Photo: Fredrik Hjerling

A building’s climate impact during the actual construction process can be the same as or even larger than the impact generated over 50 years of use. The individual materials and processes we use therefore play a key role.

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) makes it possible to compare products

Looking at how an individual building product affects the environment during its life cycle is an important consideration when building new structures. An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) provides environmental information about a specific product. It shows the product’s footprint and makes it possible to compare materials. 
Manufacturers produce the EPDs in line with a number of product-specific rules, which include detailed guidelines on limitations, choice of methodology and underlying data for the product group in question. The product-specific rules, generally known as Product Category Rules (PCR), are generally developed in consultation with the industry.
An EPD must be based on the same PCR in order to be comparable. It is, in addition, important to take account of the limitations in each EPD, such as which phases are included in the calculation.
The EPD is also an important data source for those conducting a life cycle assessment of a whole building or part of the building.

EPD for sawn dried timber S-P-02537 - Swedish sawn dried timber of spruce or pine
EPD for planed wood product S-P-02657 - Swedish sawn and planed wood product

Life cycle assessment (LCA) – from start to finish

A life cycle assessment (LCA) calculates the environmental impact across the product’s entire life cycle – from raw material to end of life and recycling, thus enabling an overall assessment of a project’s environmental impact.
As well as estimating the environmental impact, an LCA also helps to gain an idea of the resource flows involved, enabling us to see what needs to be done to reduce the project’s environmental impact. An LCA can answer the following questions: What aspect of my project has the greatest environmental impact? How can I reduce the footprint of my building or structure?
The earlier an LCA is conducted, the greater the scope to achieve environmental improvements.
A life cycle assessment may, for example, be used as the basis for decision-making, research, design and labelling of products. 

Read more about how an LCA is conducted at Boverket 

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