Environmental Product Declarations (EPD)
for textile floor coverings
Video: What is an EPD?
(Environmental Product Declaration in Detail)
As well as generic EPDs of ‘typical’ types of textile floor coverings, GUT also prepares product-specific EPDs for individual manufacturers. Each EPD is based on the same harmonised PCR information therefore the environmental impacts of each product is transparent, independent, understandable and comparable. By using the IBU format, the EPDs comply with future EU standards and are valid throughout the EU. The EPDs can be used by planners, architects, construction companies, building owners and other experts to assess the sustainability of buildings.
GUT has been responsible for the development of EPDs for over 10 years and, to date, more than 350 product specific EPDs have been published. Therefore, numerous expert opinions based on LCA data have been carried out across the industry on the impact of different raw materials, production processes and methods of disposal. For the French market, so-called FDES documents (Fiche de Déclaration Environnementale et Sanitaire = Environmental and Health Declaration) are also being prepared.
How is an EPD created?
The three steps to an EPD
A forum of experts and manufacturers for a specific product group is set up and a draft document for the PCR (Product Category Rules) is prepared. The product is defined and the typical environmental impacts expected are identified. Simultaneously, the public and any other interested parties will be informed and asked for input which will be incorporated into the initial draft. This will be checked for consistency between the experts and manufacturers to ensure it meets all requirements. If there is already a PCR document for the relevant product group, this stage will not be necessary.
At this point, the manufacturer provides all the information required for the PCR document together with evidence of the tests completed. The PCR also acts to regulate the test procedures and LCA methodology. Once this is completed and checked, the EPD is created.
The EPD is examined by an ‘Expert Committee’ and then each individual EPD is verified by an independent third party to ensure that the information is objective and accurate. The programme holder, IBU (Institut für Bauen und Umwelt e.V.), does not have any influence over the EPD results, but only publishes the declarations that have been accepted from the expert committee. All currently valid EPDs (published by IBU) can be found on the IBU website and in the EPD-Online Tool after you have registered there free of charge.
Video: EPDs - from Construction Products to Sustainable Buildings
Key questions about an EPD for textile floor coverings
The EPD describes the entire life cycle of a textile floor covering and the environmental impact at each stage; including the choice of raw materials, production methods, transport, installation and in-use. It also assesses the impacts at end of life and disposal including different recycling options.
The EPD is a voluntary Type III environmental labelling scheme that provides product information based on independently prepared LCA’s and is therefore not a certificate. The EPD enables a transparent, understandable comparison to be made between products of a similar type and function but it does not evaluate the product properties. The data is defined by ISO 14025 in terms of quality and format.
EPDs are based on two standards: ISO 14025 and EN 15804.
EPDs are a voluntary Type III environmental declaration. ISO 14025 defines the principles and procedures in order to prepare an EPD.
The product category rules (PCR) which are specifically for construction products and which are needed for an EPD, are based on EN 15804
As EPDs comply with an ISO standard, comparisons can easily be made between products with the same function.
Product Category Rules (PCRs) form the basis for EPDs. Each product category needs specific rules to enable comparisons to be made between different products with the same function and between EPDs. PCRs define the individual steps of the calculation and highlight the key points such as the scope and relevant documents relating to the environmental impacts of the product life cycle.
An EPD is limited to 5 years.