Construction is one of the human activities with the most significant environmental impact. It must ensure the best quality of life and guarantee the health and safety of the people who inhabit the buildings or use civil engineering infrastructures. Still, its impact on the environment must also be continuously reduced, in line with advancements in knowledge and technology.
Construction generates environmental impacts throughout its useful life:
Buildings are responsible for up to 40% of annual energy consumption and up to 40% of all energy-related greenhouse gases (GHG).
The construction sector is responsible for one-third of humanity’s resource consumption, including up to 20% of total freshwater consumption, and produces up to 40% of our solid waste.
The sector also employs, on average, more than 10% of our workforce.
To minimise the environmental impact generated by constructions and civil engineering works, the concept of the “Life Cycle” began to be used to identify, from the design phase, constructive solutions that minimise their impact “from the cradle to the grave”, that is, from the construction phase to demolition.
The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) based on harmonised standards (such as UNE-EN 15804) is the best scientific tool to assess the environmental impact of construction products and is the basis for sustainable construction certification schemes (GREEN, DGNB, BREEAM or LEED).
The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a list of all the positive and negative impacts of a product on the environment. These impacts are measured at each stage of the product’s life with indicators linked to waste, emissions and resource consumption.
The Environmental Product Declarations are obtained as a result of the life cycle analysis (LCA). Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) inform and quantify the leading environmental aspects of construction products or services (global warming, the effect on the ozone layer, acidification and eutrophication of water or the depletion of abiotic resources).
According to the UNE-EN 15804 standard, the parameters that describe these environmental impacts, and their units expressed by functional unit or by declared unit, must be included in a table of Impact Assessment Indicators.
Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), being made following product category rules (PCR), allow the fair and objective comparison of products and services for their environmental performance.
The Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) must be integrated into a verification program (International EPD System – Environdec -, GlobalEPD – AENOR -, DAPcons -CAATEEB-…) and their information must be validated by a verifier independent so that the information they provide is reliable.
The LCA Life Cycle Analysis is considered to be the state-of-the-art methodology for evaluating the environmental impact of a construction product, a system or a building throughout its life cycle.
According to international standards, an LCA calculates rigorously and scientifically the use of energy, water and natural resources, the emissions that they give off to the air, land and water, and the generation of waste. This data is calculated for each stage of the product life cycle.
OAK has been carrying out consulting work in the field of sustainable construction since 2017. They are generally construction product manufacturing companies that want to technically and efficiently solve aspects such as:
Our consulting services combine our knowledge regarding the standardisation of construction products with our experience in environmental management projects. Our EDP projects are aimed at preparing and supporting external verification:
Our consulting projects have only one purpose: To provide the best possible solution, the most viable, to our clients.
Manufacturers of construction products/services that want to enter into green purchasing programs, sustainable construction certification schemes (VERDE, DGNB, BREEAM or LEED), improvement of their environmental management systems (UNE-EN ISO 14001: 2015, EMAS) deepening the concept of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of its products, ecodesign projects, or improving Business to Business or Business to Consumer environmental communication.
Product Environmental Declarations (EPD) validated and integrated in a verification program: International EPD System (Environdec), GlobalEPD (AENOR) or DAPcons (Col.legi d’Aparelladors, Arquitectes Tècnics i Enginyers d’Edificació (CAATEEB)).