EPD Australasia

Forest and Wood Products Australia share their EPD experience

Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) have recently published an industry-wide EPD for glued laminated timber (glulam). We caught up with Research and Development Manager, Chris Lafferty, to find out how the newly minted EPD will be used.

Why did Forest & Wood Products Australia choose to create and publish an EPD for glulam?

An increasing number of projects are requiring EPD statements or similar credible information as a part of the tendering process. FWPA had previously funded the development of 5 EPDs for sawn softwood hardwood, particleboard, MDF and plywood but to date there was not one covering glulam as a specific product. A decision was made to establish a separate EPD to cover Australian produced glulam as engineered timber products such as glulam are being used more and more in multi-story commercial and apartment buildings in Australia. In the case of imported products, existing EPDs supplied by the manufacturers can be used as a part of the building design and assessment process.

With the completion of the update of the existing 5 EPD’s and the development of the new glulam EPD – the environmental credentials of all major timber building products supplied by the existing timber industry as at 2017 can now be readily accessed by building and construction designers.

Another reason for the glulam EPD was they are beneficial for users to obtain points under GBCA’s Green Star and the Infrastructure Sustainably Council of Australia’s (ISCA) IS rating systems. The data also helps our manufacturer members benchmark their performance against the industry average – helping them focus on areas of improvement and production cost savings.

How do you plan to use the EPD for marketing or other purposes?

The Australian glulam EPD will be promoted directly to our glulam manufacturer members so they can make it available to their customers. We will also promote it externally to building materials specifiers through WoodSolutions – our Australia-wide programme providing inspiration, information and resources directly targeted to architects, engineers and builders.

How did you find the process of creating an EPD?

FWPA provided the funds to engage EPD consultants thinkstep Australasia and Stephen Mitchell Associates to gather the data from manufacturers and develop the EPD. The process took longer than we expected (what project doesn’t!) as we also funded an update of the five existing Green Star and ISCA compliant timber EPDs. Other than that, the process was pretty smooth which is saying something considering the whole project involved getting information from twenty-eight manufacturers (including four glulam fabricators) and ten forest managers.

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