Ecocem – Ireland’s first building material manufacturer to attain an Environmental Product Declaration

An EPD is a rigorous and science-based assessment of all the environmental impacts of a product. It is based on an internationally-agreed system for calculating and reporting these impacts. All EPDs are third-party verified.

Ecocem’s EPD has been prepared using rules designed specifically for construction products, which enables direct comparisons between products that fulfill a similar function. It uses the Irish Standard I.S. EN 15804 as the basis of the calculations.

Ecocem’s EPD declares 11 environmental impacts including: global warming, human toxicity, smog (ground level ozone), acidification of soil and water, amongst others.

The benefit of EPDs is that they provide transparency and clarity to the process of selecting the product with the lowest environmental impact. They are an internationally-agreed system for communicating data that is independent and objective. This makes the comparison process very easy for specifiers, and avoids any greenwashing.

An EPD for a generic CEM I shows it having a carbon footprint of 899 kg of CO2/tonne. Ecocem Ireland’s GGBS EPD shows it having a carbon footprint of 42 kg of CO2/tonne which is over 21 times lower.

EU public consultation on sustainable buildings

Green housing campaigners are excited by a new sustainable buildings debate the EU has kick-started, which aims to move certification schemes beyond the energy efficiency paradigm.

On 10 July, the Commission launched a public consultation on the lifecycle impact of buildings, in advance of a communication which is expected at the beginning of 2014.

Buildings are responsible for some 40% of energy use in Europe and a less wasteful approach to their power consumption is at the heart of EU plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“We are pretty excited that the Commission is looking beyond energy efficiency now as it would be a huge missed opportunity if buildings were just regulated from an energy efficiency perspective,” James Drinkwater, a senior policy advisor at the World Green Building Council (WGBC) told EurActiv.

Pavel Misiga, a head of unit at the Commission’s environment department, announced in late June that the communication would focus on resource use in a broader sense – to look at embodied energy in buildings, water usage, construction materials and waste.

New EU GPP Criteria on Waste Water Infrastructure

On July 2nd, 2013 the Commission has published new EU GPP criteria for Waste Water Infrastructure, an area with specific relevance for cohesion policy. The criteria have been developed for voluntary use by all public authorities interested in improving the environmental benefits of these installations while focussing on reducing costs over the lifetime of these infrastructures. You can find out more by click here.