18 May 2016

Last year we worked to develop a suite of materials to help architects and specifiers confused about Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and their use, by explaining what an EPD is.

We wanted to see whether the confusion we’d experienced previously still exists and find out what they believe the future looks like for EPD use in the specification process. So we recently undertook a survey among specifiers. The results were of great interest and show there is still much more to do to help drive growth of use of EPD as a key specification tool and to overcome some of the challenges facing their use.

Here’s a quick summary and what it shows about the future of EPD:

EPD will grow in importance

  • 90% of architects and specifiers believe Environmental Product Declarations will be important in building product specification in the next five years.

Confusion about EPDs remains

  • One in five architects (20%) say they currently do not know what an EPD is.
  • 80% said they would welcome more guidance and advice on the use of EPD.
  • Less than half (41%) understood that EPD information can be used to analyse the environmental impact of a construction detail, while only just over a third (37%) recognised that the data contained within an EPD is used to compare material and product choices.
  • 14% of specifiers who use EPD said there is no standard format and 10% think it is hard to interpret the data.
  • Only one in ten (10%) who use EPD reported that the process is easy and straight forward.

Demand for EPDs is low

  • 21% of architects currently use EPDs in the specification process and only 11% of those asked said their clients currently request EPD for the specified building products.

There is obviously a clear view that EPD will grow in importance but, the confusion that surrounds them and challenges with using them need to be overcome for them to truly reach their potential and be valued as an important and useful tool in the specification process. For this reason, we are committed to continuing our work to develop materials and offer guidance to assist with the understanding and use of EPD.

A guide to Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

Our easy-to-follow guide Getting to grips with an EPD provides an overview of what an EPD is. It also explains the different life cycle stages and environmental indicators and how to practically use EPD to design and build. In addition, it includes a jargon buster to clarify confusing phrases and acronyms.

The guide is one of many technical support services from Marley Eternit. These include tools to help aid specification of the right roofing product or solution for a project’s needs and BIM objects. In addition, wider assistance is available online such as a Roofing Estimator and Roofing Fixing Spec tool.

For specifiers already using EPD, our website provides more information on products which come complete with an EPD.

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