An EPD must contain verifiable, accurate and non-misleading environmental information about a product and its use. As mentioned above, the information may be based partially on generic data and not actual data. An EPD is a declaration and not a quality mark. An EPD says nothing about whether a product has a small or large environmental impact and an EPD is also not a guarantee that the product is environmentally friendly. However, it makes it easier for consultants and clients to compare the impact of different products on the environment.
In accordance with EN 15804, an EPD must contain information about the following seven environmental impacts:
1. Global warming (CO2 equivalent)
Also known as 'carbon footprint' and measured in CO2 equivalents.
Global warming is considered the primary factor for climate change.
2. Depletion of the ozone layer (CFC-11 equivalent)
Measured in chlorofluorocarbon-11 equivalents but nitrous oxide and other compounds are also part of the CFC-11 equivalents number. If the ozone layer is depleted, less of the harmful radiation from the sun is absorbed.
3. Acidification (SO2 equivalent)
Measured in sulphur dioxide equivalents (SO2 equivalents).
Acidification is caused by sulphur dioxide emissions to the atmosphere which, for example, increases the acidity of water.
4. Eutrophication (PO4 equivalent)
Measured in phosphate equivalents (PO4 equivalents).
Eutrophication causes algae growth in lakes etc. due to by-products used in agriculture, industry and households. Extensive use of fertiliser results in oxygen depletion, mainly caused by nitrates and phosphates.
5. Photochemical ozone creation (ethanol/ethylene equivalent)
Measured in ethanol/ethylene equivalents.
Photochemical ozone creation is the result of the use of solvents and from vehicle and power station emissions. Ozone causes breathing discomfort and airway diseases in people. Ozone is also harmful to forests and agriculture.
6. Depletion of abiotic (inorganic) resources (Sb equivalent)
Stated in kg Sb equivalents, Sb is an element called antimony or stibium.
Non-renewable resources such as metals, minerals, stone, gravel, soil etc.
7. Depletion of abiotic (inorganic) fossil fuels (MJ)
The unit is MJ, specific/lower calorific value.