Environmental Documentation and Environmental Requirements for Construction Materials

Groups: 
  • Design-Build Contracts
Category: 
  • Materials
  • Environment
  • Buildings

Basic

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive

The choice of construction materials has a major impact on a building's total environmental impact over its lifetime. Some building elements or materials are more important for the total environmental impact than others. The environmental impact that produces climate effects, among other things, occurs during the production, transport and disposal of the materials and can vary depending on the type of material. The environmental impact can also vary greatly between the same type of materials/products that are, for example, produced using different technologies.

Argument

It is important that we set requirements where we know there is a big environmental impact. To assess and compare the environmental impacts of different materials/products, we need good, comparable documentation of the products' environmental properties.  An environmental declaration (Environmental Product Declaration – EPD) is a type III environmental declaration pursuant to ISO 14025. An EPD contains standardised environmental information that provides a good basis for making the right environmental choices, as long as the assumptions are the same. It will also provide documentation of other environmental effects, such as whether the building contains hazardous chemicals or results in degassing into the indoor climate.

Requirement Specification: 

Documentation must be presented for materials and products specified in Table 4.23.1 in the form of EPDs or equivalent type III eco-labels pursuant to ISO 14025.

The materials and products used must have the maximum greenhouse gas emissions specified in Table 4.23.1. The emissions requirements are for the product's total greenhouse gas emissions, from raw materials to factory gate (A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804).

Submitted EPDs or equivalent type III eco-labels pursuant to ISO 14025 for materials and products, in Table 4.23.1, both with and without emissions requirements, are used for assessments and documentation in the project's greenhouse gas accounts. EPDs are also used as documentation of emissions, the absence of hazardous chemicals and other environmental information.

Submitted documentation must be approved by the design and build contractor's environmental manager by no later than two weeks before the product will be used or delivered in a system that also verifies that the EPD has been prepared in accordance with ISO 14025, EN 15804, satisfies any requirement levels and is valid at the time the products are procured.

Table 4.23.1: Products that must have a type III environmental declaration pursuant to ISO 14025 (EPD) or equivalent with an overview of emissions requirements where these have been set.
Materials and products Documentation and overview of greenhouse gas emissions requirements where set (from raw materials to factory gate, A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804).
Concrete B30 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 280 kg CO2e/m3 concrete.
Concrete B35 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 350 kg CO2e/m3 concrete.
Concrete B45 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 360 kg CO2e/m3concrete.
Prefabricated concrete elements (unstressed and prestressed)

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 190 kg CO2e/tonne unstressed element.

Maximum requirement 250 kg CO2e/tonne prestressed element/beam
Structural steel: rolled cross-sections (incl. H, I, L, U, and T cross-sections) EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Minimum required content of recycled steel 80%.
Structural steel: hollow section EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Minimum required content of recycled steel 20%.
Reinforcing steel EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 0.6 kg CO2e/kg reinforcing steel.
Insulation: Mineral wool in studs and joists

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.

Maximum requirement 1.5 kg CO2e/m2 insulation with R=1
All interior manufactured boards EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 3.0 kg CO2e/m2 board.

For complex structures and when combining different types of materials, there may be circumstances where some products do not satisfy the emissions requirements as stated in table 4.23.1 at a product level. However, such products may be used if you can show that the building's total greenhouse gas emissions will be lower due to the use of such products than they would be by satisfying all of the requirements at a product level. In such circumstances, products must be chosen at a building level and not a product level (ref. the criterion “Greenhouse Gas Accounts” and “Greenhouse Gas Calculations (LCA assessments) for Selected Building Elements”).

 

 

Information about the Requirement Specification: 

As a minimum, EPDs must cover the following life cycles stages:

  • A1-A3: Extraction of raw materials-factory gate (finished product)
  • A4: Transport of the product to the construction site or standard transport of the product to the general market in Norway.

For products, the maximum requirement is the sum of greenhouse gas emissions from extraction of the raw materials until the finished product is at the factory gate, A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804.

The recommendation is that the environmental criteria should not just be described in a general chapter in the procurement, but that the criteria and how they should be satisfied should be included together with quantities and other functional criteria for each specific product group/together with technical requirements for the various products and materials.

EPD-Norge has produced a video: EPD-Norge "EPD for Dummies"

For a further description of what an EPD is, please refer to EPD-Norge.

User instructions for interpreting EPDs are available for the following product categories here.

  • Concrete elements and factory concrete
  • Construction products
  • Manufactured boards
  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Outdoor wood products
  • Windows

Advanced

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive

The choice of construction materials has a major impact on a building's total environmental impact over its lifetime. Some building elements or materials are more important for the total environmental impact than others. The environmental impact that produces climate effects, among other things, occurs during the production, transport and disposal of the materials and can vary depending on the type of material. The environmental impact can also vary greatly between the same type of materials/products that are, for example, produced using different technologies.

