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GBE > Encyclopaedia > Files > CPD > Topics > G#38719


GBE CPD Metadata

  • File Name: GBE CPD Product Evaluation
  • GBE CPD LCA EPD Product Evaluation 9H11 091020 PDF
  • GBE CPD LCA EPD S92of138 091020 PDF
  • File Type: PDF
  • File Size:
    • PDF Handout: 2 mb
    • PDF Show: 4 mb
  • Number of Slides/Pages:
    • PDF Handout: 11 Pages
    • PDF Show: 92 Slides of 138
    • PPTX Show: 138 Slides
  • Created for: Architects CPD/HTA 09/10/2020
  • Presented to: HTA Architects During Covid-19
  • Author: BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy ONC HNC Construction BSc Dip Architecture (Hons+Dist)
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2006 – 2020
  • Created: 2006
  • Revision: Rev 1
  • Updated: 09/10/2020
  • Previously published on Scribd: 06/08/2011
  • Scribd reads: 392 @06/01/2013
  • Scope: LCA, EPD, Screening, GBC Calculator: EE EC & SC, LCA
  • Tags: CPD, Lecture, EPD, LCA, EE EC & SC, Screening, Green Building Calculator, GBC, GBL
  • ProductSets: Methods of Materials, Products, Elements, Buildings Evaluation
  • UserGroups: Students, Architects, Assistants, Technicians, Structural Engineers, Constructors, Environmental Assessors,

GBE CPD Content

(without images; See the slide show for the pictures)

LCA EPD use & application

  • Product Evaluation LCA EPD, Product Screening, GBC Calculator
    GBE CPD for HTA 09/10/20

Product Evaluation

  • LCA EPD, how to use them & Alternatives
  • GBE CPD for HTA 09/10/20

This Presentation on GBE:

  • Find this file on GBE website at:
  • (this page)
  • Go there for:
  • –the latest update
  • –versions presented to different audiences
  • –the whole presentation, all of the hidden slides
  • –other file formats:
  • Handout, Show, PDF, (PPTX in the shop)
  • –Links to other related GBE CPD and related GBE content

Are you Green or Violet?

  • Definitions: Green
  • Otherwise: Environmental
  • For most in Business: Sustainable
  • –So they can compromise for profits
  • For many they revert to energy efficiency
  • –Others think its renewable energy and eco-bling
  • many have their own definition
  • many are unsure of its meaning
  • –Environmental
  • –Economic
  • –Socially responsible
  • –Natural Resources
  • –Responsible Sourcing
  • –Political: Green Party


  • ‘Violet’ chosen as it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from ‘Green’
  • Not far from violent and violate
  • Others prefer Green-Brown,
    Green-Red, Green-Black,
  • Not Purple

‘Violet’ Materials

  • ‘Violet’ meaning:
  • ‘any material, construction product, construction method or building
  • unfriendly to humans or the environment or
  • whose performance diminishes in use or over time’

‘Violet’ Industry

  • Clients/employers, developers, designers, Quantity Surveyors, contractors, manufacturers, applicators/installers
  • anyone that does not care about the environment
  • or anyone that does not act on its behalf
  • Virtually the whole industry
  • But its changing
  • Too slowly

Are you Green or Violet?

  • I am a shrinking Violet


  • Green
  • Greenies: the people that do Green
  • Light or Dark Green or Greenies
  • Greenie Points: Brownie Points + Green (all positive)
  • Violet: Opposite of Green
  • Violets: the people that don’t do Green
  • Light or Dark Violet or Violets
  • Whitewash: cover-ups telling porkies
  • Greenwash: telling green porkies


  • But Corporate Greenwash prevails
  • Large PV arrays are saying we spend a lot on gestures not a lot on actions
  • Check what else they are doing

Violet Materials

  • Non-renewable, finite
  • –Fossil derivatives, fuel,
  • –Petrochemical, chemicals, synthetics:
  • Paints
  • Plastics
  • Unsustainable
  • –Carbon based: e.g. Fuel
  • –Release Carbon in manufacture or use: e.g. Cement
  • High embodied energy: e.g.
  • –Metals: Aluminium
  • –Plastics
  • –Cement
  • Hazardous materials and hazardous waste:
  • –Wet, sticky , gooey or flows:
  • resins, paints, sealants, chemicals,
  • –Fine particulate: e.g. cement, asbestos, ceramic fibre
  • –Corrosive, acidic, alkali,
  • Ozone depleting & Global Warming
  • –Foamed plastics HFCs HFAs

