Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
CS12: EPDs and PEFs
Wednesday, 26/Sep/2018:
8:30am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Carrie Pearson
Location: Windsor I

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Mythological Approach for Using and Verifying a Multi-Company EPD Generation System

Laurel McEwen

Climate Earth, United States of America

Producing your first EPD is a long tedious expensive process; however, once the LCA model is built and the EPD designed, producing the second EPD for a product using the same PCR is not so difficult. At this point the verification becomes the speed bump (cost/time hog). To avoid this, many large companies with internal LCA expertise are creating EPD generation systems and then working with their program operator to verify the “system”. With a system verification companies can publish EPD’s generated by their “system” without each EPD undergoing verification by the program operator. Instead the program operator conducts an annual review of the “system”. With a system verification, companies are able to quickly publish a new EPD anytime they need one.

This talk will describe a methodology for using and verifying an industry-wide concrete EPD generating system. Rather than verifying a company’s “EPD generation system” a program operator verifies a PCR specific “multi-company EPD generation system”. Once verified any company that wants to use the PCR can use the system.

The system has been verified by three US based program operators for both ready mix concrete and concrete block PCRs. It is currently being used by 12 companies for 80 manufacturing facilities. Over 8,000 individual product EPDs have been published. Software is used to generate a PDF of each EPD and automatically publish them to the program operator’s web site using an Application Program Interface (API). A quarantine feature prevents the publication of EPD’s that are statistical outliers.

In this talk we will describe the main components and operational steps of the system and discuss the benefits for both users and program operators.

Creating and Comparing to Product Group Benchmarks

Kim Lewis, Terry Swack

Sustainable Minds, United States of America

In the past there has been a lack of guidance for industry groups and their members to create industry-wide Type III environmental declarations. Some progress has been made with the USGBC’s publication of their benchmarking guidance in 2017, and now what these industry groups need is a more detailed process that outlines guidance for each step of creating and comparing to product group benchmarks.

With the help of our Technical Advisory Board and public commenters, Sustainable Minds built on the USGBC’s existing work to create guidance with detailed guidelines, process examples, and tools for creating a Benchmarking Addendum to a PCR [1]. This addendum includes the additional rules needed to create an industry-wide EPD for use as a credible product group benchmark; AND how manufacturers can use it to compare their product-specific results to the industry-wide results.

This presentation will cover how specific elements of the guidance were developed. The first section outlines industry-wide EPD creation, industry-wide EPD content, and retroactive participation requirements, and the second section explains how manufacturers can meaningfully compare their product-specific results to the industry-wide results.

Our hope is that with this more standardized process in place, it will be easier for industry associations and their members to create industry-wide EPDs. This way, manufacturers can benchmark their results against the industry-wide EPD and set goals for improvement, ultimately encouraging the demand for, and supply of, those products that cause less stress on the environment.

Integrating ISO 21930:2017 into the 2018 SM Transparency Report™ / EPD Framework

Kim Lewis, Terry Swack

Sustainable Minds, United States of America

ISO 21930:2017 is one of the primary standards for product category rule (PCR), life cycle assessment (LCA), and Type III environmental declaration development for building materials. It is specifically named in LEED v4 as one of the two standards for creating conformant Type III environmental declarations. Therefore, it is important that North American program operators integrate this standard into their own programs.

The Sustainable Minds technical program was created from the ground up as a North American program, has always been LEED v4 conformant, and now integrates the elements of ISO 21930 most applicable to the North American market [1]. To evaluate ISO 21930:2017 for the North American market, in an October 2017 webinar Doug Mazeffa (Sherwin-Williams) gave an overview of the updates and addressed the implications for creating PCRs and Type III environmental declarations. The takeaway from this webinar was that this update provides significant and useful language and rulings to integrate with SM Part A 2018.

For complete integration of ISO 21930:2017, changes were made to both SM Part A 2018 and the ISO 21930:2017 compatibility appendix. Updates to SM Part A 2018 included the note that including too broad a range of products will affect the creation of average, some examples of legislation for reporting of hazardous materials, system boundary description updates, changes to the cut-off criteria, and more detailed allocation rule language. Some elements of ISO 21930:2017 were determined not to contribute meaningful information to a non-technical reader to inform decisions; these requirements can optionally be included and are found in the compatibility appendix. Part A compatibility appendices are designed to enable full conformance to international standards when a PCR committee determines that the LCA or Type III environmental declaration must be 100% conformant.

