What is LCA & EPD?

LCA and EPDCalifornia and the Federal government have been pushing legislation to help decrease the number of carbon emissions (Federal “Buy Clean” Initiative and California’s AB 2953) and Global Warming Potential (GWP) of construction projects. These bills and legislations will affect the engineering industry including contractors which means as an industry we should become familiar with the LCA and EPD processes and the steps required to implement them into our work. You may be wondering what is LCA & EPD and how it works.

LCA & EPD Explained

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodology for assessing the environmental impacts associated with the entire life cycle of a particular product or process. LCA consists of 4 stages (Goal and Scope, Inventory Analysis, Impact Assessment, and review/presentation) which must follow similar procedures to a PCR (Product Category Rules) and helps to evaluate the carbon footprint and natural resources of a product or process. LCA information is required and needed in order to create an EPD.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a document that transparently communicates the environmental impact of an in-place construction product or material over its lifetime. An EPD can assist engineers in finding sustainable options as well as estimate the final product’s carbon footprint which will aid in finding efficient solutions and methods.

What Does This Mean for the Industry?

We’re leaning towards a future where producers and contractors will be required to have a process in place to provide LCAs and EPDs prior to the start of a project. California and government officials have pushed bills and legislation that will change how we progress into completing our projects. Caltrans has initiated a program called Caltrans Environmental Product Declaration Project which the contractor will have to collect EPDs for all construction materials incorporated into a construction project. 

When will this Occur?

It is the state of California’s goal to be carbon neutral by no later than 2040. As of July 2022, steel, glass, and wood are required to have EPDs submitted on all Caltrans work. As of today, concrete, aggregate, and asphalt do not have a required EPD submittal date. There is a new department in the state of California department of transportation called the Sustainability office. This department is working closely with FHWA and by the guidelines of the federal law Buy Clean America Act, to have something implemented within the next 5-10 years.

G3 Quality, Inc. is here to provide any further information you may need and guidance to future requirements in sustainability for upcoming projects. For more information, reach out to Samuel Adan by email at sadan@g3quality.com or by phone at 562.321.9859.

We are an elite team of engineers and professionals who provide world-class quality management, pavement engineering, materials design, construction inspection, and testing on infrastructure projects throughout California and the western United States. To learn more about how G3 Quality can contribute knowledge, expertise, consulting, and professional services to your project, contact us.