Brussels - PU Europe announced 20 May that it has developed a generic environmental product declaration for polyurethane insulation boards, with the aim of increasing transparency in comparing construction products.
The association, whose purpose is to promote awareness of the benefits of rigid PU foam products, points out that an environmental product declaration (EPD) is a communication tool that provides quantified information on the potential environmental impacts of a product or process. An EPD is based on information from a life cycle assessment (LCA) over its entire lifetime or a part of it.
An important advantage of using EPDs is the possibility of adding LCA-based information in the supply chain. This feature makes EPDs particularly valuable for the building sector, says PUEurope, because the final building is based on a large number of materials, construction products, semi-manufactured products and processes.
The EPD for PU was established through a third-party verified system based on the future CEN standard prEN 15804 and covers the cradle-to-gate phase of the product, the association points out.
Shpresa Kotaji (Huntsman Polyurethanes and PU Europe Life Cycle Assessment expert) comments that, "With the publication of our EPD, we do not only respond to an increasing market need, we also want to pro-actively increase market transparency and facilitate sustainable material choices at the building level."
It is important to realise that EPDs for construction products cannot be compared simply on the basis of weight. Comparisons can only be performed at the level of the building, in order to establish how much of a product is needed to meet certain design requirements and how material choices affect the overall building design in terms of ancillary materials, component weight and thickness, building footprint etc.
PU Europe says the polyurethanes industry will further step up its efforts to optimise production technologies and processes. "We can expect these efforts to lead to significant improvements in the overall environmental balance of PU insulation products over the next few years," Kotaji concluded.
The EPD for PU is available at www.pu-europe.eu