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European Model Environmental Product Declarations (Model EPDs)

European Model EPDs demonstrate the environmental credentials of adhesives and sealants in construction

Sustainable development is of great significance in the construction industry. Increasingly, architects and green procurement bodies are demanding products that meet international sustainability standards. The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) 305/2011 of the European Parliament and European Council (check FEICA position on the review of the Construction Products Regulation (EU) No. 305/2011) included the requirement for 'sustainability', and Belgium and France have national legislation requiring Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for construction products with an environmental claim.

From 2016 to 2022, FEICA offered 'FEICA Model Environmental Product Declarations (Model EPDs)', which could be used by construction products manufacturers to prove the environmental impact of their products. Therefore, the choice of adhesive and sealant products available to architects and green procurement bodies was significantly increased.

The expansion of the range of products with Model EPDs gives SMEs improved access to a market that is otherwise available only to some and leads to significant cost and time savings for companies.

As Model EPDs are valid only for a maximum of 6 years, the 2016 versions needed to be updated by 2022. FEICA, IVK, the European Federation for Construction Chemicals (EFCC) and DBC therefore undertook a joint project to revise and extend them, as well as to extend the scope for additional substances and formulations. The European Model EPDs are available to FEICA Direct Company Members (DCMs), Affiliate Company Members (ACMs) and FEICA National Association Members (NAMs). 

The official language for the Model EPDs is English and FEICA only provides English versions of the EPDs.
 

Published EPDs:

  • Products based on POLYURETHANE (PU) or SILANE-modified polymer, group 1 to 4 (4 EPDs)
  • Products based on POLYURETHANE, group 5 to 6 (2 EPDs)
  • Dispersion-based products, group 1 to 4 (4 EPDs)

Planned EPDs:

  • Products based on EPOXY-resin (5 EPDs): In the verification process - publication expected in the summer (2022)
  • SILICONE based products - publication expected in the summer (2022) 
  • Modified mineral MORTARS (3 EPDs): expired - publication expected in the coming months

You can download all European Model EPDs from the table below or from the IBU website (type 'FEICA' under 'Manufacturer'). We will continue to update the Model EPDs as they become available.

Download the Model EPDs

Product Category PCR

(Product Category Rules)

Request guideline
Products based on polyurethane or silane-modified polymer, group 1 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline 
Products based on polyurethane or silane-modified polymer, group 2 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline 
Products based on polyurethane or silane-modified polymer, group 3 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline 
Products based on polyurethane or silane-modified polymer, group 4 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline 
Products based on polyurethane, group 5 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline
Products based on polyurethane, group 6 Construction adhesives and coatings Reaction resin products Request guideline 
Reactive resins based on epoxy resin (5 new EPDs) Construction adhesives and coatings  Reaction resin products expected publication summer 2022
Dispersion-based products, group 1 Construction adhesives and coatings Dispersion adhesives and primers for floor coverings Request guideline 
Dispersion-based products, group 2 Construction adhesives and coatings Dispersion adhesives and primers for floor coverings Request guideline 
Dispersion-based products, group 3 Construction adhesives and coatings Dispersion adhesives and primers for floor coverings Request guideline 
Dispersion-based products, group 4 Construction adhesives and coatings Dispersion adhesives and primers for floor coverings Request guideline 
Silicone-based products (3 new EPDs) Building products Membranes including Liquid applied and kits expected publication summer 2022
Modified mineral mortars, group 1
 
Masonry and related products Mineral factory-made mortar expected publication summer 2022
Modified mineral mortars, group 2
 
Masonry and related products Mineral factory-made mortar expected publication summer 2022
Modified mineral mortars, group 3
 
Masonry and related products Mineral factory-made mortar expected publication summer 2022

 

Major improvements of the updated EPDs:

Substance list
  • All substances are grouped by their chemical structure in only one uniform list and may be used in all EPDs
Single scores
  • The single scores of the substances were calculated by taking into account 14 environmental impact categories
Guideline
  • A guideline (valid for all EPDs) is available describing the use of the EPDs and especially the procedure to calculate the single score of a product; there is also a FAQ section included.
Scope of the EPDs
  • The scope of allowed chemicals of the EPDs of each chemical group only differ with respect to their content of volatile substances (VOCs) and castor oil and -derivatives
  • The application modules of the EPDs of each chemical group are the same
Individualisation
  • There will be the option to individualise the EPD. The exact terms and the procedure will be described in a guideline (still in preparation)

There are several types of EPDs, with the difference based on the way in which the data is assessed:

Standard EPDs

A unique EPD is developed for every individual product. Standard EPDs represent a high burden for the adhesive and sealant industry because of the huge effort it would take to develop and maintain EPDs for the broad and frequently changing product portfolios that typify the adhesive and sealant industry, especially where there are often only small differences chemically between the products.

