The Use of Environmental Product Declarations of Construction Products as a Data Source to Conduct a Building Life-Cycle Assessment in Spain

Bernardette Soust-Verdaguer, Elisabetta Palumbo, Carmen Llatas, Álvaro Velasco Acevedo, María Dolores Fernández Galvéz, Endrit Hoxha, Alexander Passer

The Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) method and the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) each play a crucial role in reducing buildings’ embodied environmental impacts. EPDs provide the validated and geographically representative data necessary to conduct an LCA. However, the development of EPDs in the European context is still irregular. Countries such as Germany and France have many EPDs for construction products, while other countries, such as Spain, have a limited number of EPDs and more than one operator programme, which is pointed out in the literature as a possible limiting factor for comparing results. This study aimed to examine the use of construction product EPDs manufactured in Spain, to then use as a data source to conduct a building LCA. We analysed the comparability of the results among the different EPD programmes and investigated to what extent the use of Spainߣs geographically representative construction product EPDs can contribute to conducting a building LCA, including all the materials and products that compose a building, and covering all the building life-cycle stages (product, construction, use, and end-of-life). The results showed that plasterboard and thermal insulation products have the highest numbers of EPDs in different EPD programmes. The case study analysis showed that 20% of the construction products that compose a building can potentially use these EPDs as a data source to conduct a building LCA, and 89% of those product categories include at least the product, use, or end-of-life stage modules. Finally, recommendations and challenges to improve LCA development in the architecture, engineering, construction, and operation industries were included.

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