The world’s first verified Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) calculated through the new BRE LINA tool was unveiled at Ecobuild recently. The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Wood Window Alliance member Mumford & Wood’s conservation casement window became the first product to receive a verified EPD, with the Stormsure Timber Casement Window by JELD-WEN due to follow shortly.
Speakers at the launch (pictured left to right) included Dr Shamir Ghumra, director at the BRE Centre for Sustainable Products, Beatrix Richards, head of corporate stewardship (sustainable commodities) at WWF-UK, and BWF Chief Executive Iain McIlwee.
BWF is the first customer worldwide for BRE LINA. This allows them to produce life cycle assessment results for its members’ products which are then uploaded into the BRE Hub so that a third party verified BRE Global EPD can be produced. The results can also inform assessments for ISO 14001, EN 15804 (the European standard for the sustainability of construction products) and other environmental management systems, and can feed into BIM – Building Information Modelling.
Iain McIlwee, chief executive of the BWF, said at the launch: “LINA is a revolution, it puts the calculator in our hands and enables us to work with members to produce LCAs in EPD format, but also to turn the various dials and consider the whats and the what ifs. Today sees the first EPD verified through the system and I am grateful to Mumford & Wood for their support and patience in bringing us to this point. We have another that should be completed by JELD-WEN by the end of the week and then the floodgates can open – in the form of EPDs staircases, doorsets, flooring, roofing.
“What is more as we start to develop our understanding we can assess consequences of our decisions and start to look at how we can optimise and benchmark our products and processes. It has also opened our eyes to other forms of measurement and we have already started sharing data with the Cradle to Cradle assessors to look at materials health, another vital piece of the jigsaw.
“The complexity is gone and that seemingly insurmountable pile of pound signs and zeroes has gone. We can now produce LCAs in EPD format and the verification process with BRE is simple, transparent and at a price accessible to all. This is the wood industry measuring carbon and I lay down the gauntlet to other materials to do the same – it is complicated, but it is also possible – we are doing it.
“So my message today is that LINA is a game changer, it puts the power in industry’s and removes cost hurdles. So today let’s put complex behind us, let’s stop worrying about what and how and start focussing on why and when - the timber industry is open for EPD business!”
Beatrix Richards, head of corporate stewardship – sustainable commodities) at WWF-UK also spoke at the launch at Ecobuild. She says: “Government figures suggest we may need to build a million new houses by 2020. As we seek to ensure that this construction, and indeed the on-going repair and restoration of the existing housing stock, has the lowest possible environmental impact, it is critical that we understand the full life time costs of all the products we use. This applies to everything - cement, bricks, doors, windows etc.
“Tools exist to help architects, builders, suppliers and consumers to understand the true, full costs, from sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, life time use and disposal, so that decisions can be made on the best possible information. Life cycle assessments are one such way of capturing this information and WWF welcomes the British Woodworking Federation’s lead in adopting this approach.”
Further information on Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Product Declarations can be found at: www.bwf.org.uk/toolkit – here readers can view the EPD for Mumford & Wood’s Conservation Casement window.