ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL
1. Review of available LCA data and databases in the European context
This review covers both generic LCA data (coming from generic databases e.g. Ecoinvent
(Ecoinvent 2012)) and industry average data (provided by manufacturers or trade unions) that
can be expressed as the so-called Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Different scales
are considered i.e. both European and national databases of the various European countries.
For each of these datasets or databases, the related assumptions are presented in terms of
scope definition (e.g. cut-off rules, allocations), life cycle inventory (LCI) flows, life cycle
impact assessment (LCIA) indicators and methods.
International LCA datasets were restricted to Europe because datasets from outside do not
comply from the beginning with the representativeness criteria in terms of geographic coverage and their technologic hypotheses are more likely to differ from European practices.
There are two main types of LCA datasets: EPD or generic LCA data. The former is more
suitable to be used in a detailed design stage (or at on-site assessment or building certification), while the latter can be either European or national and meets the requirements for the
early conceptual design stage (when no detailed information is available for the product).
Therefore, data genericness and LCA uncertainty decrease as design detail increases. This
section of the OR1 describes these two types of LCA datasets, along with country-specific
and average LCA datasets that are also available in the European context. The number of
available datasets is growing in all the referred groups, increasing therefore the importance
and the need of the methodology proposed in this paper.
1.1. Multi-sectorial generic LCA databases
Multi-sectorial generic LCA databases are summarised in Table S1. A generic database includes various datasets that reflect the various economic sectors, such as upstream processes
(e.g. energy production, transportation, building products, agriculture, etc.) or downstream
processes (e.g. disposal or recycling), along with data from production and processing processes. These data can be either linked through a network of unit processes (e.g. Ecoinvent) or
be compiled in a single database as cumulative LCI (e.g. ELCD or GaBi). These data are usually available in commercial LCA software (CfD 2001; EC 2009; PRé 2009; Ferrão 1998;
SM - 1
Lasvaux et al. 2011).
1.2. Country-specific and European average LCA datasets
In addition to the generic LCA databases, several country-specific or European average
LCA datasets have been established and are described in Table S2 and
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Table S3. Average LCA datasets belong to the “average” group but are often considered
generic (Figure 2 of the paper), namely when the identification of the plants and/or companies
included in the study are omitted in the meta data.
1.3. Environmental Product Declaration programs
These data refers to type III environmental product declarations (EPD). They are defined in
detail in ISO 14025 (ISO 2006a). The Technical Committee (TC) 350 of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN/TC 350) is devoted to “Sustainable construction” and is developing, within its Workgroups (WG), standards related to EPDs (Ekvall 2005; Krigsvoll et
al. 2007).
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Table S4 presents a summary of the EPD programs available in the European context that
include construction products.
An EPD is voluntarily developed and presents quantified LCA-based information over the
life cycle of a product. Type III environmental declarations are based on:
 Data related to the LCA of a product, which is independently verified;
 Modules of information, in accordance with international standards related to LCA: ISO
14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 (ISO 2006b, c);
 Results of the analysis of the “Life cycle inventory” (LCI);
 Additional environmental information, when adequate.
These declarations are developed within each EPD program. This kind of program has a
coordinator who can be a company, a group of companies, an industrial sector, a trading association, a public agency (e.g. a standardisation entity), or an independent scientific body. The
coordinator manages its development and the certification process. EPDs represent a complete, robust and scientifically validated source of information on the environmental impacts
of a product throughout its life cycle included in the study. The development of EPDs within
this kind of program also eases the comparison of the results between products (Rocha 2010).
The production of Product Category Rules (PCR) for EPD enables the harmonisation of
the information collected and the LCA methodology used. PCRs are developed specifically
for each family of products (e.g. wood, cement-based or ceramic products) to allow comparing results between products with similar functions or applications and achieving verifiable
and consistent results (Silva et al. 2007). PCRs can be a set of rules, requirements or guidelines to develop Type III environmental declarations for one or more product categories,
which are defined in accordance with interested parties. It must be possible to apply the same
“functional equivalent” to the products of the same category, in order to achieve a quantified
performance by functional unit. PCR harmonisation among EPD programs is stimulated at an
international level to satisfy the comparability principle (Almeida 2010; I.EPDS. 2010). However, each EPD database has unique characteristics, namely background data, methodology
and data origin that may result in significant differences in the LCA results for each construction product. The publicly available EPD documentation is also very often incomplete concerning the data origin and the methodology of calculation, increasing the risk of misunderstanding by the final user. Yet, the methodological report, which is most of the time kept confidential, should report all the hypotheses as in any LCA study. As a result, the choice of the
data to be used in every national context should be cautious, especially if the aim is to use
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them as a national proxy data, by considering all the complementary information included in
the EPD (meta data) (Hodková and Lasvaux 2012).
