Digitization on the one hand and sustainability on the other are two compelling prerequisites for sustainable construction. The Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU) will help the construction sector achieve a new standard with a new digitalization strategy for environmental product data.
With the further development of BIM, new possibilities will be created for the optimization of construction projects up to object-specific life cycle assessment. To this end, it is imperative to fully digitize environmental product information (EPDs) and make them available in suitable formats. In the future, all relevant data on the ecological profile of the respective products should be directly available in the digital planning process. Depending on the planning phase, this may only be average values for product groups in the early stages. In detailed planning and certification, on the other hand, product-specific data sets will be required, which in special cases may even extend to project-specific EPDs, for example for special formulations or complex elements consisting of several building products. Digitization significantly simplifies the creation of EPDs for individual building products and the merging of data into a declaration for complex elements, and in many cases even makes this possible in the first place.
The further increasing requirements for quality and quantity of EPDs make sustainability assessment more and more data-intensive. As an interface between manufacturers as declaration holders on the one hand and data users on the other, the IBU consistently thinks of digitization in two directions: Toward application and toward creation. In both cases, the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU) has already achieved important milestones in recent years, which are constantly being optimized and expanded to include related processes and services. In addition, IBU is working with a number of companies, institutes and initiatives such as building smart to achieve a smooth integration of EPDs into the BIM world.
At BAU 2023, the IBU will present the new version of the EPD platform (www.epd-online.com), which enables a significantly increased degree of automation in the transformation of previous EPDs in pdf form into the more advanced EPD format ILCD+EPD. Architects, planners and auditors in particular should benefit from this. EPDs are available to them as digital data sets in XML format. These can be imported via a corresponding interface into external planning and calculation software, for example, and used directly. This is possible both in building life cycle assessment processes and in integral planning. In the latter, the ecological dimension of sustainability can be taken into account at an early stage, since various building components can be modeled and comparative calculations performed. In accordance with the current generation of EN 15804 standards, the entire service life can be taken into account — from the construction of the building to the dismantling and recycling of the products, including disposal if necessary. The advantage: ecological aspects can be ideally integrated into the planning and construction process as early as the design phase.
Ibu.data, ÖKOBAUDAT and ECO Portal — Verified life cycle assessment data of building products in a uniform digital format
Currently, the IBU provides digitized data sets for a large number of building products not only in its own database ibu.data, but also in the platform ÖKOBAUDAT and in the ECO Portal for use in construction and planning processes. ÖKOBAUDAT is an essential basis in particular for the new Quality Seal for Sustainable Buildings (QNG) as well as certifications according to the Federal Government’s Sustainable Building Assessment System (BNB). The ECO Portal is an important data node of the ECO Platform, the umbrella organization of the various national EPD program holders in Europe, which is committed to the harmonization of national EPDs based on the European standard EN 15804. The closely coordinated cooperation of the major EPD program holders at the European level as well as the full recognition in Europe represents an enormous added value for all products with ECO Platform EPDs.
The data format for ÖKOBAUDAT and ECO Platform is based on the ILCD+EPD format developed by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR). This is based on the ILCD format defined by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. Thanks to a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier), the EPD data can also be easily integrated into BIM data sets, for example, without inflating the latter by the complexity of the environment-related data, which should not be underestimated. With this solution, IBU, as the leading EPD program owner, offers an easy way to integrate environmental product declarations into other digital applications.