Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) Program Launch

Led by the BCRMCA, the Canadian Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (CRMCA) sponsored a project to help CRMCA member producers meet the requirements of LEED v4 by providing producers with an industry-wide Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in accordance with LEED v4.  It has now been published online - follow this link to the CRMCA EPD.

A cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for ready mixed concrete was conducted and an industry-wide (average) EPD was produced. The LCA and EPD encompassed concrete for a variety of applications, strengths, durability classes and slumps (or slump flows), and regions so that a producer can use the industry-wide EPD during the submittal process for a project requiring an EPD. The EPD represents concrete typically used on a variety of projects including residential, commercial and public construction in different climate zones and in different markets.

In the coming weeks we will roll out a program outlining the details on how to get the most out of your EPD.

Background
International Organization of Standards 14025 defines an environmental product declaration as quantifiable environmental data used to compare products that fulfill the same function. It’s like a nutrition label on two different boxes of cereal. They both contain the same nutritional information such as calories, fat and sugar. That way, a consumer can make an informed decision on which one to choose. Replace those indicators with Acidification Potential, Primary Fossil Energy Consumption, and Net Fresh Water, and you get an EPD.

How Does It Affect Me?
Materials that compete with ready-mixed concrete, such as pre-cast concrete, masonry block, plastic, fiberglass, wood and steel, have already developed or are in the process of developing their own EPDs, which are being requested with bid documents in ever-increasing numbers. If you do not have an EPD available when you’re asked, it will be too late. EPDs take a lot of time to develop. BCRMCA and CRMCA have been working to get these EPDs written for more than two years.

LEED v4, Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products and the International Green Construction Code request building product manufacturers to submit EPDs to demonstrate environmental performance of their products.
 
LEED v4, which took effect in November 2016, provides two points for a project that can document:
- Having 20 products and materials with EPDs and
- Having 50% of the products (by cost) demonstrate lower impacts than industry baselines through EPDs

5 Fast Facts About EPDs

  1. EPDs allow architects, engineers, building owners, and other specifiers to better understand the environmental impacts of ready-mixed concrete
  2. Only members of the BCRMCA can use the CRMCA EPD in British Columbia
  3. An EPD does not disclose ingredients
  4. An EPD is part of the Product Transparency Credits in LEED v4
  5. The CRMCA EPD is valid until January 2022
If you have any questions on the BCRMCA EPD program please contact Charles Kelly at 604-626-4141 or ckelly@bcrmca.ca
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Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) Program - January 2017
Journal of Commerce on Environmental Product Declarations Charles Kelly, President of the BCRMCA, recently wrote and article in the Journal of Commerce on exploring concrete and sustainable construction
Study of Insurance Costs for Mid-Rise Wood Frame and Concrete Residential Builders Prepared for the Concrete Council of Canada
The BC Construction Safety Alliance and the BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association have produced a Best Practice Guidelines for Contractors using Concrete Pumps.
The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) recently completed several studies aimed at using the mass of concrete structures in energy efficient design of buildings.
Durability is the ability of concrete to resist weathering action, chemical attack, and abrasion while maintaining its desired engineering properties. Different concretes require different degrees of durability depending on the exposure environment and the properties desired. Concrete durability is one of the most important considerations in the design of new structures and when assessing the condition of existing structures.
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