CSA Group, a global provider of standards development and testing and certification services, announced the registration of its first environmental product declaration (EPD). The EPD was registered by the Cement Association of Canada for general use (GU) and portland-limestone (GUL) cements.
EPDs provide a standard way to communicate the environmental impact of available products and as such are an important part of the life cycle assessment of a building. Declarations take into account critical factors such as overall energy use and efficiency, the materials that were used to make the product, chemical substances, emissions and waste generation.
EPDs are like the nutrition label on a food box: they help give a fuller picture of the environmental impacts of a product from beginning to end, according to CSA Group. With this information, architects and construction companies can make better-informed choices, leading to the construction of greener and healthier buildings.
"Environmental product declarations are a simple, easily understood way for contractors and architects – and the general public – to understand and evaluate the environmental impact of the products they choose," said Magali Depras, president of standards, CSA Group. "CSA Group is proud to work with organizations like the Cement Association of Canada who are leading the way to a better, more sustainable world. We are pleased to announce that EPDs for these two products will be available for Canada's future infrastructure."
Making noticeable improvements in products in the built environment could have a dramatic impact on greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that these buildings are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in North America, at more than 35 percent. To move toward a more sustainable future, EPDS and a life cycle approach to products can help to change the way building professionals select materials for new projects and give a picture of the overall viability of construction projects, and their long-term impact on the environment. It is estimated that by building green and updating existing buildings, North America could reduce greenhouse gases by 25 percent.
"Cement is used virtually exclusively to make concrete, a material that is literally the foundation of modern society and that will play a key role in the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future," said Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada. "The cement and concrete industry is committed to doing all it can to help in this transition. Not only are EPDs an important tool for providing data and transparency on materials but also to support complex integrated design processes that help maximize the role that materials like concrete can play in advanced energy efficient design."
Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), stated: "I'd like to congratulate the CSA Group and the Cement Association of Canada, both supporters of CaGBC, for earning this first Environment Product Declaration. As we work this year to help the Canadian market adapt their projects to LEED v4, declarations will play an increasingly significant role in getting to low-impact buildings. The growing emphasis on the lifecycle performance of products and materials in LEED v4 gives manufacturers a market opportunity to produce products for the next generation of green buildings."