The Australasian EPD Programme

NXT Sees EPD as Important Tool for Continuous Improvement

NXT TEC recently published the world’s first EPD on a complete hotel. We spoke to Managing Director Natasha Di Ciano about their commitment to sustainability and their decision to publish an EPD.

1. Why did NXT decide to produce an EPD?

NXT TEC. Ltd (“NXT”) has developed and owns fully integrated prefabricated building technologies that together comprise the NXT™ Building System enabling innovative building structures to be assembled, rather than constructed, on-site. NXT’s goal when developing the NXT™ Technologies and the NXT™ Building System was to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of building projects globally.

NXT came across the Life Cycle Analysis (“LCA”) and Environmental Product Declaration (“EPD”) programmes after significant research into how to quantify the environmental impacts, and relative benefits of the NXT™ Technologies and NXT™ Building System. Natasha says, we wanted to be able to compare the environmental impact of our techniques to conventional building methods, which are well understood to be wasteful, in order to fully understand the issue using scientific and credible measures. When undertaking this market research, we learned that it was not standard practice to quantify the environmental impacts of conventional construction methods.  To us, “environmental sustainability” is not simply a marketing buzzword, it’s the heart of our organisation. It was important to us to be able to provide a quantifiable measure of our true environmental impact. We are dedicated and we strive for continuous improvement, therefore we were seeking a benchmark to improve our environmental performance. This required NXT to identify what conventional construction was currently reporting and how the NXT™ Technology compared, so LCA and EPD were recommended by sustainability engineers.

The EPD would help the further development of the NXT™ Technologies and NXT™ Building System and enable NXT’s Research, Development and Commercialisation programme to target high impact areas to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the NXT™ Technologies and NXT™ Building System.

The LCA and EPD NXT undertook were for a whole building, our Wyndham LUX Perth Hotel project. A hotel has an intensive use and considering the project would wholly utilise NXT™ Technologies, NXT’s method of sourcing localised raw materials and local manufacturing and assembly, we were interested in how it performed against its targeted benefits, including local and reduced transport and zero on-site wastage.

2.  How did you find the process of creating an EPD?

The process of producing the EPD was thorough. The background LCA report, on which the EPD is based, is a very detailed study that documents each aspect of the life of the hotel building from cradle-to-grave.

Our LCA consultant, Andrew D. Moore from Life Cycle Logic, was extremely professional and worked diligently to ensure we could achieve this world first. The EPD verification process was rigorous. It took several iterations to address the questions and comments from the independent EPD verifier Rob Rouwette.

Overall, the scientific methods involved in collecting and analysing all relevant data made it evident the end result was going to be a true measure, which is exactly what we were seeking.

3.  How has the EPD been used since it was published?

Before the EPD was even produced, the initial results from the background LCA study were used to identify the ‘hot spots’ in the life cycle so further improvements could be made to the final design of the building. The valuable insight provided by the LCA led to significant reductions in water and grid electricity consumption.

The EPD has been used as a benchmark and the process has enabled NXT to fully understand the areas of high environmental impact within a building structure and how the NXT™ Building System is advantageous in comparison to conventional construction methods. The EPD enables us to demonstrate to our stakeholders how seriously NXT takes environmental sustainability.

Moving forward, the EPD will assist architects, engineers, builders, developers and the government to achieve environmental targets for building projects utilising the NXT™ Building System Technologies.

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