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BLOG: A New Aspect of EPDs and Specifications

Posted By ASC, Thursday, May 26, 2016



Contributed by Paul Bertram


I just returned from a Bi-Region CSI conference where I sat in on a presentation about EPDs and their relevance to specifications. While this was a familiar topic for me, I always appreciate different perspectives. For the most part the presenter was accurate, however, I did challenge information regarding LCA data output(reporting) based on differences in LCA software data bases such as GaBi and SimaPro. The point being that Product Specific (or Industry Wide) EPDs aren’t intended for direct comparison even when conducted under the same product category rules. How an end point environmental impact is reported could vary because of the differences in data bases, unit measurement, or variances in processes. These differences would be considered “noise” (accepted variance) within the reporting.


It also has to be understood that for product (or assembly/system) comparative analysis, evaluation requires normalization and weighting of the data to be valid. An example would be comparing an Insulated Metal Panel system including required sealants compared to Tilt up Concrete, Pre-Cast Concrete or steel frame construction with insulation, air barrier, and coatings. You can’t lay out EPDs of these differing systems and make an evaluation that is accurate.




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