Green: Environmentally Sustainable Materials

  • Renewable: timber,
  • Rapidly renewable: Plant based materials
  • Abundant: Site subsoil, rocks, sand, gravel,
  • Recycled & Recyclable:
  • –post consumer content,
  • Reclaimed & Reused: on site materials, timber not chipboard
  • Carbon already out there:
  • –reclaimed bricks, slates, stone
  • Carbon sequestration: Carbon negative:
  • –Plant and timber based
  • Low embodied energy: Plant based
  • Local: low transport miles: low transport emissions
  • Social Sustainable Materials
  • Socially responsible: Fairtrade equivalents
  • Pay the right price v plunder the world
  • Local: materials, crafts, companies, tradesmen
  • v
  • Cheap labour abroad where nobody sees or cares

Healthy Materials

  • Low VOC?: but not loads of other chemicals to achieve it
  • No hazardous materials in application and use
  • No hazardous waste
  • Low allergy
  • Low to Zero toxicity
  • Indoor air quality (ignored by BRE GG)

Economic Sustainable Materials

  • Long term economic to maintain
  • Long term economic to run
  • Reclaimable, reusable and resalable
  • v
  • Short term cheap to build
  • Expensive to run
  • Sometimes risky in use

General claims made in Greenwash

  • Sustainable
  • Environment Friendly
  • Eco-friendly
  • Recycleable
  • Recycled
  • Managed Forest
  • CFC free
  • HCFC free
  • ZODP
  • Water based
  • Solvent free
  • Low VOC
  • Energy saving

How materials were chosen

  • Alternative to LCA & EPD
  • GBE CPD for HTA 09/10/20

How materials were chosen

  • Historically: Local (site) materials, hand made, self build, self maintain, local labour,
  • Traditional:
  • –Tried and tested, failed and forgotten, succeeds and adopted, long life, durable,
  • –Earth, Clay, Brick, Stone, slate, Lime,
  • –Timber and straw
  • sometimes combustible until Fire of London,
  • Pre 1919: solid, brick or stone, lime mortar and plaster, moisture permeable, flexible, air leaky to feed open fires
  • Post 1919:
  • –Ventilated cavity construction, Moisture resistant, Brick or slate DPC,
  • –Increasing cement content, stronger rigid construction, cavity uninsulated

How materials were chosen

  • Date?: Merchantable Quality, Fit for Purpose
  • 1956: Or Similar case law (weak words risk building competency)
  • 1957: Treaty of Rome (not much influence until 1992 onwards)
  • 1960s : Asbestos health risk
  • 1970s: Oil Crisis added insulation to buildings (1980s in London)
  • Price & thinness driven: mass production efficiency, chemistry intense, environmentally naïve, combustible
  • 1980’s Ozone Holes identified, ODP no longer permitted

–(but no outright ban)

  • Following the Rules Competently:

–BRAD, BS & CP, BSI Kitemarked & BRE Guidance and PII,

  • Durability: Component Life Manuals,
  • Breaking the Rules Competently:

–BBA Agrément Certified (Price & Innovation driven)

  • How materials were chosen
  • Client Brief, Developer Profits, User Needs

–v Architect’s aspiration

  • Design & Build (reality B&D: Build then re-design re-specify)

–Contractor specifiers, priority: cheap, result: Performance Gap)

  • Procurement Methods:

–Faster faster faster


–Chemistry intense solution to truncate conditioning and curing times

–Collateral Warranties

–PFI PPP: BOOT 25 years

  • 25 year guarantees (warranty with premiums to pay)
  • Post 1992: BRAD, Reg. 7, CPD/CPR, CEN, EuroCodes, Agrément, ETA European Technical Assessment, CE mark, or equivalent, EU Procurement Rules, 2nd Edition

How materials are chosen

  • Recently (consciously, otherwise or not at all)

–Local Climate >

–Appropriate Elemental Assembly >

–Functional Component >

–Application Position >

–Vapour open/closed > (Historic fabric is a spectrum)

–Material Screening >

–Product Selection >

–Cost consideration

  • Thermal mass,

–de-materialisation, No Suspended ceilings

–fair faced concrete soffits, acoustic issues?

–resin bound, sealed, finished

–Metal soffits do not work for thermal mass

  • How materials are chosen?
  • Health and Safety:

–mostly ignored, until REACH which has teeth, but nobody is biting


–Green Lists & Guides

  • BRE Green

–BREEAM > Mat 1 > BRE GGtS or EPD, EP, GreenBookLive,

–> then the ‘Recently’ above?

  • Health and Wellness:

–Sick-building syndrome, IAQ, Off-gassing, Chemistry content, VOCs,

–materials choices: Well wash?

  • Biophilia, VOC Test evidence, EPD, Ska Good Practice measures
  • Post Grenfell: Non-combustible & Insurers discretion
  • Housing Crisis:

–MMC, OSC, Lightweight, thinness, overheating, Decrement Delay, Thermal mass

  • Climate Emergency Behaviour Change campaigns

–Carbon Dioxide, Embodied Carbon, In use carbon, data from LCA & EPD

–Sequestered Carbon, Bio-based materials and constructions

–Earth based construction (Interreg: CobBauge; Tom Woolley Books

  • Post 2020: Brexit (no more EU rules!) Covid (Anti-bacterial finishes?)
  • Must try harder
  • Much of the current legislation is simply a stop-gap solution
  • BRE
  • “Being less bad is not good”
  • William McDonough
  • We need step-changes
  • We need rapid changes in behaviour
  • We need good easy to use guidance
  • We need to have confidence in it

–to be able to trust it

  • It needs to facilitate change

–And not to discourage

  • It needs to look at materials first

–and than look at them in the context of construction

  • Competent construction assemblies
  • that we may be unfamiliar with
  • To give us confidence to go there
  • GBE Position
  • Technician & Architect by training & Specifier:

– 45 years experience

  • Serving Architects & Specifiers
  • Look at environmental issues as if Architects & Specifiers serving clients
  • 20 years of dedicated environmental specialism
  • Aware of GreenWash, WellWash and ask more detailed questions
  • LCA specialist in our team
  • CAPEM LCA & EPD Interreg Funded project under our belt
  • Architect’s Basic needs:
  • Basic Product Information

–Intended purpose, Advantages/Disadvantages, properties

  • Right or wrong for project to add to shortlist
  • Avoidance of Liability

–Competent construction assemblies

  • All the parts

–In the right order

  • Complying with:

–Building & Environmental Regulations

–Code of Practice

–Manufacturer’s recommendations and requirements

–BBA Certificate requirements

–Industry Best Practice

  • Architect’s basic wants
  • Application Specification

–For contract documents

  • CAD files of assemblies or products
  • Eco-System/Label with quick overview
  • Positive attributes taken into account
  • Not just least-negative impacts
  • Results compare well with gut instinct
  • Confidence in the system/label
  • Eco scores for materials/products

–Enable unique elemental assembly and building scores

  • Do your own calculations instantly
  • If interested in more:
  • Access to the data source
  • Comprehensive declaration of content of substances

–(not like MSDS)

  • LCA Life Cycle Assessment


  • EPD Environmental Product Declaration

–Public Declaration

–(until associations prevent it)

  • Ability to interpolate between results

–Unlike BRE Green Guide to Specification

  • GBE Product Pages
  • List products in similar categories and applications together
  • Each gets is own Product Page
  • It presents information about the product useful to designers

–collected by GBE

  • Properties are listed
  • Environmental Characteristics are listed
  • Designer’s and Specifier’s one stop shop
  • TP Materials & Products Screening & Scoring

Buildings > Elements > Materials diagram

Deconstruction & Reconstruction

  • GBE consider the contribution of each individual part
  • Just like any specifier does
  • GBE do not ignore any part of the whole
  • GBE look at all issues and tries to find greener products for every part
  • If you can make an environmental choice in every part, why wouldn’t you?
  • GBE then looks at them in elemental assemblies & then in buildings
  • GBE aims to promote competent assemblies and avoid compromising materials within their assembly

Traffic Light Systems

  • When you put all the issues on a traffic light system it’s actually very useful in order to make a decision

–BDP have done something similar for interior design products 2006

–Ska (Elina Grigoriou) uses a screening system for office fit-outs which include: does it have an EPD?

–OneEcoHome (2 ladies) website had one but the site and shop is closed 2008, until better times perhaps.

–Betternest (Edith Colomba) were developing a sustainability easy screening system for refurbishment, finding ways to make it lightweight to use.

Top Trumps

  • Top Trumps
  • A card game where the players choose between characteristics hoping to find one that is higher scoring than their opponent
  • The same game that manufacturers play in advertising

–Promoting only one characteristic over all others (thinness of insulation, ignoring fire, micro-plastics)

  • LCA & low price is also used by D&B Contractors to choose products,

–with little consideration for other characteristics

–BRE Green Guide C > A rated PVC Windows

–High recycling in PVC but very little into windows

  • Level Playing Field?
  • LCA provides an opportunity for comparison of all materials on an equal basis
  • LCA and EPD are done for any ingredient, material, product
  • Creating a level playing field
  • But only if all materials are processed and included
  • And only if all are compared on an equal basis
  • Its unfair to only have one team on the pitch
  • If one team is missing the other team look good on their own
  • BRE Green Guide to Violet Specification = one team

GBE Screening

  • Alternative to LCA & EPD
  • GBE CPD for HTA 09/10/20

GBE Screening

  • GBE will consider all products for screening
  • Judging strengths and weaknesses
  • This will highlight areas of potential development and improvement
  • GBE only includes them in GBE Product Pages if they are good enough

–In GBE’s opinion based on screening scores against many issues

Screening Objectives

  • Specifiers need to select products for conformance with performance requirements of the element or a project before engaging with LCAs
  • Don’t forget the bigger picture and project strategies to consider first

–e.g. Local sourcing, Recyclability, Ease of disassembly,

  • GBE use a screening system to find appropriate products or materials

–At the same time filter out violet products.