Manufacturers should understand how these updates to international standards affect their LCA efforts and EPD creation, and when to choose full conformance to these standards. With these updates to Part A and the compatibility appendix, we hope to encourage more manufacturers to do LCAs, ultimately encouraging the demand for, and supply of, those products that cause less stress on the environment.

The EPD journey for synergy, a traction elevator

Andrea Nemer

thyssenkrupp, United States of America

Aware of the increasing interest in transparent reporting of a product’s environmental performance, thyssenkrupp Elevator (tkE) desired to demonstrate their sustainability leadership through publishing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for their products. On March 2017, tkE published the first EPD in the elevator industry for endura Machine-Room Less (MRL) elevator according to Environdec’s Product Category Rules (PCRs) for Lifts.

Through the process of creating this EPD, tkE learned a lot about the complexity of creating an EPD with a lengthy Bill of Materials (BOM) and learned about some of the environmental issues related to their elevator’s lifecycle.

In order to calculate the environmental footprint of each elevator, they started with a complex BOM with thousands of material inputs. Lacking a central system of record or a mass-based BOM system, the teams had to calculate or even weigh the mass of each part and identify the material composition. After data collection, they also evaluated a few sensitivity analyses comparing design alternatives. tkE looked at the effects of installing Photovoltaics (PV) to produce the electricity needed to power the elevator.

Overall, the results showed that use phase energy during synergy’s life is the most significant contributor to almost all impacts considered. Since the use impacts are directly linked to fossil fuels, switching from the US grid to PV provides a very large reduction in GWP and ADP fossil impacts. The use of ferrous metals, specifically steel, also dominates the impacts. Reducing the use of steel where possible could show an improvement in the raw materials impact – switching to plastics and other materials could provide significant reductions in impact.

Transportation had a significant contribution to air-quality-related impacts, such Acidification, Eutrophication, and Smog Formation Potential. Reducing these impact potentials is a priority for tkE, evaluating the transport distance and mode for each part may be a good way to identify opportunities for improvement.

The implications of this study are important for green building designers, especially given the potential for high impacts of elevator use. More research is being considered to further evaluate the impacts of material substitutions, transportation, and its effects in the lifecycle.

Europe has built and tested a harmonized methodology for Product Environmental Footprint with the perspective of shaping a Single Market for Green Products. Feedback of an LCA expert!

Delphine Bauchot

SOLINNEN, Innovative Solutions for the Environment

The consumers are more and more aware of and sensible to the environmental impacts of their behavior and choices. However facing a multitude of labels with confusing messages (400 different labels in the world), they are unable to make relevant choices and take responsibility for their own impact.

Since 2012-2013, the European Commission has built a harmonized methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprints of products and organizations (PEF and OEF methodology). This methodology is inspired from ISO 14040 and ISO 14020 series, and is designed to replace all these standards – and alternative label supporting methodologies – in Europe.

Since 2013, 26 pilot projects, in various sectors, have tested the methodology by developing their Product Category specific Rules, their assessment tools, the communication format and the verification process. This 5-year pilot phase, has required a deep and intense commitment from a lot of stakeholders (large companies and SMEs, industry associations, technical experts (LCA, toxicology, etc.), Academia, NGO, consumers associations, Members states representatives, including bodies from the US and Japan). In April 2018, The European Commission held its final conference, inviting all stakeholders to take stocks on the work done and discuss perspectives for the future.

The outcomes of such an intense and collaborative 5 year journey are multiple. If the framework and main guidelines are already embedded in the ISO standards, other requirements are brand new and should dramatically change our way of performing any LCA study in a near future if we want to speak this forthcoming “unique” Green language that consumers are going to learn and understand!

As an LCA expert, I propose to share with you my experience of assisting the laundry detergent pilot through this 5 year-journey and my view of how our work can significantly improve and spread among all stakeholders by following the PEF approach.

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