09 October 2018 | Rob Wood
Rob Wood, UK general manager of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain, explains how Environmental Product Declaration's (EPD) are a big step in transparency for suppliers.
When we talk about what contributes to climate change, buildings don't make the headlines as much as fossil fuels or farm animal methane. But specifiers are well aware of the importance of building performance.
If you're seeking to satisfy the requirements of a BREEAM or LEED assessment, the right information from suppliers is crucial.
Regardless of certifications, we should be improving the sustainable performance of buildings because it is the right thing to do.
It's not just something CAFM developers and HVAC designers should think about; supply chain partners can build this in from the start.
Energy efficiency once a building is occupied is one thing, but what about the products and services provided during construction?
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) isn't a credential or badge of honour; it's a big step to transparency for specifiers.
Why task a third party with assessing your entire operation, from product life cycle to fresh water used during manufacture? Because, like providing the relevant performance data for fire protection requirements, supplier EPDs contribute to informed choices.
Specifiers don't have to guess or try to retrofit sustainable performance measures on to an existing building. Armed with data on the environmental impact of a product or system, they can choose with certainty.
But an EPD is a benchmark to build from as sustainability isn't something you 'complete' any more than turnover or customer satisfaction. The declaration is the first step for the specifier's benefit. Then comes the continual drive to improve for everyone's benefit. Implementing EPDs across a range of products and systems isn't easy or quick, but it is necessary.
Whether you supply LED lighting or low-flow toilets, an EPD enables you to state: "This is what we are" as fact rather than "take our word for it".
Rob Wood is UK general manager of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain