EPDs for beginners: Sarah B. Gregg from the Natural Stone Institute explains what it is all about and why it is so important for stone companies

Sarah B. Gregg.

These data collections allow for benchmarking building materials by telling their sustainability story across their complete life cycle

EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) are becoming an ever more important tool how builders select the materials for their projects. Sarah B. Gregg, Marketing Director for the Natural Stone Institute, is the association’s specialist for sustainability and thus for EPDs. She explains what it is all about and why it is so important:

An EPD quantifies all environmental data on a product

Sarah B. Gregg: That means that an EPD contains all the information about e.g., how much energy and water is consumed in the production of a building material, in the transportation, in its maintenance and in the end also for the demolishing. Thus such a complex data collection gives reliable information to compare building materials about how much of our natural resources they consume. Cradle to Grave is another term for such an analysis of the whole life cycle.

EPDs are an important marketing tool

Sarah B. Gregg: Many progressive architectural firms require EPDs to be included in their material banks. In the US, some states like California, Washington, and Colorado already demand that you prove that your materials are below a certain benchmark. In general: The more EPDS stone companies have for their products, the stronger the stone industry is. Last but not least: the competing man-made materials have their EPDs.

All EPDs must be third-party verified

Sarah B. Gregg: You cannot create an EPD on your own. Greenwashing is not the aim of the process. An institute that has an official accreditation in your country must do it for you. In general, my recommendation to regional stone associations is: create EPDs for your region, they will be relevant worldwide, maybe with some corrections if e.g. your stone has a long transportation to the consumer. If we can all utilize the same definitions for scope, functional unit, product categories, then over time we will get a good set of documents to position the entire stone industry well.

Quarry production and workshop processing changes

Sarah B. Gregg: Therefore, each EPD has to be renewed every five years. Of course, then the effort is less than for the first time…

The costs

Sarah B. Gregg: You have to calculate about… for an EPD…

There are also Health Product Declarations

Sarah B. Gregg: HPDs describe…

Natural Stone Institute