Sustainability ENews Vol 9 #24 EPDs and HPDs

The Masonry Society


Sustainability E-News

EPDs and HPDs Gaining Ground


December 31, 2017                                    

Volume 9, Number 24




From the Editor

Because New Years Day falls on a Monday this year, many of you will likely be reading this not on the last day of 2017 but on the second day of 2018. So as the new year begins, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on what 2018 may hold - though I don't claim to have a crystal ball!

  • Use of LEED v4 will grow as LEED v4.1 attempts to address some of the shortcomings that have held LEED v4 back, but I do not expect it to achieve the same acceptance that previous versions of LEED have achieved.
  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and Health Product Declarations (HPD) that appeared in LEED v4 credits will continue to gain traction, albeit slowly, even without widespread use of LEED v4. If work on developing a standard for comparable EPDs is successful, look for the demand for EPDs to increase.
  • We know that the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) will be published in 2018 with the ASHRAE Standard 189.1 on High-Performing Buildings as the source of its technical content. USGBC plans to evaluate LEED prerequisites and credits for alignment with the IGCC, however I do not see this happening until the third or fourth quarter of 2018. However, once integrated into LEED, expect to see an increase in the use of the IGCC.
  • Interest in resilience will continue to grow. The focus on resilient community design seen in 2017 will expand to include more interest in resilient building design in 2018.

Of course 2018 will bring much more, and diverse, activity than this short list includes. I hope you will continue to follow us as we cover sustainability and related news the year brings!

Happy New Year!                                            

Christine "Tina" Subasic, PE, LEED AP

NOTE: Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor. Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.




As you know, masonry buildings have a long service life. For older buildings, renovations may be considered. Did you know there are guidelines for achieving deep energy retrofits? Annex 61 and other resources available from the GSA office of Federal High-Performance Buildings provide recommendations that can be used to achieve significant energy savings (over 50% reduction) through energy retrofits of existing public (and other) buildings. Read more in the article below. ~Tina


Deep Energy Retrofits Can - and Should - Be the Norm

60% energy savings. This is how much the deep energy retrofit project at the New Carrollton Federal Building successfully saved.  Saving energy is typically cheaper than generating it, and deep energy retrofits that take advantage of triggers such as planned renovations or end of life for major building equipment can cut energy costs by 50% or more. A deep energy retrofit achieves at least 30% in energy savings and non-energy benefits (such as higher occupant satisfaction rates) versus only 10-20% savings in standard retrofits. Read more.


New Study Shows Drop in Overall Fire Safety Scores


A new study shows that changes to building codes over the past two decades have measurably decreased the fire safety scores of buildings. Project FAIL-SAFE, administered by the National Association of State Fire Marshalls Research & Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation) has released preliminary data showing an overall trend in reductions in passive fire safety features, such as compartmentation, and an increased reliance on active fire safety systems such as alarms and sprinklers. "More data is needed, but the early conclusions indicate an overreliance on sprinklers at the expense of passive fire safety systems, which endangers both the public and the fire service alike," said H. Butch Browning, President of the NASFM Foundation and Louisiana State Fire Marshal. Read the press release here . Find out more about Project FAIL-SAFE here.  


EPDs and HPDs

There has been fair amount of activity recently in the area of making Heath Product Declarations (HPD) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) more widely accessible and more standardized as you can read in the articles shown below. ~Tina


HPD Collaborative to Provide Greater Exposure for Published HPDs

By enabling connected data exchange between the HPD (Health Product Declaration®) Public Repository and Origin, published HPDs will be made available to users of Origin and mindful MATERIALS. Through data exchange tools, manufacturers' HPD information and documentation will be kept current through connected updates, ensuring consistency and data correctness. Origin is a free international cloud-based data hub which enables material data exchange between manufacturers, auditors and others. Read more here.


New Guidance for Creating Product Group Benchmarks to Make EPDs Comparable

This new document provides detailed guidelines, process examples, and tools for creating a Benchmarking Addendum to a PCR, which includes the additional rules needed to create an industry-wide EPD for use as a credible product group benchmark; AND how manufacturers can use it to make comparative claims. For optimal adoption, it is recommended that completing the Benchmarking Addendum become part of any PCR Part B creation process; however, the guidance provides for creating an addendum to any valid PCR according to this article.


New Momentum for EPDs


A host of new government and industry initiatives are boosting the business case for EPD certification.  While there are many companies that have already obtained EPDs for their products, others have remained skeptical as to their value in the marketplace. That could be all about to change, with a host of recent Government (Australian) and industry initiatives providing a significant boost to the business case for certification. For more information, click here.



True Sustainability Takes a Life Cycle Approach


Forget a flimsy green-wash logo and start thinking cradle-to-grave - it is the only way to create a truly sustainable product or service. Read more.


Special Issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology on Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment 

The Journal of Industrial Ecology has published a special issue on Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). The issue presents cutting edge research on LCSA including articles that: 

* Address conceptual challenges of broadening of impacts while maintaining a cohesive, yet comprehensive approach;

* Communicate LCSA results to decision makers applying weighting schemes and dealing with value choices and subjectivity;

* Incorporate technological, economic, and political mechanisms at various levels of analysis through linking or integration of LCA with other types of models;

* Developing appropriate, preferably quantitative and practical, approaches for social-LCA.

Articles in the special issue are freely downloadable for a limited time.


CO2 Reclamation Contest Semi-Finalists Announced


Is there a viable and profitable opportunity to use the concrete production process to reduce carbon emissions? That question has fascinated the industry for more than a decade, and it is intrinsic to the business models of two Canadian startups that are semi-finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA XPRIZE competition to convert CO2 into valuable materials, CarbonCure Technologies and CarbiCrete. Both companies are researching different methods to profit from cutting CO2 emissions in the production process of manufacturing concrete products. Read more .


Toronto Researchers Aim to Reduce Carbon Emissions


More than $2 million in funding has allowed University of Toronto researchers to help the Canadian construction industry reduce carbon emissions on infrastructure projects. "Taking steps to reduce the impacts of greenhouse gases and air pollution on our climate and environment is a key priority in Canada," said Marc Fortin of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada in this article.



For the first time TMS is offering its popular LEED seminar in webinar format. This one-hour webinar provides an overview of LEED v4 and masonry. Check out the link below for more information. ~Tina


An Overview of the Role of Masonry in Sustainable Design and LEED v4

Register now for the this upcoming TMS webinar to be held February 8, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST. Attendees will be introduced to sustainable design and given an overview of the LEED v4 Rating System.  LEED v4 credit categories will be addressed, with particular emphasis on the Materials and Resources credits, and ways masonry products can contribute to sustainable design and LEED. For more information, visit the TMS website


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