The concrete industry has asserted itself as a progressive sustainability advocate. This presentation discusses the opportunity to leverage existing life-cycle assessment (LCA) research and development initiatives through the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). EPDs offer a standardized method to present environmental performance information and are designed specifically as a communication vehicle for ISO-compliant LCAs. EPDs are increasingly relevant in the building and construction sector, with anticipated implementation into LEED 2012 (currently in pilot). The concrete industry is already active in this field: multiple Product Category Rules (PCRs)—which set the guidelines for producing an EPD—are in development and scheduled for release later this year. Capitalizing on these efforts in order to create an effective EPD program requires balancing the need for industry-wide averages with individual producer data. Experiences in other industries, such as copper, insulation, and flooring, can help the concrete industry develop and maintain a successful program, transforming compiled life-cycle inventory data into consistent environmental performance declarations. Implementation approaches for specific concrete products will be highlighted, with a focus on the impact anticipated for the concrete industry and their customers.
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