Screening Systems v LCA

  • GBE adopts its own Screening System for material assessment using traffic light system that includes:

–does it have an LCA and EPD?

  • Screening might be ‘crude’ by LCA standards but it is important to have the parameters that really matter in order to make sensible choices,
  • Screening should not be lost, even in presence of reliable and strong LCA data.
  • Screening avoids the need for LCA
  • Screening out products with bad ingredients or having bad performance or which are unhealthy to anybody in its life cycles
  • The short-listed products will be good
  • The LCA of the short-listed products will be good
  • Did you need to do the LCA at all?

Screening Criteria:

  • 57 published criteria on GreenSpec
  • >400 criteria at GBE

–+ve Positives as well as –ve Negatives

  • Many criteria inside and outside of LCA

–LCA is all about the negatives

  • Is the criteria relevant?
  • Does material/product engage with the criteria?
  • Screening Criteria: Responsive
  • GBE Screening Criteria list grows all the time
  • Every time GBE assess something new
  • GBE becomes aware of issues or campaigns
  • GBE works out how to apply them
  • GBE adds them
  • GBE can act immediately
  • Available to all existing Screenings
  • Screening Issues: Life cycle stages
  • Production:

–Raw materials, Recycled materials, Bi-product, Co-product

–Primary Energy



  • Utilisation:

–Construction, Installation, Use, Cleaning, Maintenance

  • Renewal:




  • End of Life:

–Reuse/Reconstruction, Recycling


  • Nutrient/Composting
  • Energy: Incineration, Heat
  • Energy: AnD/AD
  • Materials


Screening Issues: Scope

  • Manufacturer
  • Materials/Product
  • Systems & Services
  • Elemental Assemblies
  • Buildings
  • Site/Landscape
  • Infrastructure
  • Development/Redevelopment/Change of Use
  • Occupation
  • Deconstruction/Reuse/Disposal

Screening Issues: Sub groups

  • Air Impacts:

–Indoor, Local, Global

  • Water impacts:

–Ground water, Surface water, Water courses,

–Potable water

  • Soil Impacts:

–On Site, Off site, Global

  • Landscape Issues:

–Forestry & Plantation, Mining, Landfill,

  • Landscape:

–Soft, Hard & Wet

  • Biodiversity, Endangered species, Habitat

–Flora and Faun

  • Screening Issues: Sub groups
  • Infrastructure
  • Energy Consumption:

–Manufacture, Construction, In use

  • Transportation
  • Packaging
  • Refuse/Waste:

–Design, On site, Off site/Waste Transfer station, Landfill site

  • Trouble Risk
  • Health Risk & Stress


  • Screening Issues: Sub groups
  • Society
  • Economy
  • Sustainability

–Abundance, Reduce, Renewable ingredients, Reusable, Recycled content, Recyclable, Recoverable,

  • Competence
  • Application
  • Maintainable
  • Company

Assessment Hierarchy

  • GA = Generic Application
  • Window
  • SMA = Specific Material Application
  • Plastic, timber, composite
  • MPS = Manufacturer Product Specific
  • Velfac: SuperCompo, location
  • PDS = Project Design Specific
  • Design, resourcefulness, specification
  • SS = Site Specific

–SWMP, waste, off-cuts, segregation, reuse

Screening Opportunities

  • Possible to score and compare different flooring types generically:

–Wooden floor boards


–Flexible Sheet flooring

–PVC v Linoleum

  • Score variations:

–Sheet v tiles

  • Compare manufacturers & products
  • Consider the designers input
  • Consider the site issues
  • Screening other issues
  • Sustainability is broader than Environmental:

–Social issue

  • 3rd Sector employment,
  • employment practices
  • CSR activity

–Economic issues

  • Supporting local economy
  • All can be taken into account in

–Screening systems but not in LCAs

  • GBE screening includes these types of issues too

–But EN 15804 has ambitions

Scoring system:

  • >400 issues currently addressed at GBE
  • Does the material engage with the issue?
  • Yes = 1, No = 0; total up score
  • Is the issue applicable to the material?
  • Applicable = 1, Not = 0; total up score
  • Divide Engagement score by Applicable score
  • Most score will be from 0 to 1

–(a fraction of 1)

  • Exceptional companies and exceptional products can score above 1
  • This helps to find and highlight the best
  • Scoring System: Refinement

