Have you started the year aiming to achieve more sustainability in the projects you work on? Or maybe you feel uncertain about where to start?
Either way, we’ve got you covered. We’ve kicked off 2022 by looking at environmental product declarations (EPDs) and what they are, and we’ll continue to explore them over the coming months.
If you’ve got any burning questions about EPDs, contact us and we’ll try to answer them in future issues of The Build-Up.
What are environmental performance declarations (EPDs)?
An environmental product declaration is an internationally recognised document that communicates environmental impact. They are produced in accordance with relevant standards and should be independently verified. EPDs can be created for products and services of all types, in all areas of life, but there are specific standards and rules covering the creation of EPDs for construction products.
To produce an EPD, life cycle analysis (LCA) is carried out for the product, with assumptions made about the environmental impact at different stages of that life cycle. The EPD document describes and reports that environmental impact, allowing designers, specifiers and other construction professionals to make informed decisions about product choices.
Does having an EPD make a product sustainable?
There is increasing demand for construction products to have EPDs. However, sometimes, there can be a misconception that simply specifying a product that has an environmental product declaration means a ‘sustainable’ choice is being made for the project.
You may have seen or heard people say that the most sustainable building is the one that does not need to be built. The fundamental truth is that processing raw materials and manufacturing construction products has an environmental impact. The first step to minimising the impact of construction projects is therefore to use resources as efficiently as possible.
This means questioning if new construction is necessary, or whether a client’s needs can be met by reusing an existing building. Once that answer is arrived at, design and specification decisions can be made to support longevity and adaptability in the built environment. Ideally, product choices prioritise the efficient use of resources over the long term.
It is key to remember, therefore, that an EPD does not describe whether a product is ‘sustainable’ or not. There is no such thing as a ‘most sustainable’ product. An EPD is a tool that allows materials to be compared, in order that product choices are made to support a construction project’s sustainability goals.
To make specifying our ground floor and flat roof insulation as simple as possible, Polyfoam XPS can now be found on SpecifiedBy, the leading building product research platform. Of course, you can still find all of our products on the Polyfoam website, but SpecifiedBy offers features like side-by-side comparisons of different products, and product searches by specific attributes.
Whether it’s guidance on designing and specifying extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation, or U-value calculations and condensation risk analyses, we’ve got you covered. Polyfoam XPS’s technical staff have years of experience in the construction industry generally, and insulation manufacturing specifically, and are on hand to offer advice and answer questions at any stage of a project. Contact us through the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.