The Irish Green Building Council launched today a new programme to measure the carbon footprint of construction products.
The Environmental Product Declaration Ireland Programme (EPD Ireland) allows manufacturers to publish independently verified information about the environmental footprint of their products.
Medite Smartply, Munster Joinery and Quinn Building Products are the first Irish manufacturers to develop EPD through the programme. They received their EPD certificates at the IGBC first sustainable building materials conference, Re-Source 2018.
Speaking at the event CEO of the Irish Green Building Council Pat Barry said: “Half a million homes must be built by 2040. They will further blow our carbon budget if we don’t measure and reduce the carbon embodied in their construction. We must start focusing on the environmental impact of the products used to build our homes, offices and infrastructure”.
“Due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, increasing sales of our product in Ireland is one of our key priorities. Disclosing information on the carbon footprint of our products gives us a more competitive offering” Jason Quinn of Quinn Building Products told.
Reacting to this comment, Barry said: “I am delighted to see Irish companies taking leadership in producing data on the environmental impacts of their products. It is critical for Irish manufacturers to remain globally competitive. Assessing the full carbon footprint of a building is now mandatory to obtain building permits for offices and dwellings in the Netherlands. In France, you can no longer make environmental claims about a product unless you first produce an EPD”.
David Murray of Medite Smartply added: “Gone are the days of specifying building products based on their perceived sustainability from ‘green’, ‘eco’ or ‘healthy’ claims made in product flyers or data sheets. Irish specifiers (rightly) demand more as the trend towards recognised sustainability programmes such as LEED, BREEAM and WELL continue to gain momentum”.
Echoing this view, Sean Hogan of RKD Architects said: “To meet the criteria of green building certifications such as LEED, we now ensure at least 20 building products with Environmental Product Declarations are specified and installed on projects”.
“Enterprise Ireland are now supporting Irish manufacturers to develop Environmental Product Declarations. These are required by specifiers across Europe where full environmental foot printing of buildings is now becoming mainstream. More Irish producers need to have them” Stephen Hughes of Enterprise Ireland told.
The Irish Green Building Council has produced a short guide to help Irish manufacturers in that process. The “Towards a circular economy in construction” report includes case studies from 10 Irish based companies, including Ecocem, Google, Cundall and RKD Architects.
EPD Ireland programme was developed with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The report can be downloaded here.