recycled within a fairly short time period. With a building product, the functional performance is much more complex. How do you model the environmental impact of the use phase of insulation? When there are thousands of different climates and you know nothing about the rest of the building, like what fuel the HVAC burns? It's quite difficult and involves a HUGE number of assumptions and back-of-the-envelope projections, and that's why most LCAs look cradle to gate. Hope this helps! (Also not an LCA expert!)
Thanks! That give me some food for thought.
Hi, this is Rebecca from Atelier Ten.
The LEED reference guide states that "Environmental Product Declarations which conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at least a cradle to gate scope" are acceptable for documenting compliance.
I am interpreting this to mean that compliant EPDs must conform to ALL four standards:
-ISO 21930 or EN15804
Is this a correct interpretation of the reference guide, or is it acceptable for an EPD to conform to only a couple of the ISO standards listed above?
It's worth noting that the examples of acceptable EPD documentation shown in the reference guide do not mention all four standards.
Yes, I believe that it needs to comply with them all, but some may actually be buried within the EPD rather than on the front cover. Note the 14025 is for the EPD format for any product; 14040 and 14044 are for the LCA; and 21930 and 15804 are specific to how to conduct EPDs for building products. Anyone else have a better answer?
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