Environmental product performance of building materials
For Argos, PRé completed LCAs of 13 building materials, establishing a baseline for environmental product performance. This is the basis of Argos’ Product Sustainability Program, helping them guide improvements and differentiate themselves.
The building industry is making a move towards sustainability. Certification standards for green building, such as LEEDv4, help project developers make sustainable choices in the design and construction of buildings. One of the ways to gain LEED credits for a building is to use sustainable materials with an environmental product declaration (EPD), a label that quickly and clearly communicates environmental information about a building material.
Argos, an international cement and concrete producer, is implementing a company-wide Product Sustainability Program. Part of this program is working towards creating EPDs for all its environmentally friendly building materials. PRé helped them take an important first step by establishing a baseline for environmental product performance, consisting of 13 LCAs.
Following the development of a plan to implement a companywide Product Sustainability Program, PRé successfully completed 13 LCAs across Argos’ three regions (US, Colombia, Caribbean). These LCAs helped launch the program by establishing a baseline of environmental product performance that can be used to measure future progress. The process and methodology developed during these 13 LCAs can easily be expanded to analyze additional products and facilities and to help Argos accomplish its goal of completing LCAs for its representative and new products by 2020.
Argos’ LCAs will support the creation of EPDs, which are becoming more prevalent due to building certification standards such as LEED v4. These documents are similar to nutrition labels, but contain environmental information. The EPDs will be used to quickly and clearly communicate the benefits of Argos’ products to potential clients and to illustrate the advantages of Argos’ sustainable concrete options compared to less sustainable alternatives. Additionally, by creating EPDs, Argos’ products can contribute to certain LEED credits; this attribute further differentiates its products from the competition in the rapidly growing market of sustainable construction.
Working with PRé, Argos discovered the following project-driven benefits:
- The means to differentiate itself within the marketplace and to access new markets through EPDs
- An approach to quantify the advantages of Argos’ sustainable concretes
- Identification of a baseline of environmental performance and areas for further improvement