EPD Development for Steel Pipe Products
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Project Objective

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for construction materials are gaining momentum in the United States due to new state and federal “Buy Clean” policies and programs. Buy Clean programs are focused on public agency procurement and use of low-carbon construction materials. These programs aim to reduce the global warming potential (GWP) associated with publicly funded construction in the United States by requiring EPDs and setting GWP thresholds for materials such as cement, concrete, steel, asphalt, and glass. California, Colorado, Oregon, and Minnesota already have Buy Clean programs in place, and under the 2023 Federal–State Buy Clean Partnership, many other states have committed to prioritize efforts that support the procurement of low-carbon construction materials in state-funded projects.

A confidential client that manufactures steel and precast concrete pipe products for water, stormwater, and wastewater conveyance systems retained Geosyntec to conduct an EPD pilot study to understand the environmental impacts (including, but not limited to, GWP) of their products over the product life cycle.

Geosyntec’s Scope of Services

Geosyntec conducted market research to identify key drivers for EPD development in the construction sector; drivers include compliance with regulations, customer requests, strategic market differentiation, and corporate sustainability goals. The initial research task also involved a review of the client’s operations and identification of a candidate product and manufacturing facility for the EPD pilot study. Geosyntec supported the client through a scoping exercise that included (i) selection of an EPD program operator and Product Category Rule (PCR); (ii) development of a data collection template; and (iii) a site visit to two of the client’s manufacturing plants. The LCA model, which will form the basis for the EPD, is currently under development following the guidelines in the selected PCR. The LCA report will be prepared in conformity with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040 and 14044 standards, and the EPD will be prepared in accordance with the ISO 14025 standard and the PCR. The EPD and LCA report will undergo verification by an independent third party.

Notable Accomplishments

The outcomes of this EPD pilot study will include a verified, registered, and published EPD for one steel pipe product as well as a framework for expanding the EPD pilot study to an EPD development tool that will streamline EPD development for additional products. In addition to EPD-related work, Geosyntec has acted in an advisory role to the client’s corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) team. Geosyntec also developed scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories for the client at both the corporate and facility levels.

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Project Summary

  • Location: United States
  • Client: Confidential
  • Project Practice Areas: Life Cycle Assessment – GHG
  • Type of Facility: Construction Materials
  • Services Provided: LCA; EPD; Corporate ESG Advisory; GHG Inventories
  • Type of Work: LCA; EDP
  • Governing Regulation: State; Federal