January 12, 2016 by Corinne Lynds
The North American Precast Concrete industry announced the release of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in three key precast concrete product categories today. The EPDs will allow architects, engineers, building owners, and other specifiers to better understand the environmental impacts of precast and prestressed concrete products.
The precast concrete industry-wide EPDs are now available for the following products: architectural and insulated wall panels, structural precast concrete products and underground precast concrete products.
An EPD is a standardized, internationally recognized, comprehensive tool for providing information on a product’s environmental impact. Information in the EPD document is based on an ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and verified by a third-party. The detailed analysis considers all processes in the manufacturing of a product, including raw material and energy extraction, preliminary production and the manufacture of end products.
The industry-wide EPDs, jointly released by the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI), the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), are issued within clearly defined product groups based on the precast concrete Product Category Rules (PCR). Using products with EPDs can contribute to LEED credits. LEED v4 has incorporated a new credit for EPDs that have been third-party verified by an approved program operator. For more information on LEED credits, visit www.usgbc.org and www.cagbc.org.
The EPDs were independently prepared by Athena Sustainable Materials Institute in accordance with ISO 14025 and ISO 21930; the Product Category Rules for Preparing an Environmental Product Declaration for Precast Concrete (UN CPC 3755), March 2015; and ASTM international’s EPD program operator rules. They were also independently verified by ASTM International (in accordance with ISO 14025) and by Industrial Ecology Consultants (in accordance with ISO 14025 and the Product Category Rules).
CPCI, NPCA and PCI are the leading technical resources (Body of Knowledge (BOK)) for the precast concrete industry in North America. From this BOK, building codes, design guides, educational programs, certification, sustainability programs, and new research ideas are derived. This joint industry initiative develops, maintains, and disseminates the BOK necessary for designing, fabricating, and constructing sustainable and resilient precast concrete structures.