Argument

It is important that we set requirements where we know there is a big environmental impact. To assess and compare the environmental impacts of different materials/products, we need good, comparable documentation of the products' environmental properties.  An environmental declaration (Environmental Product Declaration – EPD) is a type III environmental declaration pursuant to ISO 14025. An EPD contains standardised environmental information that provides a good basis for making the right environmental choices, as long as the assumptions are the same. It will also provide documentation of other environmental effects, such as whether the building contains hazardous chemicals or results in degassing into the indoor climate.

Requirement Specification: 

Products and materials in Table 4.23.2 must be documented with EPDs or equivalent type III environmental declarations pursuant to ISO 14025.

The materials and products used must have the maximum greenhouse gas emissions specified in Table 4.23.2. The emissions requirements are for the product's total greenhouse gas emissions, from raw materials to factory gate (A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804).

Submitted EPDs or equivalent type III eco-labels pursuant to ISO 14025 for materials and products, in Table 4.23.2, both with and without emissions requirements, are used for assessments and documentation in the project's greenhouse gas accounts. EPDs are also used as documentation of emissions, the absence of hazardous chemicals and other environmental information.

Submitted documentation must be approved by the design and build contractor's environmental manager by no later than two weeks before the product will be used or delivered in a system that also verifies that the EPD has been prepared in accordance with ISO 14025, EN 15804 or equivalent, satisfies any requirement levels and is valid at the time the products are procured.

Table 4.23.2: Products that must have a type III environmental declaration pursuant to ISO 14025 (EPD) or equivalent with an overview of emissions requirements where these have been set.
Materials and products Documentation and overview of greenhouse gas emissions requirements where set (from raw materials to factory gate, A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804).
Concrete B30 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 200 kg CO2e/m3 concrete.
Concrete B35 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 230 kg CO2e/m3 concrete.
Concrete B45 EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 240 kg CO2e/m3concrete.
Prefabricated concrete elements (unstressed and prestressed)

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 190 kg CO2e/tonne unstressed element.

Maximum requirement 250 kg CO2e/tonne prestressed element/beam
Structural steel: rolled cross-sections (incl. H, I, L, U, and T cross-sections) EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Minimum required content of recycled steel 80%.
Structural steel: hollow section EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Minimum required content of recycled steel 20%.
Reinforcing steel EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 0.6 kg CO2e/kg reinforcing steel.
Insulation: Mineral wool in studs and joists

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.

Maximum requirement 1.5 kg CO2e/m2 insulation with R=1
All interior manufactured boards EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.
Maximum requirement 3.0 kg CO2e/m2 board.
Windows

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.

Maximum requirement 160 kg CO2e/window (dimensions: 1.23 m x 1.48 m, 60 years).
Insulation: EPS

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.

Maximum requirement 2.5 kg CO2e/m2 insulation with R=1.
Insulation: XPS

EPD or equivalent type III environmental declaration.

Maximum requirement 5.0 kg CO2e/m2 insulation with R=1.

For complex structures and when combining different types of materials, there may be circumstances where some products do not satisfy the emissions requirements as stated in table 4.23.2 at a product level. However, such products may be used if you can show that the building's total greenhouse gas emissions will be lower due to the use of such products than they would be by satisfying all of the requirements at a product level. In such circumstances, products must be chosen at a building level and not a product level (ref. the criterion “Greenhouse Gas Accounts” and “Greenhouse Gas Calculations (LCA assessments) for Selected Building Elements”).

Information about the Requirement Specification: 

As a minimum, EPDs must cover the following life cycles stages:

  • A1-A3: Extraction of raw materials-factory gate (finished product)
  • A4: Transport of the product to the construction site or standard transport of the product to the general market in Norway.

For products, the maximum requirement is the sum of greenhouse gas emissions from extraction of the raw materials until the finished product is at the factory gate, A1-A3 pursuant to EN 15804.

The recommendation is that the environmental criteria should not just be described in a general chapter in the procurement, but that the criteria and how they should be satisfied should be included together with quantities and other functional criteria for each specific product group/together with technical requirements for the various products and materials.

EPD-Norge has produced a video: EPD-Norge "EPD for Dummies"

For a further description of what an EPD is, please refer to EPD-Norge.

User instructions for interpreting EPDs are available for the following product categories here.

  • Concrete elements and factory concrete
  • Construction products
  • Manufactured boards
  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Outdoor wood products
  • Windows

Related links: 

Published: 07. Feb 2018, Last modified: 07. Jan 2019