Scoring in assessment Hierarchy

  • Applicable, To be determined, Not Applicable
  • Positive = 1, Neutral = 0, Negative = -1
  • From Site = 6 from World = 0
  • Good issue: High = 1, Low = 0
  • Bad issue: High = -1, Low = 1
  • Code for Sustainable Homes:
  • Code 1 = -3, Code 4 = 0, Code 6 = +2

Screening: Scoring

  • Dark green, light green avoid violet
  • 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0

Screening scoring options

  • Types of screening/scoring can be carried out in stages:

–Generic Application:

–E.g. window

  • Particular material in same application

–E.g. PVC window v composite window

  • Manufacturer & Product specific

–Velfac, EcoPlus

  • Project specific variations

–Specification, Design efficiencies, SWMP, transport

Screening advantages:

  • Easy: Yes = 1/No = 0
  • Progressive Assessment Hierarchy

–Default scores established

–Product and Project scores to add

  • No experts needed

–Architects can do this

  • Low expense (no LCA fees)
  • Bespoke assemblies possible:

–By the architect

  • Whole buildings possible:

–By the architect

–An possibly another GBC Module

  • Less More is More,
    does More = Less?
  • More insulation is better for buildings in use, running costs
  • LCA says more insulation is worse
  • Screening gives credit where credit is dew
  • Scoring can enhance this
  • Code 1 = -3, Code 4 = 0, Code 6 = +2

Screening time

  • 1 day total
  • Update/refine criteria: 1 hour
  • Application scoring: >1 hour
  • Material in application scoring: 1 hour

–More than 1 for comparison: +1 hour each

  • Manufacturer & Product: <1 hour

–if known, or research literature/website/Rep.

  • Project specific issues: <1 hour

–By Architect/specifier (or by GBE with them)

  • Screening costs
  • To manufacturer

–£350.00 per product

–If factory visit required

  • +fares +accommodation +time?
  • Multiple products of same materials

–Much faster, big discounts

  • Annually

–Review additional screening issues

–Since last screening

–Review any product changes since last year

  • I hour £35 to 1 day £350 +VAT

Screening: Costs

  • Yes we take money for doing work
  • Just like any LCA service does
  • But we do a screening and charge accordingly
  • Screening costs £350
  • LCAs cost £7000-£60,000
  • Who does not charge for their service?


  • GBE does not normally do weightings

–but it could be added to the scoring system

  • This brings into play human judgement
  • This forces you to committee thinking

–If you have the wrong mix of committee members the outcomes can be off balance:

–a strong chairman

–Too many manufacturer interests in BAU

  • e.g. BSI Technical Committees & BS 0 standard
  • LCA committees?
  • Project Weightings
  • We feel that having a committee at the LCA organisation decide your priorities seems a little strange
  • Your client may be an:

–asthmatic family

  • Priority is low allergy materials

–Energy intensive manufacturer

  • Priority is energy efficiency or carbon reduction
  • Screenings in the Assessment
  • Hierarchy, at project level
  • engage with client requirements


  • Alternative to LCA & EPD
  • GBE CPD for HTA 09/10/20

Screening: Scoring

  • Dark green, light green avoid violet

LCA Life Cycle Assessment

  • Having gone through a screening process you end up with a shortlist
  • Then you can compare the results of LCA of your choice(s) to pick the one from a shortlist
  • For this reason GBE and 10 organisations in EU (NWE) developed a simplified LCA to support our offering.
  • CAP’EM
  • Each Project Partner offers LCA
  • LCA Strength/Weaknesses

LCAs are good in concept

–Good solid number crunching

–but done wrong (with bias or inconsistency) OR

–buried under weighting systems OR

–missing the best (Greenest) products

  • = no improvements
  • = business as usual,
  • and a barrier to trade

–for those not in the club

  • More on this later…..

LCA limitations

  • LCA studies and scores negative impacts of manufacture, use and disposal of materials and products
  • LCA does not look at positives impacts of manufacture use and reuse of materials since there are very few in normal build
  • LCA & Carbon Sequestration
  • LCA does not normally look at carbon sequestration during the growing stage
  • LCA of Bio-based products should have the benefit of Carbon Sequestration in the assessments
  • PAS 2050 has guidance on its inclusion
  • LCA with carbon sequestration will give well rounded results
  • LCA Green or Violet?
  • LCA can find the greenest of the green materials
  • LCA can help to find the least violet
  • If Green materials are missing

–LCA finds the least violet of the violets

–Users might assume they are greenest

–Especially if the Cover says so

  • If the Greens are present?
  • LCA will sort the greens from the violet

Beyond LCA

  • Impacts also include the Building process itself:

–construction, maintenance, refurbishment, etc.

