Just how environmentally-friendly, resource-saving or sustainable certain products or materials are is also largely dependent on the buildings in which they are installed and/or used. Example: An igloo is typically built by hand using a single construction material: snow – an environmentally-friendly, natural product which can be recycled in full. From this perspective, snow as a building material and the actual igloo building are sustainable – ecologically.
However, this is not universally applicable but only under certain conditions. After all, if you wished to build an igloo in our climate zone or even in the tropics where there is little or no snow, the snow would have to be produced or imported at great energy expenditure. What’s more, the igloo would melt after only a short period of time if it was not cooled or permanently replaced.
It goes without saying that this is a very simplified example but it does illustrate why construction products are not end products and that the influence they have on the environment is largely dependent on how, where and what they are used for. For this reason, construction products which initially appear environmentally friendly are by no means a guarantee of sustainability. And that is why we have EPDs. They contain the data required for calculating and evaluating environmental influences in specific cases.
Our first video explains these contexts in more detail.