EPDs – What’s new, what’s now, what’s next?
Davis: As soon as the concrete PCR was issued, Central Concrete began development of its own EPDs. We issued EPDs for more than 1,400 mix designs in April and are completing the process for our other mix designs. The 2030 Challenge and LEED v4 have ignited the interest of architects, engineers and contractors, and has created a demand for transparency and clear, science-based information – data needed to measure the environmental impacts of building materials and allow them to make informed decisions.
Lemay: Adoption will take a while, but NRMCA members are contacting our organization to learn more about EPDs and the process of implementation. To respond to their needs, the NRMCA has become an EPD program operator in order to verify EPDs and we have established educational webinars and supporting documents to assist our members in this development. In addition, the masonry industry has shown an interest in pursuing EPDs – so the momentum to develop EPDs has begun. Also, CeraTech, a producer of sustainable, high performance, carbon neutral cements is in the process of developing its EPDs.
Miller: Yes, Lionel, we expect to issue our EPDs this fall. EPDs address a common problem: ‘greenwashing.’ EPDs replace vague information with clear, verified data that enables easy and trusted comparisons among products.
Williams: The advancement of PCRs and EPDs is one of the most significant areas of disclosure that we can envision for our industry. We are seeing a growing number of EPDs for building products – creating a huge opportunity for us and our clients to measure the impact of not just greenhouse gas emissions but other metrics as well – such as water intensities and chemicals. This information goes way beyond labeling, but enables increased knowledge and transparency. We expect the numbers to continue to grow as specifications calling for EPDs continue to emerge.
Davies: The shift toward addressing the carbon embodied in the construction materials and construction process is the new frontier as we seek to reduce the carbon footprint in the building industry. Having EPDs and other emerging tools at our fingertips allows us, as structural engineers, to make a real impact. For example, if I reduce a 24-story hotel structure’s carbon footprint by 50 percent, that is the equivalent of six to eight years of building operations.
Williams: Those kind of results point to why this is a significant movement.