Table S5 presents a summary of the types of EPD available in the French EPD system (INIES) and the German system (IBU). The types of EPD are also compared according to the TR
15941 technical report of CEN TC/350 concerning the methodology for selection and use of
generic data.(CEN 2010). Table S5 shows that there is not yet a harmonisation of the names
of each type of EPD in each national context. For example, an average data of different manufacturers is defined as:
 “Average” data in CEN Technical Report TR 15941(CEN 2010);
 “Manufacturer group declaration” in the German IBU database;
 “Joint EPD” in the French INIES database,
The two last ones are identical (except for the English translation name). Yet, one can see
in Table S5 and Fig. 2 of the paper that the “average” term, as defined in the Technical Report
TR 15941, also covers the average of different production sites (for the same product or for a
branch of products) of the same manufacturer. For these datasets, it is important to note down
their representativeness in terms of market share, when available.
Although it is advisable to always follow standardised terminology, INIES’ terminology
will be followed in this research work to identify each EPD document in a result of the analysis presented in Table S5.
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Table S1 - Description of LCA generic datasets
Designation of the database
Country
Webpage
Ecoinvent
Ecoinvent version 2.2
Switzerland
www.ecoinvent.ch
ELCD
European Life Cycle Database version 2.0
European Union (EU)
http://lca.jrc.ec.europa.eu/ lcainfohub/datasetArea.vm.
European Platform for LCA
GaBi
GaBi
Germany
www.gabi-software.com/databases/
PE International
Organisation responsible for the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories
data
GaBi methodology, compliant with the ISO
Methodological rules followed Ecoinvent methodology according to ELCD methodology follows ISO 14040:2006,
IS0 14040-44:2006
ISO 14044:2006
14044, ISO 14064 and ISO 14025 standards.
Fees (for getting access to the full
Public (free to use)
Fees (depending on the data provided)
Availability of data (public/fees)
database)
4,000 processes provided for both
300 cumulative LCI of processes supplied by 4,500 ready-to-use Life Cycle Inventory profiles
Number of data available
unit process raw data and cumulative associations of producers from EU and by other
LCI
sources for the most common materials, energy
suppliers, transports and waste management
Generic data (based on average from Generic data (based on average from industry) Generic data (based on primary data collection
Type of LCA data
industry, survey or literature)
during work with companies, associations and
public bodies)
Not possible (only aggregated datasets are
Possibility of data contextualisation Possible with a LCA software using Not possible (only aggregated datasets are pubunit processes Ecoinvent data
licly provided)
publicly provided)
by the LCA practitioner
Internal
External validation (Fraunhofer Institute for
Critical review/verification of the Internal critical review (Frischknecht
et al. 2007)
Building Physics, Stuttgart, Germany)
data/database
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Table S2 - Description of country-specific LCA datasets
Designation of the database
ATILH
Inventaires de Cycle de vie
CEMBUREAU
CEMBUREAU
Portuguese average LCA dataset
Environmental declarations program in the
ceramic industrial sector
Portugal
-
France
Europe
www.infociments.fr/developpementwww.cembureau.be
durable/construction-durable/icv-ciments
Organisation responsible for the Association Technique de l’Industrie des European Cement Association (CEMBUREAU) Technological Centre for Ceramic and Glass
Liants Hydrauliques (ATILH)
(CTCV); Portuguese Association of the
data
Ceramic Industry (APICER)
French standard NF P01-010 (for the Based on ISO 14020:2005, ISO 14025:2006, ISO ISO 14040:2006, ISO 14044:2006; NationalPCR followed
methodology)
14040:2006, ISO 14044:2006; PCR 2004:1 for based development for each group of materipreparing an EPD for Product Group “Cement”
als
(Environdec)
Public
Public (available in ELCD and in Environdec)
Public
Availability of data (public/paid)
9
1
4
Number of data available
Country average (weighted mean)
European average
Country average by use
Type of data
Not possible (due to confidential industry
Possibility of data contextualisa- Not possible (due to confidential industry Not possible (due to confidential industry data)
data)
data)
tion by the LCA practitioner
External critical review
External critical review
External critical review
Critical review/verification
Country
Webpage
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Table S3 - Description of European average LCA datasets
Designation of the database
Plastics Europe 2005
PU-Europe
Plastics Europe Eco-profile and EPD Program
PU Europe calculation tool
European
European
Country
www.plasticseurope.org.
