LCA and EPD
What is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an established method for calculating environmental impact over the lifetime of a product. An LCA provides knowledge and information that can be used for prioritizing and focusing environmental work, for product and process development.
In the construction industry, the environmental impact from each stage of the life cycle of a product is calculated. These life cycle stages include raw material extraction, manufacture of building materials, construction process, operation and maintenance, and recycling.
The lifetime that is analyzed must be the same as that required by the developer or building standard, which is usually more than 100 years.
Don’t compare apples and oranges
In order to compare and evaluate alternative building designs and building materials, all the options to be compared must meet the same performance, function and lifetime requirements.
There are a number of LCAs for buildings and concrete housing. Not all studies meet the standards’ requirements for transparency and neutrality.
The results of an LCA are used to produce an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
There are also other sustainability aspects, biodiversity and chemical content that are handled by certification and assessment systems among other things.
Livscykeln – sanningen om stommaterialen.
Mellanrum 2017, Roger Andersson
Energi och klimateffektiva byggsystem Miljövärdering av olika stomalternativ.
SP 2015, Eva-Lotta Kurkinen, Joakim Norén, Diego Penaloza, Nadia Al-Ayish, Otto During
Klimagassregnskap av tre- og betongkonstruksjoner
Kontorbygning - 4, 8 og 16 etasjer.
Østfoldforskning 2019, Anne Rønning, Kjersti Prestrud, Lars G. F. Tellnes, Simon Saxegård, Simen S. Haave, Magne Lysberg
Minskad klimatpåverkan från nybyggda flerbostadshus. LCA av fem byggsystem. Underlagsrapport.
Martin Erlandsson, Tove Malmqvist, Nicolas Francart, Johnny Kellner
Oktober 2018.Ett samarbete mellan KTH, IVL Sveriges Byggindustrier och medvenkarde bolag
What is an EPD?
(Environmental Product Declaration)
An EPD is a statement of the environmental performance of a product. The declaration is third-party audited, verified and registered in an EPD system.
It does not need to cover all the stages of the building’s life cycle. The stages that are covered are indicated in the EPD. The EPD does not always comment on the lifetime or function of the product, which are important parameters when assessing the environmental impact of a building.
Established methods for LCAs and EPDs
There are both European and international standards for LCAs and EPDs. These include:
- EN 15978, a European standard for buildings
- EN 15643-5, a European standard for civil engineering works
- EN 15804, a European standard for building products
- ISO 21930, an international standard for building products
- EN 16757,a European standard for concrete
How we work with LCAs and EPDs
At Thomas Concrete Group, we have long used life cycle assessment to identify the environmental impact at all stages of the life cycle of concrete. We can then prioritize and focus our sustainability work within our own operations, with our suppliers, and throughout the lifetime of the concrete structure.
We offer EPDs for products and projects to increase transparency and give our customers and the industry the opportunity to make more sustainable choices. We also work proactively with material suppliers and request EPDs for our raw materials.
Our Swedish subsidiary, Thomas Betong, currently offers EPDs for several of our products, all of which are registered with one of the established EPD systems. You can find EPD for Thomagrön here or more at EPD Norway.
We participated in Riksbyggen’s Brf Viva project, for which concrete was chosen as the material for the structural frame based on LCAs of various materials. Read more about Riksbyggen’s Brf Viva project