Average EPDs

An average EPD is calculated for a particular range of products. These are suitable for specific product groups covering well-defined products with similar functions. However, they are not suitable for the adhesive and sealant industry due to the high diversity in the chemistry of products, even within a single application. Only companies that were involved in the development phase and have inputted their data can use the average EPD. Therefore, it does not serve the whole branch.

Model EPDs

These are the most suitable for adhesives and sealants. Rather than covering a particular range of products, they are structured according to chemical composition and cover all products within a certain range of formulations and applications. As the environmental impact of an adhesive or a sealant to a building is comparatively low (<1%), any differentiation between products would not contribute any more meaningful information due to the complexity of the system. 

Model EPDs are developed using a "worst case scenario” approach. Although there is a high workload in the development phase to achieve an accepted and verified system, in the end they may be used by all eligible members of FEICA and can easily and conveniently accommodate new products.

 

The validated Declaration of the core EPD entitles the holder to bear the symbol of the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. It exclusively applies for products produced in Europe and for a period of five years from the date of issue. The core EPD may be used by FEICA members and their members provided it has been proven that the respective product can be represented by this particular EPD.

FEICA has a guideline and a excel based calculation sheet available for FEICA Members. This guideline, together with a template for a declaration of compliance, is available for FEICA members by clicking on the 'Request guideline' link in the above table. 

Model EPDs - Frequently asked questions

What is an EPD and what is their background?

An EPD is a comprehensive report created to internationally agreed standards (e.g. ISO 14025, EN 15804, etc.) which documents the ways in which a product affects the environment throughout its life cycle. Typically an EPD will include information, where relevant, about a product’s impact on global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution, ozone creation and greenhouse gas emissions. In the construction sector, EPDs help architects, designers, and other purchasers to better understand a product’s sustainable credentials and environmental impact. As a result, EPDs allow customers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Many industry sectors and the construction industry in particular are subject to increasing demands to improve and demonstrate the sustainability credentials of their products.

Certification organisations such as the DGNB (the German Sustainable Building Council), BREEAM (the UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), HQE (the French High Environmental Quality certification), and LEED (the United States’ Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) have started to implement sustainability criteria, mostly for buildings, but also defining specific construction product requirements based on life cycle analyses, eco-balances and emissions.

Our industry is faced with growing demands for information about its products to prove they meet the requirements of sustainable construction projects. The demand is increasing even though the impact of a given adhesive or sealant in terms of the raw material and energy consumption related to the building as a whole may be negligible. One way to demonstrate the environmental credentials of a product is through the so-called EPDs.

Although there is a European Standard that is followed in the various EU member states, there is still a lack of harmonisation as regards to the details of implementation of EN 15804, with some member states asking for additional indicators. Therefore the EN 15804 can be seen as the core that is necessary for an EPD in Europe. FEICA provides this core for the European Model EPDs.

Is there a list of products that are certified according to Model EPDs?

There is no list of products that fulfil the requirements of the Model EPD system; the supplier usually provides a self-declaration stating that it has checked that its product is covered by the respective Model EPD.

What must a FEICA member do when receiving a Model EPD? Are there any further steps that need to be considered when using them?

According to the FEICA Model EPD system, the manufacturer is responsible for checking that its formulation fulfils the requirements of the respective guideline provided by FEICA to its members. The FEICA member must verify whether the Model EPD in question really covers its product by checking the guideline against its recipe. It then produces a declaration based on the FEICA template confirming that it has checked that the product is covered by the respective Model EPD.

Do FEICA members simply need to issue a declaration based on the FEICA template as a cover letter for the respective Model EPD?

Yes. Model EPDs allow customers to make more informed purchasing decisions. So FEICA members need to issue a declaration based on the FEICA template as a cover letter for the respective Model EPD. The template for FEICA members indicates that as members, they can use the Model EPDs.

Can the Model EPD declaration, produced by a FEICA member, be used by a third label partner?

The declaration can be handed to third party, but it will bear the signature of the original producing company. The third party cannot publish a similar declaration for the product as they have not checked it themselves (they do not have the guideline or the recipe).

How should a FEICA member provide customers with a reproduction Model EPD showing the product name and company details?

The Model EPD must be accompanied by a self-declaration that a FEICA member (or member of a FEICA NAM) has checked that the formulation (or the product) is covered by the Model EPD. If a customer of one of our members is not a FEICA member and if it does not have the recipe, it cannot produce such a self-declaration. It can however use the self-declaration produced by the FEICA member (or the member of a FEICA NAM).

Does the Model EPD system allow the calculation of single substance scores by the users?

No, it does not. The single scores are part of the guidelines, which are part of the programme operator’s (Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU)) verified EPDs.