Environmental product declarations entering the building sector: critical reflections based on 5 to 10 years experience in different European countries
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Purpose Growing awareness of the environmental performance of construction products and buildings brings about the need for a suitable method to assess their environmental performance. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has become a widely recognised and accepted method to assess the burdens and impacts throughout the life cycle. This LCA-based information may be in the form of environmental product declarations (EPD) or product environmental footprints (PEF), based on reliable and verifiable information. All of these use LCA to quantify and report several environmental impact categorie and may also provide additional information. To better understand on the one hand existing EPD programmes (EN 15804) for each country and on the other the recent developments in terms of EU reference document (e.g. PEF), the authors decided to write this review paper based on the outcomes of the EPD workshop that was held prior to SB13 Graz conference. Methods This paper presents the state of the art in LCA and an overview of the EPD programmes in five European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland) based on the workshop in the first part and a comprehensive description and comparison of the PEF method and EN 15804 in the second part. In the last part, a general conclusion will wrap up the findings and results will provide a further outlook on future activities. Results and discussion The high number of EPD programmes underlines the fact that there is obviously a demand for assessments of the environmental performance of construction materials. In the comparison between and experiences of the different countries, it can be seen that more similarities than differences exist. A comparison between PEF and EPD shows differences, e.g. LCIA impact categories and recycling methodology. Conclusions Independent of raising awareness of the construction material environmental performance, the existence of so many environmental claims calls for clarification and harmonisation. Additionally, construction materials being assessed in the voluntary approaches have to follow the harmonised approach following the principles of the European Construction Products Regulation (regulated) not to foster barriers of trade. The authors therefore highly appreciate the most recent activities of the sustainability of construction works (CEN/TC 350 committee http://portailgroupe.afnor.fr/public_ espacenormalisation/CENTC350/index.html) currently working on these issues at the EU level. Finally, the LCA community is further encouraged to increase the background life cycle inventory data and life cycle inventory modelling as well as the meaningfulness of certain environmental impact categories, such as toxicity, land use, biodiversity and resource usage.

Life cycle assessment (LCA)

Building certification

Environmental product declaration (EPD)

Product environmental footprint (PEF)


Alexander Passer

Technische Universität Graz

Sébastien Lasvaux

Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB)

Haute Ecole Specialisee de Suisse occidentale

Karen Allacker

Joint Research Centre (JRC), Europeiska kommissionen

KU Leuven

Dieter De Lathauwer

Federal Public Service Health

Carolin Spirinckx

Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO)

Bastian Wittstock

Fraunhofer-Institut fur Bauphysik - IBP

thinkstep AG (ehem. PE INTERNATIONAL AG)

Daniel Kellenberger

Intep-Integrale Planung GmbH

Florian Gschösser

University of Innsbruck

Johannes Wall

Technische Universität Graz

Holger Wallbaum

Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Byggnadsteknologi

International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

0948-3349 (ISSN)

Vol. 20 9 1199-1212


Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures (2010-2018)



Annan naturresursteknik

Miljöanalys och bygginformationsteknik



Mer information

Senast uppdaterat