Setting your product apart - Environmental Product Declaration for James Jones

Setting your product apart - Environmental Product Declaration for James Jones
01 November 2017

Setting your product apart - Environmental Product Declaration for James Jones

In a previous blog we wrote about the value of demonstrating the sustainability of your product through a life cycle assessment (LCA). Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) take this one step further, providing independent verification of your environmental credentials and feeding into wider assessment schemes such as BREEAM. This is something we have done for James Jones & Sons Ltd, who manufactures timber I-joists for use in residential and commercial developments.

James Jones has previously carried out assessments such as carbon footprinting and seen the value of promoting its product’s environmental credentials within its B2B marketing. It appointed Ricardo to carry out an LCA and develop an EPD, which will enable its customers to score valuable LEED or BREEAM assessment points or credits when using James Jones’ I-Joist (JJI-Joist) in developments.

What is an EPD?

An EPD is not just a carbon footprint report. It is based on a thorough LCA that follows ISO 14025 and the relevant Product Category Rules. It reports on a large range of environmental indicators and is published on an official website (such as www.environdec.com, run by the International EPD System (IES)) alongside other similar products.  

To deliver the EPD, we reviewed James Jones’s operation, collecting relevant data on resource use at their facilities and identifying typical ecoinvent data to represent suppliers’ operations when primary data were not available. We then developed a thorough LCA model, in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14025 and EN 158042.

The model took raw data such as meter readings and records of raw material use to develop an inventory that documented the inputs and outputs at each stage of the JJI-Joist’s life cycle. This life cycle inventory was then used to calculate an impact assessment for each of the environmental indicators required for the EPD.

The results

To enable the selection of truly sustainable products, EPDs report on a wide range of indicators. Some of these are highly applicable to James Jones – global warming potential for instance – while others, such as radioactive waste, are less so.

Our study helped to highlight the benefit the JJI-Joist has on global warming potential, thanks to the carbon sequestration properties of its product that locks away carbon in long-term developments. It also highlighted the benefits of James Jones’ onsite operations, such as its use of onsite renewables in the form of a biomass boiler.

Figure 1: Share of environmental impacts of JJi-Joists per LM 

These results were not surprising to James Jones, who are well aware of their sustainable credentials. However, by delivering a comprehensive and methodical study, which has been independently verified, we have enabled James Jones to demonstrate not only that it has a “green” product but that its customers can showcase their own environmental credentials by choosing to use the product within their developments.

Abel Munoz, James Jones & Sons Ltd Technical Manager said “James Jones & Sons Ltd has been a sector leader in environmental management for many years. This EPD prepared by Ricardo will now enable our clients to receive recognition for using our I-joist within certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED”.

If you have questions about life cycle assessments or Environmental Product Declarations, please drop me an email at simon.gandy@ricardo.com