As the industry shifts towards a more sustainable model for construction, transparency becomes increasingly important. With a growing emphasis on building greener, architects, planners and other professionals want to make sure that the materials they are using have a minimal impact on the planet. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are an important tool to accurately measure that impact.
In January, Holcim Germany became the first company in Europe to publish EPDs for its entire cement portfolio. It is also the first German company to provide its customers with product-specific ready-mix concrete EPDs.
This milestone for the industry was recognized by Hans Peters, CEO of the Institut Bauen und Umwelt – Europe’s leading EPD Programme Operator – at the BAU München trade fair. In a symbolic handover ceremony at the event, he presented two EPD certificates for cement and concrete respectively to Holcim Germany CEO Thorsten Hahn.
What are EPDs?
EPDs provide an accurate assessment of a building material or product’s environmental impact over its entire lifetime. They bring together indicators like CO₂ emissions, energy requirements or the amount of waste generated during its production, use and disposal, precisely defined according to international standards.
By providing transparent and quantified information about the environmental impact of different materials, architects and planners use EPDs to calculate the potential lifecycle footprint of a building as a whole.
A groundbreaking development in sustainable building
Until recently, EPDs for cement and concrete had only been available as averages for entire regions or product groups. Now, every Holcim Germany cement mix and many of its concrete mixes have their own individual EPD. Since EPDs must be calculated and comprehensively audited by an independent verifier, it means each product comes with a credible assessment of its environmental impact.
This allows architects and planners to measure the CO₂ footprint and circularity of materials more accurately than before. Even more importantly, it enables them to compare the sustainable credentials of different cement and concrete products so they can scrutinize each one individually in their selection process.
Why is this such an important development?
Choosing the right concrete and cement in a building project can prevent enormous amounts of carbon emissions from reaching the atmosphere. Holcim’s ECOPlanet cement, for example, offers 100% performance with a CO₂ reduction of at least 30% compared to standard cement. Product-specific EPDs provide architects, designers and building contractors with the precise data they need to make more informed and sustainable choices.
Delivering more transparency around low-carbon concrete and cement is also an important lever driving demand for sustainable building solutions. With access to verified data, contractors can choose low-carbon materials like ECOPlanet with confidence that they are building for both people and the planet. In this context, Holcim Germany’s achievement is a significant step forward in Holcim’s –and the wider industry’s– journey to decarbonize building at scale.