Last year the IGBC began the process of creating a national database of emissions data of construction materials by launching an initial dataset that provides guidance on the generic average carbon emissions values associated with the production of some of the most commonly used building materials (A1-3 in the lifecycle). This data is intended to provide guidance where specific emissions data is not available for Whole Life Carbon assessments so that calculations are consistent and based on plausible data. The figures were published after commissioning a research report and conducting a public consultation process on the findings in June and July 2021. Click here to download excel of materials already published.
The overall aim is to ensure comparability of LCA ensuring that, in the absence of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), standard default figures are used by all for common materials. It is also intended to stimulate the market to provide more accurate figures through verified EPD either for specific products or for sectors.
This year, with funding from the #BuildingLife project, we have been able to commission Circular Ecology consultants to deliver research into carbon impacts of more common construction products (A1-3), and the other stages of a building lifecycle (A4, A5, C1-4). Circular Ecology have a wealth of experience in this type of work, being the producers of the well used and referenced ICE database. The research for IGBC takes a similar approach but takes account of products’ availability and use in the Irish market wherever possible to find a weighted average for A1-3 in the national market rather than globally, and uses Ireland specific assumptions on distances (A4) and likely disposal pathways (C1-4) based on data from the EPA and EPD Ireland Product Category Rules, and consistent on-site wastage estimates from WRAP (A5), making the results more specific to Ireland.
At the building level these stages are generally less significant than A1-3 and B6 but it is still important that they are included fairly and consistently so designs can be compared based on the same assumptions. At an industry level they are large enough to make an impact and should therefore be disclosed. We will incorporate them into our WLC assessment methodology as defaults where better data does not exist in order to give us consistent, fair results. Click here to read the research. See Appendix A on p.21 for table of calculations for all materials and stages.
Below are links to the PDF assessments of each building product.
The aim of this consultation process is to gather stakeholder feedback on the research carried out, based on the questions in this form. We ask interested parties to read the research above and follow the links in the table below for all products or the ones in which they have a specific interest and send any comments back to us at email@example.com using this form.
Each product type has its own PDF explaining the background research and data sources that have gone into determining a generic national average figure as well as that figure being displayed at the bottom of the page:
|Insulations||Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Insulation|
|Polyisocyanurate (PIR) Insulation|
|Mineral Wool Insulation|
|Hemp fibre insulation|
|Other concrete products||Concrete roof tiles|
|Slate & stone||Slate|
|Windows and glazed doors||PVC (Double Glazed)|
|PVC (Triple Glazed)|
|Timber (Double Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Timber (Triple Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Aluminium (Double Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Aluminium (Triple Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Timber Alu (Double Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Timber Alu (Triple Glazed) TO FOLLOW|
|Walls||Cement fibre board|
|Metal stud wall|
|Timber stud wall|
|Ceilings and floors||Suspended ceiling (metal) TO FOLLOW|
|Suspended ceiling (other/timber)|
|Membranes||Damp proof membrane (DPM) TO FOLLOW|
|Vapour permeable sheet|
|Recycled Copper sheeting TO FOLLOW|
|PVC Rainwater goods|
#BuildingLife is a project led in Ireland by the Irish Green Building Council. The initiative aims to achieve the mix of privasector action and public policy necessary to tackle the whole-life impact of buildings. Learn more here.