LCA analysis and EPD aluminium sheets
Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration as sustainability tools for powder coated and decorated aluminium sheets
Decoral Group is one of the major Italian groups in the field of metal surface treatment, well known all over the world. In 2022, the Group was supported by GET in obtaining the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which transparently communicates to stakeholders the potential environmental emissions of Decoral Group’s flagship products, such as powder-coated and sublimation-decorated aluminum sheets.
The EPD was achieved through the analysis of the entire life cycle of the products (Life Cycle Assessment – LCA), thus obtaining the potential environmental impacts and consumption of resources, from the extraction of raw materials to the future end-of-life phase with disposal and recycling of materials.
The Group has specialized in anodizing as well as painting and decorating finishes for construction and architecture since 1974. It has always been committed to delivering high-quality products certified by the main international quality labels. In 1995, Decoral Group invented and patented the decoration technology to create wood grain finishes on aluminum. It deals with every single stage of metal treatment, including the production of coating powders and the sale of sublimation equipment.
Lamex, Verniciatura Industriale Veneta, and Viv Decoral are the three companies of Decoral Group involved in the environmental sustainability study aimed at obtaining the EPD for coated aluminum sheets.
Lamex is a company part of Decoral Group based in Arcole (Verona, Italy), that deals with the treatment and distribution of aluminum sheets and products for architecture, more precisely ventilated facades, wall and floor systems, aluminum coils, and profiles.
Verniciatura Industriale Veneta is a Decoral Group Company based in Cazzano di Tramigna (Verona, Italy). It is specialized in powder coating on aluminum extruded products, laminates, and accessories; the company holds Qualicoat license and is ISO9001:2015 certified.
Viv Decoral has venues in Verona, Roma, and Torino, and it is specialized in aluminum coating and sublimation; it has been part of the Decoral Group since 1974.
The analyzed product
The products included in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and EPD are the powder-coated and decorated aluminum sheets (with thicknesses from 0,6 mm to 4 mm) produced by Decoral Group in the reference year 2020. The products have several uses and they are applicable for both external and internal use. Possible applications are:
- Architecture (facade, doors and windows, ceilings, coatings for exteriors, balconies, and sunscreens);
- Furniture and Design (internal coatings, indoor furniture, outdoor furniture, contract furniture, lighting technology);
- Transport (naval, airplane, railway, automotive);
- Public products (urban furniture, street furniture, playgrounds, sports equipment).
VOC-free powder-coated and decorated aluminum sheets are certified according to ISO 16000 and IAC GOLD standards. They meet the requirements set by LEED v4 and the Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) of the Public Administration. Moreover, in accordance with French VOC regulations, Decoral Group and VIV products are classed A+.
EPD and sustainability of the supply chain
The EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) is a voluntary declaration that transparently communicates the potential environmental impacts of a product.
The EPD is based on the analysis of product life-cycle (LCA – Life Cycle Assessment), which defines the potential impacts on the environment and the consumption of resources (such as the consumption of raw and secondary materials, water, energy, etc.); the LCA of Decoral Group’s products is “from cradle to grave”, considering the extraction of the raw materials, their transportation in the production site, the manufacturing in Decoral Group’s companies, the distribution on the market and the end-of-life phase with the disposal and future recycling of materials.
The EPD allowed Decoral Group to focus attention on all phases of the product life-cycle, stimulating reflection on future sustainability strategies by optimizing production processes, reducing waste and costs, and monitoring improvement of supply chain performance over time.
EPD and environmental certification schemes for buildings
Nowadays, the EPD is a useful tool for a new path of environmental sustainability in the construction sector. The potential environmental impacts reported in the EPD can be used by practitioners for the development of LCA and carbon analysis of whole buildings, encouraging the selection and use of products with transparent information on their life cycle and environmental impacts.
For this reason, several international green building rating systems promote the use of construction products with EPDs, assigning credits and scores for the achievement of sustainability goals. For instance:
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) BD+C New Construction v4 and v4.1 assigns 1 point for the use of at least 20 products permanently installed in the building, from at least 5 different manufacturers;
- BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), in the Technical Manual: Version: SD225 – Issue: 1.4, encourages the use of at least 1 product with EPD per element type in the credit related to the LCA of the building;
- DGNB International, Casaclima Nature, ITACA, VERDE, GreenStar, HQE, Miljöbyggnad, Zero Carbon Certification, Home Quality Mark, Green Building Index, etc. are other green building rating systems where EPDs can be used to obtain credits and scores in order to achieve higher levels in the sustainability ratings.
- Level(s) scheme of the European Union allows using environmental information from EPDs for the LCA analysis of the buildings.
In Italy, the use of construction products with EPDs is also encouraged by the Criteri Ambientali Minimi (CAM) for construction tender, because EPDs help construction sector practitioners to demonstrate compliance with certain CAM requirements, such as:
- the content of recycled or recovered materials;
- information on the possible disassembly at the end of the life cycle of components and materials.
The importance of a good LCA
The EPDs are based on the analysis of the overall life-cycle of products, which must be carried out according to the principles of the LCA methodology. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is internationally regulated by the ISO 14040-44 and ISO 14025 standards, by PCRs (Product Category Rules) of different sectors, and by the EN15084:2019+A2 standard, which lay down the rules for EPDs of products and services for the construction sector.
GET is able to support manufacturers, as well as Decoral® Group, in the complex path of knowledge of their supply chain, accompanying them in the:
- identification of the life cycle phases with the greatest environmental load;
- quantification of potential environmental impacts of products;
- evaluation of costs and innovations from a life cycle perspective;
- elaboration of medium and long-term sustainability decisions and strategies.
Furthermore, the LCA study allows manufacturers to enhance products with EPDs, thanks to the adoption of transparency policies towards stakeholders and final consumers, who have the opportunity to make informed choices with a new perspective of environmental sustainability.
Get in touch: Talk to Elisa for more information about EPD and Green Products
Elisa Sirombo – Head of Building Physics and Sustainability
+39 335 6277 109
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