  • This is beginning to be considered by LCA practitioners
  • EN 15804 includes many life stages
  • EN 15804:2012
  • Less bad is not good enough
  • Design is a constructive process
  • Designers need info on good materials
  • Designers are looking for positive outcomes
  • They can and do engage in positive environmental design
  • They want credits for positive design
  • Not just credits for less bad materials
  • LCA alone cannot deliver this
  • Using LCA alone
  • will result in decisions akin to laying a crazy paving play field because it was the cheapest one in a catalogue
  • It’s obviously the wrong catalogue
  • our children want on play on a lawn.
  • There are positive materials
  • But under LCA as they are today
  • these positive materials often look bad

–or less bad than other materials

  • E.g. Taking Carbon sequestration into account
  • Materials can be:

–Low Carbon

–Carbon neutral

–Carbon negative

  • But LCA will not normally show this
  • EPD Environmental Product Declaration
  • An EPD is a statement of facts

–About the product or material,

–about its manufacturing processes

–other issues during the period of the assessment,

  • the company pays for the assessment to be carried out by an LCA/EPD specialist.
  • All EPD methodology should ideally be consistent and comparable but often are not,
  • There are many variables including:
  • Product Category Rules, Declared Unit, System Boundaries, etc.

EPD Environmental Product Declaration

  • EPD is the outcome of an LCA
  • EPD is a declaration of negative environmental impacts in the creation of a product or a material;
  • EPD is the summing up of the negative impacts of all the processes from extraction to packaging and is often but not always based on Cradle to Gate.
  • Factory Gate: Excluding Transport emissions, construction, use and disposal emissions

Limitations of an EPD

  • EPD is not:

–a badge of honour,

–a green label,

–certificate of compliance

–an endorsement

  • Having an EPD should not be a criteria for acceptance,

–as in Ska

–only a means for comparison,

–however the content may not be comparable

–And violet manufactures associations do not want EPD to be used for comparison

LCA & EPD Stakeholders

  • Include Manufacturer’s Associations/Federations
  • many are happy to continue with BAU
  • They are considered or are powerful in steering committees
  • They do not want EPD to be Declared or Published
  • They do not want LCA EPD to be used for comparison
  • They have ensured any materials is considered at building level
  • not at component so useless for specifiers
  • nor element level (as BRE’s GGtS)

PEF Product Environmental Footprinting v LCA EPD

  • EC European Commission started the PEF process
  • LCA had been railroaded by stakeholders
  • Wanted product by product comparison to be possible
  • PEF stakeholders railroaded PEF towards LCA methods
  • To avoid 2 parallel systems costing them more
  • Making PEF as unhelpful as LCA EPD

EPD & Marginal Analysis

  • An EPC might raise awareness

–manufacturer may use its results to help them identify problem ingredients

–find substitution materials to improve the product

  • Marginal Analysis shows which ingredient have the greatest share of the impacts
  • Might include packaging too
  • Replacing that ingredient can significantly the Impacts
  • The improved product will need a new EPD.
  • Moving Targets
  • LCAs by different organisation, or with differing Product Category Rules, System Boundaries, Cradle to *, result in incomparable LCA results.
  • Compliance with ISO 14025 does not reduce the variability.
  • CEN TC 350 aimed to standardise LCA

–Relate to CE marking & Essential Requirements

  • EU Consumer Council challenged TC 350 not to favour manufacturers and to engage with human and societal issues or they would tell consumers to ignore LCA

–CEN TC 350 was being revised

–CEN TC 351 is engaging with issues of health

–CEN TC 350 should embrace CEN TC 351 by now

  • All LCA will have to monitor CEN TCs and update at each revision
  • Manufactures LCAs need updating at great expense
  • Consumers than have to check the date of the LCA and if they include all the latest revisions

EPDs could be brilliant

  • they could put all the info you want to compare in one place
  • without any weightings, etc.
  • but due to their infancy there was a lack of prescribed method of assessment and presentation

EN 15804

  • EN 15804:2012 provided a level playing field

–And a table of outputs that many are now familiar with

  • It has voluntary and mandatory requirements
  • Provided a level of consistency and inconsistency

–Some National Schemes also ask for additional information

–Inconsistency creeps back in.

  • Latest thinking is aligning with PEF

–Including impacts for any product (outside of Construction)

–Many impact categories so the table becomes unwieldy

–Many impact categories that are not regarded as robust enough

  • Some are saying they will add disclaimers in their EPDs
  • Others are say concentrate on the GWP, carbon and transport impacts
  • Move towards a single summary evaluation

–Like BRE Green Guide to Specification A to G ratings

–Dumbing down in my view

–Convenient for Architects and Brand BREEAM Assessments

How does Development Control use LCA & EPD?

  • In Belgium 2012 future plans
  • Developments will be ‘fined’ a fee for development according to the LCA of the Buildings
  • If the Building has high impact the fine matches with a high price
  • If Greener the fine is smaller
  • If substitution happened the fine will rise or fall according to the LCA of the replacements compared to the proposed

How does Development Control use LCA & EPD?

