Documenting products with an EPD: how much does it cost?
When is a product a green product, and not greenwashing?
Unproven claims are not green building, they are greenwashing.
How much do third-party verified EPDs cost?
Back to the costs. An EPD is valid for five years. If you are a typical SME manufacturer, your product catalogue has a few hundred items, but not all sell in large quantities and many are simply variants of each other. We can apply the 80 % – 20 % rule here too, so let’s assume you have 100 articles and 20 of those generate 80 % of your sales (or more interestingly, profits). You will need to document about 20 products to serve the market and stand out.
Let’s further assume that these 20 products consist of four product families, so in fact, you have four product families each with five main products.
To develop an EPD, you need to collect data, get trained on EPDs, calculate their lifetime impacts via a life-cycle assessment (LCA) or hire a consultant to do so, get the resulting reports third party-verified, and publish, and keep paying publishing costs for five years. Which all adds up. According to a recent international survey the cost of EPDs was around $15,000 per EPD. Which is, in our view, too much.
How can these costs be reduced?
How does the process work in practice?
One way to reduce these costs is via automation. We started developing le Générateur de DEP pré-vérifiées de One Click LCA with the goal of reducing EPD cost tenfold without sacrificing quality or credibility. We’re still in the middle of the journey, but on track.
How we’re doing this is by developing EPD software that is tailored and pre-verified for different manufacturing segments. We support seven of the biggest construction product manufacturing segments, including steel, concrete, wood, asphalt and many other categories, and are releasing support for more categories over the next months.
Our approach slashes the cost of developing an EPD by reducing the cost of software, cost of training, the complexity of use and cost of EPD verification and EPD publishing. The icing on the cake, we are the single point of contact for you, which cuts the cost of coordination in the complex field of LCA and EPDs for you significantly. And our customer support is excellent.
In purely numerical terms, for a typical SME manufacturer, the cost of documenting a range of products with EPDs using le Générateur de DEP pré-vérifiées de One Click LCA would cost less than one-thousandth of your profits in that time. For large firms, it’s obviously proportionally far less costly.
It is still not free, but affordable. And most certainly, in the context of green building demand growing, provides a good payback.
But what about large scale product documentation?
How to make an EPD and how it helps your business