Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

An Environmental Product Declaration, EPD, is a document that reports environmental data of products based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and other relevant information. Standards such as ISO 14025 and EN 15804 exist to ensure consistency of format and comparability of data.

EPDs can be verified by accredited third parties so that users have assurance that the EPD complies with the requirements of the standard to which it is claimed to follow. The methodology for LCA (based on the European and International Standards) varies from the BRE’s Environmental Profiles Methodology upon which the Green Guide is based. 

In the UK, EPD has become shorthand for output compliant with EN 15804, the European standard which has been written to provide the rules for company and industry claims on environments credentials. The driver for EN 15804 was the need for true comparison between manufacturers of the same product, but also between very different products.

The need is to compare apples with apples. To achieve this is a huge task and hence under EN 15804 are Product Category Rules (PCRs) which provide a further level of detail. EPDs can cover the whole lifecycle of a project: cradle to grave. In EN 15804 this is modules A to C (and these have sub sets). When comparing EPDs designers must ensure they cover the same modules.

Sector EPDs for Cement

MPA Cement has published two new sector (sometimes referred to as generic) EPDs for cement, which align with the amended standard EN 15804:2012 + A2:2019.
The new MPA sector EPDs for CEM I and average Portland Cement cover 100% of all cement produced in the UK. The EPDs were created by modelling aggregated data from all MPA member cement manufacturing sites, using the GCCA EPD tool. They have been independently verified and published through the Environdec programme. 

  • MPA UK Average CEM I  The Global Warming Potential (GWP), which measures the CO2 emissions, is 839.8 kg CO2e per tonne for UK Average CEM I
  • MPA UK Average Portland Cement  The Global Warming Potential (GWP), which measures the CO2 emissions is 812.3 kg CO2e per tonne for the UK Average Portland Cement.

This represents a reduction in published CO2 values for both products, compared to the embodied carbon reported in 2019 in MPA Factsheet 18.

Note: The GWP-fossil values reported in this EPD are based on ‘gross’ CO2 emissions, including combustion of both fossil and waste-derived fuels (also called ‘alternative’ or ‘secondary’ fuels). Some cement EPDs exclude the combustion of waste-derived fuels, and report GWP values based on ‘net’ CO2 emissions. When comparing EPDs, it is important to note that ‘net’ GWP values, which exclude CO2 emissions from the combustion of waste-derived fuels, will be lower than ‘gross’ GWP values which include them.  
Note: If comparing cement EPDs for the UK to EPDs from other countries be aware that these are not directly comparable. In the UK, supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), such as fly ash or GGBS, are typically added after the cement has left the factory, at the concrete batching plant or precast factory.

Sector EPD for ready-mixed concrete

Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU) have published an EPD for UK manufactured generic ready-mixed concrete. Find out more about the EPD for:

Sector EPDs for precast concrete

British Precast (now MPA Precast) has worked closely with sustainability consultants, Thinkstep, on developing a lifecycle assessment tool for the purpose of producing verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in accordance with EN 15804. The tool created is robust and accurate but also user friendly for manufacturers of any size. The tool has an extensive list of over 50 material inputs covering all the commonly-used aggregates, cements, reinforcements and admixtures.

The tool has now been externally verified by the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU). The published EPDs are part of British Precast’s (now MPA Precast) ongoing commitment to sustainability and transparency. The seven published EPDs are:

British Precast (now MPA Precast) produced (prior to the EPDs) easy to use carbon fact sheets for brick-faced and stone cladding and structural precast elements. As they were produced prior to the EPDs they should only be referred to if needed once the EPDs are consulted.