Using EPD in eToolLCD

Wondering how to use EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) in eToolLCD?

The software allows users to create new EPDs in eToolLCD, add EPD to designs, compare EPD with the materials in the inventory, make comparison between different EPDs and also understand how specific products correlate with the whole project performance.

 

Create new EPD using excel template

EPD Functionality Improvement includes the ability to import impacts from excel template and copy and paste to and from excel.

Fill out the details tab with all information required to ensure usability and transparency of product information, and correct application in whole project LCA studies.

How to Add An EPD Into Your Design


EPDs are inherently difficult at the moment to incorporate robustly into a whole building LCA as scopes and indicators won´t always match. Be wary when adding EPDs to designs as they often have gaps in the life cycle modules (eg, no end of life impacts).

Impact results displayed in eToolLCD for materials are a sum of different impact stages:

  • Product (A1-A3, or cradle to gate);
  • Transportation of materials to site (A4);
  • End of life impact related to deconstruction/demolition (C1), transport of waste off site (C2), waste processing (C3) and disposal (C4);
  • Benefits and Loads Beyond The System Boundary related to closed loop recycling (D2), open loop recycling (D3), materials energy recovery (D4) or direct reuse D5).

Materials page in eToolLCD will have different variables the user can select to customise other stages beyond Materials A1-A3. Disposal or recovery method as well as transportation mode and distance can be edited by the user. When defining specific material’s parameters like steel for example, the software will allow users to input recycled content rate, end of life recycling rate and transportation related to end of life closed loop recycling.

When a specific product has a significant impact in the whole building LCA, it’s crucial to not “cherry pick” the positives without considering the negatives. For example, recycling carpet at the end of life is on the surface a great thing, however, if the plant is on the other side of the country and the old carpet is carried there on the truck, a net positive outcome will be questionable. The user can model end of life transport distance in eToolLCD to make the right assumptions and draw fair conclusions.

An EPD will rarely include end-of-life impacts because the manufacturer has little control over how its material gets used and what end-of-life assumption should be applied. Some products can be designed to be more easily recycled but often it’s more about how the design and demolition teams manage it.

Alternatively, to add an EPD into eToolLCD and report against every module and indicator in your LCA scope you need to fill in the gaps. The EPD will inform stages A1-A3 data and the user would take the results for each missing module and indicator from the eTool data and add this to the EPD. This process can be very laborious and needs to be validated by eTool first so please get in touch and we will assist you.


Add Missing Impacts By Using Templates

In light of the issues with EPDs outlined above, you may add the missing impacts to the EPDs by creating a custom template that contains the EPD. There are already a few such templates in our template library which you can search for by typing in ‘EPD’ in the search field.

If you’re unable to find the template you require, you can create your own custom template. We recommend cloning an existing template that is most similar to the material you’re trying to refine with the EPD so that you won’t have to do too much guesswork with regards to the missing inputs (i.e. installation/assembly impacts). After you’ve cloned the template (and rename appropriately), you just delete all inputs that have already been accounted for by the EPD and click on ‘Add EPD’ to add the EPD into the template.

 

Here is a link to an example EPD template: https://etoollcd.com/Library/Template/Index/24926

When you click into the ‘Internal Finishes’ and ‘People’ category, you’ll find additional inputs such as consumables (paint tins, rollers) and painting hours have been included in the template, separate from the EPD. You can see the EPD impacts as a separate figure under these categories under ‘EPDs’ as per image below.

By this way, you have an organised/tidy way of accounting for the complete impacts of your product.

How to Add Missing Material Transportation Impacts

If you wish to add only the transportation impacts for the EPD product to site, please use the following method. Note that this is only available for templates/projects using the eTool Default LCI source.

  1. In your template, navigate to the correct category and add an element.

  2. Select the ‘Zero Impact Product/Material’ option under Material (only available for eTool Default LCI sources).
  3. Continue with filling out the rest of the material details.
  4. After clicking ‘Save’ the zero impact element you’ve added will have no material impact (which is provided by the EPD) and will only have the transport impact as per the specifications you’ve entered (including any recurring transport impacts if applicable).

You can find EPD from different program operators for example:

Australasian EPD Program
EnvironDec – International EPD System
IBU – Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V.
Eco Platform – List of all Eco EPD
UL Environment – SPOT

Additional info can be found using the links below:

Can materials manufacturers load their products into eToolLCD?
How does eToolLCD calculate the burdens and benefits associated with recycling?
How Closed Loop Recycling works in EN15978
Who should benefit from recycling in construction product EPD?


Sharing EPDs in eToolLCD with Other Users

In order to encourage more EPD use in LCAs, we currently have no validation requirement for making EPDs that users have created public to other users. However, only eTool administrators will be able to make the EPDs public. Therefore if you wish to make your EPDs public, please submit a Support Request!

If you wish to only share it within your organisation, you may consider adding the EPD into a custom template as per the section above and then assign the template to an organisation.


Upgrading EPD Features

We are aware that there is room for improvement in our EPD functions. If you wish to see these features upgraded, please vote on them in the Feature Requests page of the support site or submit your own proposal! Below are a couple of links to the ones relating to EPDs:


Related Links: Can materials manufacturers load their products into eToolLCD?

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