www.pu-europe.eu
Webpage
Plastics Europe – Association of Plastics Manufacturers
PU Europe - European association of PU insulation manufacturers
Organisation responsible for the data
LCI methodology and PCR for Uncompounded Polymer resins and
European Standards (CEN/TC 350)
PCR followed
reactive polymer precursors
Public
Public
Availability of data (public/paid)
Eco-profiles of almost every plastic product available in the market
2
Number of data available
European average
European average
Type of data
External
Not possible (due to confidential industry data)
Possibility of data contextualisation
by the LCA practitioner
Not possible (due to confidential industry data)
Not possible (due to confidential industry data)
Possibility of data contextualisation
by the LCA practitioner
External critical review
External critical review
Critical review/verification
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Table S4 - Characterisation of EPD programs that include construction products
Designation of
the EPD Program
BRE
Environmental
profiles
DAPc
Environdec
IBU
INIES
Norwegian EPD Foundation
Declaración Ambiental International EPD Sys- Umwelt-Deklarationen (EPD) Programme de Décla- Norwegian EPD Foundation
de Produto (DAPc)
tem
ration Environnementale et Sanitaire pour
les produits de construction
United Kingdom
Spain
Sweden (origin)
Germany
France
Norway
Country
www.greenbookliv es.csostenible.net/dapc/ www.environdec.com
www.bau-umwelt.com/
www.inies.fr
www.epd-norge.no/
Webpage
e.com
el-sistema-dapc
https//:epd-online.com
Manager of the Building Research Col·legi d´Aparelladors, Swedish Environmental Institut Bauen und Umwelt Ten French organiza- Confederation of Norwegian
Establishment
Arquitectes Tècnics i
Management Council
tions (governmental, Enterprise (NHO); Federation
EPD Program
Enginyers d'Edificació de
scientific and industrial) of Norwegian Building
Barcelona e Generalitat
Industries (BNL)
de Catalunya; Generalitat
de Catalunya
PCR followed Methodology for National-based develop- Per group of materials EN 15804:2012 (most recent French standard NF National-based development
environmental
ment for each group of
EPDs); National-based
P01-010
for each group of materials
profiles of conmaterials
development for each group
struction products
of materials
(2007)
Public
Public
Public
Public
Public
Public
Availability of
data (public/paid)
More than 250
10
44 of construction mate- 700 building products, divid963 individual or
73 building products, divided
Number of data
EPDs
rials, divided in 8 groups ed in 10 groups and including average/joint EPD
in 10 groups and including
available
floor and roof coverings,
covering 10,301 com- concrete, cement, building
masonry, wood-based and
mercial references boards and insulation materiinsulation materials
als
Not possible (due to
Not possible (due to
Not possible (due to confiNot possible (due to
Not possible (due to confiPossibility of data Not possible (due
confidential industry
confidential industry
dential industry data)
confidential industry
dential industry data)
contextualisation to confidential
industry data)
data)
data)
data)
by the LCA
practitioner
No
External
External review and
Third party verification
Third-party verification Third-party verification
Critical reapproval by an accredited following ISO 14025 (com(not mandatory)
view/verification
certification body
pulsory)
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Table S5 - Types of EPD documents and corresponding LCA data terminology (for a single product or an averaged product)
LCA data terminology
Data included in the EPD (for the same functional unit)
Data from one manufacturer and site
Average data of different production sites of the same manufacturer
Average data of different manufacturers
TR 15941:2010 (CEN 2010)
Site specific
Average (from different manufacturers or production sites)
EPD Program
IBU
INIES
Manufacturer´s
Individual
declaration
EPD
Manufacturer group
declaration
Joint EPD
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1.4. Other LCA and EPD databases
As part of the available LCA databases, a recently developed Excel based LCI database at
the Scientific and Technical Centre for Buildings (CSTB) in France (Lasvaux et al. 2010) was
also considered. Generic LCI data was collected in a private Excel-spreadsheet database
(called SLCA for Simplified Life Cycle Assessment) using harmonised LCI flows and LCIA