  • In UK SPAB STBA Conference 2020
  • Discussed a ‘Tax’ for development to reflect the impact of what is built
  • However we do knot like ‘taxes’ so come up with a better name?
  • Developments will be ‘fined’ a fee for development according to the LCA of the Buildings
  • If the Building has high impact the fine matches with a high price
  • If Greener the fine is smaller
  • If substitution happened the fine will rise or fall according to the LCA of the replacements compared to the proposed
  • Assemblies of components & Elements

Elemental Assemblies

  • We need to consider how materials are promoted and used in any permutation:

–Green materials in green assemblies

–Green materials in violet assemblies

–Violet materials in green assemblies

–Violet materials in violet assemblies

  • GBC is moving towards screening out the worst combinations to assist with the step changes needed to solve our current problems
  • In Use Carbon Reduction
  • GBC Green Building Calculator will have:

–New Build & Refurbishment

–Robust Detail assemblies

–Building Regulations Acoustic construction

–Passivhaus standard construction

–Passivhaus greener construction

–All to PH performance

  • Low & Negative Carbon Materials
  • GBC Green Building Calculator will have many:

–Carbon negative & Low Carbon construction methods

–Eco versions of Passivhaus

–IMC Innovative Methods or Construction

–MMC Modern methods of Construction

  • GBC will continue to add to them

GBC Green Building Calculator

  • 892 Readymade Elemental Assemblies

–will be added to choose from

  • Each has a unique 5 cluster code made up of:

–elemental code,

–outer finish code,

–core code,

–inner finish code,

–unique number if similar assemblies arise

  • Performance code

–6th cluster code was planned as a performance code

–But external envelope elements should all be Passivhaus or better

Green Building Calculator

Executive Summary

  • V1.0.0. launched June 2020
  • V1.0.0. launched June 2020
  • V1.0.0. launched June 2020
  • GBC Green Building Calculator
  • Scope: V1.0.0. Completion:
  • New Build, Domestic, Multi-storey, Multi-occupancy, Non-domestic (partial)
  • Building Size:

–Number of buildings and floors, heights, lengths, areas, volumes

  • Temperatures: inside, outside, below ground and swimming pool
  • Hours in use: per day (period temperatures maintained)
  • Room by Room heat loss calculator: size radiators UFH or Boiler
  • Form Factor: to set higher targets where necessary

Regulations v Design standards:

–U value target Selection:

–Part L, Passivhaus, EnerPHit, AECB: CL or CLR or others

  • Winter Thermal Insulation Material Choices

–K values v U values = Thicknesses of different materials (50 mm is not enough)

  • Assemble elements and all their components,

–replace components with generic materials or products

–Get U values, R values, meet targets or not, review thicknesses or materials

–Energy Consumption, element by element %, add fuel choice > CO2 in use

–Bill of Materials, Quantities, Labour, Products, Costs

–Cost planning by the designer for the client investment not cost cutting

  • V1>V2 24 of 39 Elements
    U or R value
    12 secondary element U/R values
    Refurb Actions
  • V1 Insulation and Windows Costs: Superseded by V2 BoM?
  • Costs of insulation and windows are added here
  • to help persuade architects and clients to spend money
  • on insulation and higher performance windows and glazing
  • V1 Elements: Bill of Materials Quantities Costs
  • To allow Architects to cost plan their projects
  • Bill of materials, quantities, labour and costs is added based on building fabric only so far.
  • User add their own researched prices
  • Recent tenders for labour rates

V2 Bill of Materials

  • V2 Bill of Materials (BoM)
  • Being added:

–Non-envelope items,


  • V? National Building Price book datasets?

–But they are part of BAU

–‘race to the bottom’

  • V20.0.0. Future Development

Green Building Price Book

–Proposed 18 years ago

–But proposal rejected by publishers

–Discussions started

  • Embedded in GBC V 20.0.0.
  • Products and Materials sheets

–Add costs

–Add rates


V2 LCA EPD (Dev)

V1 Products:

  • Lists of manufacturers
  • Products
  • Dimensions
  • Characteristics
  • Applications
  • V1 Properties of Products
  • V2 > V3 Products
  • Becomes a Look Up Table to populate ‘Elements: Components’
  • GBC to only permit them to be chosen as intended by manufacturer
  • V1 Users can still overwrite

–but consciously

  • V3 GBC shall prevent it (Protect GBC)
  • V20 Green Building Price Book
  • For U Value Calculations

V1 Awards/Shortlists

  • 3 months after V1.0.0. launch

–Green Apple 2020 Award Winner

  • Category and metal to be announced

–Central England Prestige 2020-21 Winner

  • November announcement

–Construction Computing 2020 Awards Shortlisted: (Announcement Nov/Dec 2020)

  • Innovation of the year 2020
  • One to watch Company 2020
  • Submitted Applications:

–CIBSE Building Performance Award 2021

–PEA Awards 2020

CPI Coordinated Project Information

  • This 5 cluster code could be used for:

–GBC Green Building Calculator

–Specification References

–CAD files, BIM File, Library file, cross reference

–BofQ cross reference


  • Healthy Environmental Resourceful Appropriate Competent Effective Yardstick
  • = Sustainable
  • Anything else is not

Competent Construction

  • Increasingly we are developing a clearer picture of what competent construction is,
  • E.g.

