A-01 Use and adaptation of available cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave LCA or EPD data for building products and technical equipment

Aspect A-01 Use and adaptation of available cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave LCA or EPD data for building products and technical equipment
Different LCA data describing the impacts of raw materials supply, transport and manufacturing (cradle-to-gate data) can be used in practice, depending on the goal and scope, on their availabilities in LCA or EPD databases, and on the geographical location of the building. In addition, they need to be adapted, e.g. information for the gate-to-grave impacts, or adaptation of the cradle-to-gate data to a different context.Which LCA or EPD data should be used in a building LCA study? How can they be adapted if they are not fully appropriate?

related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

relevant for

new buildings existing buildings construction products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions The practitioner should use existing LCA or EPD databases for selecting cradle-to-gate data or cradle-to-grave data. As far as possible, the practitioner should use a single database for deriving all the data on building products and technical equipment, or otherwise make sure that the building products and technical equipment data are based on identical assumptions.The adaptation of cradle-to-gate data should use consistent rules for building LCA modelling.
Rules from:
EN 15978:10.2.2 Adaptation of cradle to gate (product stage) information

10.2.3 Adaptation from gate to grave information (Modules A4 to C4) and Module D

The choice of LCI/LCIA datasets depends on the goal and scope of the study. Please refer to the corresponding general aspects (in the inventory analysis section). The existing LCA data should be handled with care, as they may have different system boundaries. They also can be used in different contexts, which means they will need to be adapted.1) Guidance for the use of existing databases on building products or technical equipment

Generally speaking, the use of a single database is highly recommended when conducting a building LCA study, so as not to bias the results (e.g. in comparative assertions). Existing LCA or EPD databases are often not comparable, owing to differences in assumptions and methodologies.

However, some data (e.g. for technical equipment) may not have been calculated using the same rules (or the same PCR) as other data (e.g. building products). The use of two different databases can be justified in this case if the main conclusions of the study are not affected by the use of data coming from different sources. Alternatively, the practitioner may prefer to rely on a single database, even if not all the building products and technical equipment have corresponding LCI/LCIA data.

2) Adaptation of cradle-to-gate data for a building LCA study

The cradle-to-gate data can be adapted either for the production stage (e.g. French or German cradle-to-gate data used in a neighbouring country) or for the additional life cycle stages (Modules A4, A5, C and D).

Sometimes data are already presented as cradle-to-gate data: for example, the French EPD database (INIES) provides for some EPD cradle-to-grave results without information for the cradle-to-grave stage. In this case, the practitioner should carefully check whether the scenario and the boundaries for the gate-to-grave stages are relevant for the goal and scope of the study (e.g. according to EN 15804).

3) Use of scenarios for gate-to-grave data for a building LCA study

Scenarios are needed to assess the cradle-to-grave impacts depending on the goal and scope of the study (please refer to the corresponding aspects in every life cycle stages for each study type).

Even if cradle-to-grave data are available (e.g. French EPD for building products), the scenarios included in these data should be checked for consistency with the scenarios representative of the building under study.

If the EPD is broken down into different life cycle stages, the practitioner can then select the cradle-to-gate EPD information and adapt the gate-to-grave information.

Scenarios for gate-to-grave impacts need to use default values (or else specific values) especially for:

Modules A4 and A5:

  • the transportation distance from the factory to the building site (in km);
  • the LCA data for transportation processes (e.g. lorry, train);
  • the construction losses of building product (in %).

Module B – Use stage:

-       the reference service life of the product (in years);

-       other aspects (if relevant).

Module C – End-of-life stage

-       the share of end-of-life scenarios i.e. landfill, recycling, incineration (w/o heat recovery) for each type of building material;

-       the corresponding LCA data.

Module D – Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary

-       the share of reuse, recovery and recycling potential for each type of building material.

-       the corresponding LCA data

Guidance for each module (and corresponding parameters) can be found in the corresponding chapter (Modules A, B, C and D); if not, he practitioner can use the scenarios proposed in building LCA tools (such as EQUER or ELODIE in France), or in building certification schemes.

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