indicators, for both cradle to gate and cradle to grave data of building products. LCI data were
taken from mainly two databases (EPD database INIES and generic LCA database Ecoinvent
version 2.01) adding up to around 750 processes (600 LCI data from INIES, 130 from Ecoinvent and some more from IBU and ELCD) with the help of a harmonised terminology and
meta data. These data cover specific, average and generic data for building products according
to the ILCD Handbook definitions. For the processes from both databases, 168 LCI flows
(based on French EPD nomenclature1) were inventoried in order to make possible the integration of the French EPD Life Cycle Inventory within the database. The accuracy of the Environmental Impact Assessment Methods (EIAM) was identified using simplified LCI (Lasvaux
et al. 2012). Processes imported from Ecoinvent included transport, energy, waste treatment,
water and end-of-life options. Data from INIES correspond to LCI and LCIA data - cradle to
grave - available in each EPD according to the French standard (AFNOR 2004; Lasvaux et al.
2011; Lasvaux 2010; AFNOR 2014).
Based on the selected LCI flows of each of the 750 processes, 20 LCIA indicators were
calculated using 15 usual EIAM. Then, the LCIAs of each process were decomposed according to the building life cycle stages given in French and European Standards (CEN 2012;
AFNOR 2004): production, transport to the building site, on-site implementation, use phase
and end-of-life. Next, analyses on life cycle stages contributions were made for the production
of each of construction material and product. Finally, the most documented families of products (i.e. glass wool, rock wool, concrete, steel) had been studied in detail within each environmental impact category in order to access the suitability of LCA data to the French context. This study included the comparison of the results of each database and the identification
and explanation of the differences found (Lasvaux et al. 2011; Lasvaux 2010).
1.5. LCI flows and LCIA indicators available in each database
Generic LCA databases can present more than 1,000 LCI flows for each process following
1
www.aimcc.org/pages/documents/PUB05008.doc
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general guidelines for multi-sectorial databases (UNEP 2011). On the other hand, an EPD can
only display from 3 to 168 LCI flows (depending on the EPD program), in addition to LCIA
indicators. Therefore, when the aim is to compare results for the same products but from different databases, a first step must be completed to define the LCI and LCIA indicators to be
considered in the study. Table S6 summarises the LCI flows included in each country-specific
and European average LCA datasets and EPD program and Table S7 includes a balance of the
EIAM used in these datasets to calculate each LCIA indicator.
The new European Standards (FprEN 15804:2011 and prEN 15978:2011 (CEN 2012,
2011)) that support the Environmental assessment of buildings also outline the LCI and LCIA
indicators that should be included in an EPD. In what concerns LCI flows, the following are
referenced (CEN 2012):

Resource use: Renewable primary energy consumption (excluding renewable primary energy
resources used as raw materials); use of renewable primary energy resources used as raw materials, total use of renewable primary energy resources (primary energy and primary energy resources used as raw materials), non-renewable primary energy excluding non-renewable primary energy resources used as raw materials, non-renewable primary energy resources used as
raw materials; total use of non-renewable primary energy resources (primary energy and primary energy resources used as raw materials); use of secondary material, renewable secondary
fuels, non-renewable secondary fuels, and fresh water;

Waste categories: hazardous, non-hazardous, and radioactive waste disposed;

Output flows: components for re-use, materials for recycling, materials for energy recovery and exported energy.
In terms of LCIA indicators, European standards determine seven to be taken into account
in future European harmonised EPD (CEN 2012):

GW - Global warming;

ODP - Ozone depletion;

AP - Acidification of land and water;

EP - Eutrophication;

POCP - Photochemical ozone creation;

ADP - Depletion of abiotic resources (elements/non fossil resources) and depletion of
abiotic resources (fossil).
