The new UNI EN 15804: 2019 “Sustainability of constructions – Environmental product declarations – Framework rules for development by product category” sets out the framework rules for development by product category (PCR) for the purpose of preparing type III environmental declarations (Environmental Product Declarations – EPD) for each type of construction product and service.
The new standard replaces the previous version, dating back to 2012.
The PCR (Product Category Rules) framework, we remind you that:
The new version of the Uni EN 15804 standard is the most important news from Europe in the last year regarding the development of EPDs in the construction sector.
One of the purposes of the revision of the standard is the alignment of the technical content of the EPDs with that developed by the European Commission as regards the environmental footprint of the product (PEF).
Uni EN 15804: 2019 introduces some substantial changes to the calculation of the LCA of the products compared to the previous edition.
An EPD Declaration in the world of construction, developed according to the new standard, must therefore declare the production and consumption processes of energy and materials (modules A1-A3), the processes of demolition / deconstruction, transport, disposal and / or recycling of the product (modules C1-C4) and credits, charges and benefits deriving from the flows in the end of life phases (module D). Only under very specific conditions is it still possible to perform an EPD assessment from the cradle to the gate (A1-A3) or include only the phases from the procurement of resources useful for the realization of the product to its production, justifying the choice appropriately. The phases related to the use and maintenance of the product inside the building will be mandatory, however, only for EPD “from cradle to grave”.
The calculation of the benefits and impacts at the end of life (benefits and loads of module D) deriving from the disposal and / or recycling phases is more complete than the indications provided in the 2014 standard but at the same time more complex. The dedicated “End of life” formula (not mandatory), present in the new Uni EN 15804 and deriving from the PEF world, provides an example of calculation of loads and benefits per unit of flow leaving the system boundaries, taking into account efficiency energy processes and the relationship between the quality of the recycled material and that of the replaced material.
In line with the ILCD (International Reference Life Cycle Data) method of the PEF, the LCA studies underlying the EPD must include 13 mandatory environmental indicators and 6 additional environmental indicators.
These are mandatory indicators already present in the previous version of the standard but with the introduction of new models at the basis of their calculation or new indicators. It will therefore be necessary to calculate and communicate a broader set of environmental indicators. Furthermore, the obligation to report the biogenic carbon content in the finished product and its packaging may involve the collection of additional information and data.
Another new feature is the mandatory conversion of background data into the ILCD format. Being a complex format, it will have a significant impact on the national building databases and on the international databases useful for the inventory phase in the implementation of the LCA study.
The new Uni EN 15804 requires more specific data quality requirements, with reference to the technological and geographical representativeness of the same, but also the analysis of data quality. This information should, hopefully, make the information contained in the EPDs more comprehensive and useful even for non-experts, strangers to the LCA world.
Following the entry into force of the uni En 15804: 2012 + A2: 2019 standard, the revision process of the EPDItaly documentation has already begun, in particular the PCR ICMQ 001/15 rev. 3 for construction products, which has already been published and fully incorporates the provisions of the EPDItaly standard and regulation, currently under review 5.