–Hydrophobic insulation in wet assemblies

–Hygroscopic insulation in breathing construction

–External insulation in framed construction

–Insulation to fill voids leaving no gaps

–High decrement delay in roof construction

  • GBE are seeking to develop better understanding:
  • Incompetent Construction

So what is incompetent construction?

  • Things that have been designed badly:
  • Thermal bridges in framed construction
  • Open pore insulation against ventilated cavities
  • Partially insulated closed cavities
  • Cavity party walls with little or no thermal insulation
  • Vapour closed insulation in Vapour open construction
  • Air leaky construction: e.g. drylining ceramic tiling on 5 spots of adhesive
  • Unexploited thermal mass especially in high thermal mass construction
  • Sacrificial construction in flood zones (EA Recommendation)
  • Rationalise

GBC Versions 3 and 4

  • Rather than providing every permutation of assembly and materials
  • GBC are developing many competent core assemblies from VB > BM or ATL > WTL
  • Then allow choice of external claddings/ finishes and internal linings/ finishes
  • Giving design guidance in each case and environmental critique of each
  • Giving a chance to review choices made

Climate & Local Focus

  • GBC want to go another stage further
  • Respond to the climate zone and offer local construction methods (e.g. appropriate thermal mass and decrement delay)
  • Improve thermal insulation & efficiency
  • And add appropriate materials to work with local constructions
  • Avoid condensation, overheating, greater heating demands and other risk

EU Procurement Rules

  • Government Funded Projects
  • Context
  • 1957 Treaty of Rome
  • 1992 Single Market
  • EU Construction Products Directive and
  • UK Regulations

–  No Technical Barriers

EU Procurement Rules version 2

  • Specification that require compliance with any LCA service, Endorsement or Green Label is a technical barrier
  • ‘Or equivalent’ is a necessity
  • Evidence of equivalency must be accepted
  • Just like Specifications

NBS Preliminaries

  • Government Funded work
  • Or Equivalent applies
  • If it does not say it,
  • assume it does


  • Welsh Assembly Government:
  • Code for Sustainable Homes

–Or equivalent

  • Green Guide to Specification

–Or equivalent

  • Green Labels & other ‘Clubs’
  • They may be restricted in their application to government procurement

–  Government cannot be seen as favouring any scheme despite endorsing some schemes

  • So you cannot require any without permitting ‘or equivalent’
  • Rather frustrating since an independent organisation provides the service for the manufacturer and is paid by them to do it
  • ‘Or equivalent’ means you have to do it for them instead and you are not an expert
  • ‘Or equivalent’ risks being worse
  • And you wont be paid to review it


  • Office of Government Commerce


  • Green Public Procurement


  • Refers to BRE Green Guide to Specification
  • But the credits are so few that some BREEAM assessors argue that you should not even bother with materials credits unless you are seeking the highest pass levels
  • You could take a look at GBE


  • BREEAM Health
  • Refers to BRE Green Guide to Specification
  • All health projects are expected to score well on the materials credits
  • But Or Equivalent applies
  • unless PFI and PPP lets you off.


  • This is a cut down version of the original file to give you a sample of the whole
  • It’s the front end of the file with the middle and rear end deleted
  • Go to
  • to down load the whole file
  • You will find a large number of other files there too


  • These files are created by generalists with a big dollop of green flavour
  • These files are updated from time to time
  • We are not experts so from time to time these file may get out of date or may be wrong.
  • If you feel that we have got it wrong please let us know so we can put it right


  • First written 2006
  • Updated to 2020
  • GorV added ex 2003
  • Added GBC 2020
  • © GBE & GBC 2006 – 2020

Brian Murphy ONC HNC Construction, BSc Dip Arch (Hons+Dist)

–Technician and Architect by Training

–Specification Writer by Choice

–Environmentalist by Actions

–Writer and Educator as a Calling

© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
9th October 2020



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© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
9th October 2020

See Also



GBE Calculators


GBC Shop Calculators

GBE In-House CPD

GBE Video

GBE Satellite Website

GBE Lectures

RIBA Part 1 Year 2 2018-2019-2020 (University of Hertfordshire)

© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
9th October 2020

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