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Table S6 - LCI flows included in each country-specific and European average LCA datasets and EPD program
Country-specific and European average LCA datasets / Water
EPD program
cons.
X
ATILH
LCI flows
CO2 emissions
Electric
Dust
energy cons. Land transf. Biomass Fossil
Radioactive
Inert
X
X
X
X
X
Nuclear (higher Total waste
X
BRE
level)
disposal
X
X
X
X
CEMBUREAU
According with European Standards
DAPc
X
*
*
X
*
*
Environdec
X
X (including radioactive)
X
X
IBU
168 (including water and electric energy consumption, hazardous, non-hazardous, radioactive and inert waste production, recycled waste, and
INIES
emissions to the air - including dust - and water)
X
Reuse/recycling, energy production, to landfill*
X
Total
X
Norwegian EPD Foundation X
Recycled
Portuguese average LCA
X*
X
X
X*
waste
dataset
X
X
X
PU-Europe
SLCA (developed by one of
X
X
X
X
X
X (Partial)
X
X
X
the authors of this paper)
Note: * - Not supplied for all products
Hazardous
X
Human toxicity and ecotoxicity to
land and freshwater (CML 2000)
X
Waste
Non-Hazardous
X
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Table S7 - EIAM used in each country-specific and European average LCA datasets and EPD program to calculate each LCIA indicator
Country-specific and
European average
LCA datasets/EPD
program
EIAM used to calculate each LCIA indicator
Resources with energy
content
NonRenewable
renewable
NF P01-010
ATILH
GWP
ODP
-
-
CEMBUREAU
X
X
CML 2000
IPCC 2001 100 years
Nordic Guidelines
on LCA 1992*
X
X
X
X
NF P01-010
X (kWh)
X (kWh)
-
X
CML 1999
IPCC 2001 100 years
Nordic Guidelines
on LCA 1992*
CML 1999
POCP
NF P01-010 (based on CML 2001 for
mid-point indicators)
Minerals Resource Extraction (ton); Fossil fuel
depletion (MJ)
CML 2000
CML 2001 v. 2.05
CML 1999; Nordic Guidelines on LCA 1992;
Heijungs et Environmental Assessment of Prodal. 1992
ucts - Denmark 1992; CML, 1999
IPCC (last
version)
Note: * - Not supplied for all products. *2- plus air pollution.
X
X
-
CML 2001
NF P01-010 (based on CML 2001 for mid-point indicators)
IPCC (last
CML 2001
version)
CML 1999; Nordic Guidelines on LCA 1992;
Heijungs et Environmental Assessment of Prodal. 1992
ucts - Denmark 1992; CML, 1999
NF P01-010*
NF P01-010
CML 2001
CML 2001
According with the European standard FprEN 15804:2011
PU-Europe
SLCA*2
EP
According with European Standards
DAPc
IBU
INIES*2
Norwegian EPD Foundation
Portuguese average
LCA dataset
ADP
NF P01-010 (based on CML 2001 for mid-point indicators)
BRE
Environdec
AP
-
CML 2001
According with the European standard FprEN
15804:2011
NF P01-010; CML 2001
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European Standard FprEN 15804:2011 refers a EIAM that do not exist yet (characterisation factors applied in ELCD) to calculate each LCIA indicator, except for the characterisation factor for ADP (elements and fossil). For the latter, CML (developed by the
“Institute of Environmental Sciences” at the Faculty of Science of the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands) EIAM should take into account. CML had a first version (CML
92) and two main updates (CML 2 baseline method 2000 and CML 2001, from which a
version 2.05 is already available). This EIAM uses a midpoint approach that converts LCI
flows into midpoint impacts (e.g. potential of ozone layer depletion or greenhouse effect).
1.6. Life cycle stages covered by each dataset
The review of available LCA datasets of building products already presented in OR1 included the analysis of the life cycle stages covered by each one based on European standards nomenclature (Table S8 and
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Table S9). From this analysis it is shown that all datasets cover at least the product stage
(cradle to gate: A1-A3 - Table S8). Some EPD datasets may include additional life cycle
stages such as the construction process stage (A4-A5) and, rarely, the use stage (B1-B7).
