First Draft of EN 15804+A2 Following Adoption of Amendment M350
After eleven meetings held subsequent to the last plenary session in Berlin in November 2016, a first draft of the new EN 15804+A2 was presented in October 2017 in Valetta, Malta. The draft had been prepared by six working groups, who met independently to develop the draft and compile it for presentation at the 2017 plenary session.
The Mandate and the Amendment
In 2004, the European Commission issued a mandate to CEN, aimed at the development of assessment methods for determining the environmental quality of buildings. Out of this mandate arose the CEN TC 350 family of standards. The basis for these standards was the assessment of data on the environmental quality of products, the individual environmental characteristics of which, as documented in the form of an environmental product declaration, could then be aggregated to evaluate the environmental quality of a building. Exactly which environmental characteristics were to be assessed was determined by the information required for buildings.
Since then, EPDs have established themselves in the market, due, in no small part, to the ensuing debate over the use of this information for product declarations using CE labelling. The life cycle assessment underlying the EPDs has meanwhile also become a tool of environmental product development for manufacturers.
At the same time that these developments were taking place. The European Commission began the Product Environmental Footprints (PEF) project, which, though operating on the same methodological basis as EPDs, established different conventions. With the aid of an amendment to the M350 mandate for the construction industry, both of these quantification procedures will now be aligned.
All construction industry stakeholders have an interest in finding uniformly applicable calculation rules for assessing the environmental quality of construction products: both for the EPD, as a tool for transferring information from the product level to the building level, and for the PEF, as a tool for communicating information from manufacturers to consumers.
The following modifications have therefore been proposed:
- both methods, EPD and PEF, use the same indicators. For EPDs, this will mean expanding the indicator set to allow more differentiation of data on contributions to the greenhouse effect as GWP from fossil sources, biogenic sources, and land use changes. Additional expansions will include eutrophication and water-related issues.
- both methods employ the same characteristic factors, based on research results from the European Joint Research Centre. This includes setting the factors for the contribution of biogenic CO2 to the greenhouse effect to zero as well as enabling additional information regarding a product’s carbon storage to be provided.
The loss of transparency resulting from the zeroing-out of the biogenic CO2 will be off-set by the declaration of both carbon reduction and emission at every stage of the life cycle.
- both methods require not only information on the manufacturing process of the product, but also life-end-scenario-supported data on the disposal and recycling potential of the product. There will be limited exceptions (for products that lose their physical properties with use, such as cement).
- requirements regarding functional and declared units as well as data quality will also be more precisely specified.
- TC 350 has also proposed that it be permitted, within the scope of the project, for declarations to be created as pilot phase indicators, the interpretation of which cannot yet be verified, with no requirement that they subsequently be published as EPDs. These are the so-called “supplemental indicators”, including human toxicity and ecotoxicity, as well as toxicity from particulate matter and radioactivity and that resulting from land use and soil quality.
- an Appendix with further information will contain a summary of the standard in a formula for modules A1-A3, C1-C4, and D. This formula is not mandatory, however, if a formula is to be used, then it must be the one found in Annex D.
In February 2018, this draft will be presented for a vote and for comment. The Commission’s tight deadline can be met if the proposal is accepted in principle. In the coming year, TC 350 will also begin work on revisions to the EN 15942 standard for the facilitation of digitization and to TR 15941 as an aid to data selection. They will also be undertaking their newest standardisation project: Business to Consumer (B2C) Communication.