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Article: Automated EPD Creation and its benefits

 

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

5.10.2023

The current process for EPDs is complex and expensive

Many manufacturers, that desire to showcase their environmental impact consider doing so with EPDs. Without proper resources and expertise, the process of creating an EPD is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. The reason is that EPDs are subject to many regulations and norms, demanding in-house expertise or hiring external consultants, who create the EPDs.

However, the first option takes (valuable) time and resources before perfecting the EPD creation process, and the second one is expensive and intransparent. The game-changing solution is EPD automation.

Automation of EPD processes saves time and money

The creation of an EPD consists of the following key steps:

  1. Coordination → deciding whether to do EPD creation in-house or outsource it
  2. Collection of relevant data → gathering recipe, supplier and energy data from systems
  3. Lifecycle assessment → creating the lifecycle assessment according to relevant norms
  4. Writing the background report & EPD → writing 30-60 pages explaining the process
  5. Verification by a third party → having a third party confirm the calculations and assumptions
  6. Publication and Distribution → sharing the EPD every time somebody asks for it

Automating the EPD creation involves using software to handle data collection and conduct lifecycle assessments, effectively reducing the need for extensive manual verification. Depending on the level of automation, verification can be completely avoided or significantly shortened.

Automating the EPD creation means that…

  • the data collection and the lifecycle assessment is done by software
  • the verification step is (often) eliminated after verifying the EPD software
  • your primary interaction is with the software itself, eliminating the need to initially engage with a consultant, wait for their response, and then repeat the process with an EPD verification service
  • data can be used for product development, sales and improvement tracking

This results in a substantial reduction in both time and cost when it comes to producing and publishing validated EPDs. The process is transparent and future-proof.

What is pre-verification

For an Environmental Product Declaration to be valid it has to be verified by a third party, to ensure its credibility and correctness.

Pre-verification in the context of an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) tool entails a thorough testing process to ensure the tool’s data sources, methodologies, and the results it generates comply with current standards. This way the EPD software is confirmed to have output that conforms with all norms and standards EPDs fall under.

There are two ways of verifying EPD software:

  • LCA Tool (pre-verification): The input stays more flexible but the output still requires a shortened verification step. This is well-suited, if software systems for data input are rather heterogeneous (so there is no unified data input format), products differ strongly from each other, or rather small amounts of EPDs are needed.
  • EPD Tool (full verification): After an initial setup, process steps, material categories and background database matches are fixed. The data input process needs to be repeatable. Then the software can be fully verified outputting verified EPDs without delay.

Automated EPD software is the future

Looking ahead, the demand for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) is expected to continue rising. However, the current manual and costly process for creating EPDs lacks transparency and efficiency.

As a result, the demand for EPD tools is also on the rise, as they simplify the complex process and reduce costs. Therefore, integrating automated EPD software solutions into your workflow rather sooner than later gives you a competitive advantage.

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