Several data are available in all types of databases concerning the end-of-life stage (C1-C4)
and, more rarely, from the “Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary” (D). In addition, most of EPDs include aggregated data (
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Table S9) either from the production to the end-of-life of the product or within a module
(e.g. aggregated value for end of life). One of the most significant barriers for intercomparing all these LCA datasets (along with the methodological choices) is the different
level of aggregation of the data in relation to the sub-modules defined in the European
standards FprEN 15804 and FprEN 15978 (CEN 2012, 2011)).
The information included in EPD related with all the stages after the production (B, C or
D) is based on scenarios, which are mostly built and assessed using generic LCA data (similarly to the approach commonly used to model upstream processes, as the production of raw
materials) (
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Table S10). Following this approach, generic data for scenarios should be “as realistic as
possible and properly documented (covering the present or anticipated situation), rather
than idealistic or "carefully selected"” (CEN 2010), and the assumptions made for each
stage should be inter-related. For instance, construction process scenarios are important not
only to the construction stage, but also to the use and end-of-life stages. On the other side,
scenarios describing end-of-life stage (downstream processes - see
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Table S10) should reflect current technology, present regulations, today's average practice and a mix of end-of-life treatments available at the national or regional level (CEN
2010).
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Table S8 - Life cycle stages classification based on French and European standards (CEN 2012; AFNOR 2004)
LCA boundaries
Cradle to cradle
Standard
Cradle to gate
Production
Cradle to grave
Gate to grave
Implementation
Utilisation
Transportation
End-of-life
NF P01-010
FprEN
Product stage (A1-A3) Construction process stage (A4-A5) Use stage (B1-B7) End-of-life stage (C1-C4) Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (D)
15804:2011
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Table S9 - Detailed life cycle stages classification based on European standards (CEN 2012)
Modules
Product stage (A1-A3)
Construction process stage (A4-A5)
Use stage - information modules related to the
building fabric (B1-B5)
Use stage - information modules related to the
operation of the building (B6-B7)
End-of-life stage (C1-C4)
Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (D)
A1
A2
A3
A4
A5
B1
B2
B3
B4
B5
B6
B7
C1
C2
C3
C4
D
Life cycle stage designation and description
Raw material extraction and processing, processing of secondary material input
Transport to the manufacturer
Manufacturing
Transport to the building site
Installation into the building
Use or application of the installed product
Maintenance
Repair
Replacement
Refurbishment
Operational energy use
Operational water use
Deconstruction, demolition
Transport to waste processing
Waste processing for reuse, recovery and/or recycling
Disposal
Reuse, recovery and/or recycling potentials
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Table S10 - Type of data - generic and site-specific - used on EPD for each life cycle stage (CEN 2012)
Product stage (A1-A3)
Construction process stage (A4-A5)
Production of raw materials
Product manufacture
Upstream processes
Processes the manufacturer has influence over
Process type
Generic data
Manufacturer´s average or site-specific data
Data type
Modules
Use stage
End-of-life Benefits and loads beyond
(B1-B7) stage (C1-C4) the system boundary (D)
Downstream processes
Generic data
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References of the supporting material
AFNOR (2004) Qualité environnementale des produits de construction. NF P01-010.
AFNOR, France
AFNOR (2014) Environmental and health product declaration program for construction
products "EHPD Program". Version B revised on June 2014 - NF EN 15804+A1 and
XP P01-064/CN. AFNOR, France
Almeida MI (2010) EPD development in the ceramic sector (in Portuguese). Paper presented
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Sustentabilidade), Coimbra, Portugal, 16 de Junho de 2010
CEN (2010) Sustainability of construction works - Environmental product declarations Methodology for selection and use of generic data. TR 15941. Comité Européen de
Normalisation, Brussels, Belgium
CEN (2011) Sustainability of construction works - Assessment of environmental performance
of buildings - Calculation method. EN 15978. Comité Européen de Normalisation,
Brussels, Belgium
CEN (2012) Sustainability of construction works - Environmental product declarations - Core
rules for the product category of construction products. EN 15804. Comité Européen
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EC
(2009)
ELCD
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database
version
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