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The Environmental Profile: Carbon (GWP)



When we talk about the environmental impact of a product, building, or service, carbon emissions are usually the first thing that come up.


Carbon dioxide and other gases, such as methane, warm the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.


The effect is measured using the term Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is expressed in Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2 Eq.). This number represents the combined climate warming effect of all greenhouse gases, converted to the equivalent of carbon dioxide, meaning "as if they were carbon".


Tracking greenhouse gas emissions is the first step towards reducing them. This is especially important in the real estate and construction sector, which is responsible for the mind boggling amount roughly 40% of all global carbon emissions.


Targeting Carbon neutrality


The European Union aims to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, and many countries have their target for carbon neutrality already earlier, e.g. Finland in 2035 or Norway already in 2030. As part of this effort, the EU is tightening its regulation and many countries are revising their local building legislation as well. In many countries the revised Building Law will require environmental assessments and accurate emissions data for all construction and renovation projects.


Carbon Value on the Platform


Since GWP is such an important value, we display the Carbon Value (GWP) of each product on our Platform as a separate, illustrated graph. The graph breaks down emissions into the different phases of the product's life cycle:



A1-A3 = raw material & production

A4-A5 = transport & installation

B = use

C = demolition

D = benefits




When you search for products on our Platform, you can see the Carbon Value (GWP) in kilograms of carbon emissions per unit of product (e.g., per square meter, m2). You can also sort the product list by the Carbon Value.


A long life span deserved credit


To make this information truly comparable between different products, we also present the data for different time periods, e.g. 50 years (a reference service life of a building). This means that if the product's lifespan is less than the set time period, we take into account the emissions from replacing the product the required number of times. This includes producing new material and disposing of/recycling the old material. This gives products with a longer lifespan the credit they deserve for being more environmentally friendly.


With Premium Subscription you will be able to (among other things) compile Project Folders and calculate the Carbon Value for combinations of materials. This will make it easy to report different products' environmental attributes, which can be used to communicate with customers and authorities!






Note:

Due to a transitional phase in EU regulation, two types of EPDs currently coexist on the market, and the information they contain is not always directly comparable. If you want to avoid this, use the EPD-filters in the search to select the type of EPDs (EN15804+A1 or +A2) you want to see in the search. Because +A2 EPDs are required to consider the product's life cycle more comprehensively than +A1 EPDs, +A2 EPDs might generally show higher Carbon values than +A1 EPDs.


Read more about the differences between +A1 and +A2 EPDs from our previous post about data quality!


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