EPDs based upon Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data
Sika has been publishing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its products since 2012 and its extensive EPD portfolio covers all its construction target markets, from roof to basement. EPDs are standardized documents used to communicate the potential environmental impacts and benefits of products throughout their life cycles based on quantitative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis. Sika companies provide EPDs based upon Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data. They apply to products and product groups and may be used for sustainability assessment of the products and projects in which they are used.
What is an EPD?
Environmental Product Declarations, or EPDs for short, are a third-party verified and registered documents used to communicate the potential environmental impacts and benefits of products. Creating an EPD is voluntary activity, and the scope of the EPD can vary depending on the amount of information a manufacturer wishes to disclose. EPDs can be narrow in scope, covering the product stage only (“Cradle to Gate”), or can include the entire product life cycle (“Cradle to Grave”).
The relevant standard for Environmental Product Declarations is ISO 14025, which defines EPDs as "Type III Environmental Declarations". A Type III Environmental Declaration is developed and registered within the framework of an EPD program, such as the German Institut "Bauen und Umwelt" (IBU) or the British Building Research Establishment (BRE), among others. All EPDs registered with an EPD program are made publicly available on the program’s website and can also be listed on the ECO Platform in Europe.
An EPD may be used for many different applications, including green public procurement (GPP) and building assessment schemes. The concept of Type III Environmental Declarations was developed to primarily be used in business-to-business communication, but their use in business-to-consumer communication is not precluded by the standards.
What does an EPD contain?
The EPD contains information about the product and its potential environmental impacts and benefits:
- Technical information: Relevant product data and information
- LCA information: Environmental impacts, e.g. Global Warming Potential, Cumulative Energy Demand, Acidification Potential, but also a description of the LCA process (data, methods, assumptions)
- Other relevant environmental information (e.g. VOCs, hazardous materials, etc.)
- Review and verification information: Information on the LCA consultant and the EPD program operator, and the external 3rd party EPD verifier
EPDs for the European and North American construction market
Customers, as well as stricter building and construction standards, increasingly demand that companies declare the environmental performance or environmental impact of their products in a transparent manner. This calls for sound data and knowledge about the impacts of product manufacturing and application, and of the added value of finished products in their application and use phase. Providing information on the environmental performance of Sika solutions widens the customers’ choice when it comes to product selection and decision-making.
Sika has been developing third party certified product-specific EPDs for the European and North American construction market, covering sealing and flooring products, thermoplastic roofing/ waterproofing membranes and liquid applied membranes for roof waterproofing solutions, utilizing local US standards and European standards. Sika’s existing EPD reference database for its products and systems is constantly expanded. In the US for example, Sika has partnered with Climate Earth to bring advanced technology to customers. After a one-time system set up with Climate Earth, Sika is the first to combine performance and environmental mix design with instant verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
In the area of admixtures that help customers design better mixes Sika offers the industry’s first effective technology to instantly verify improved environmental performance. Sika’s Rapid line of hardening accelerators allow customers to utilize a greater percentage of SCMs and improve speed of construction by increasing early age strength gain so that forms can be turned quicker and structure elements can support construction loads sooner. Sika® EPD NOW will instantly create a verified EPD for such mix designs.
Industry associations are also active in the EPD space and have developed Model EPDs which can be used by member companies. For instance, the European Federation of Concrete Admixtures Associations (EFCA) and the European Adhesive and Sealant Industry (FEICA) have both developed a range of Model EPDs for admixture and resin-, dispersion- and cementitious-based products, respectively. These Model EPDs have been third-party verified to be in conformity with international standards EN 15804 and ISO 14025 and have been published by the Institute for Construction and Environment in Germany (IBU). All Sika member companies of these associations have the right to declare that a specific Model EPD applies to a given product if an assessment of the formulation has been completed in accordance with the IBU-approved guideline procedure for the relevant product category.