EPD Australasia

New GPIs v4.0, significant changes and updated EPD registration pricing structure

The International EPD System (IEPDS) recently released a new version of the General Programme Instructions (GPIs v4.0 dated 29 March 2021). EPD Australasia also maintains an annex to these GPIs for regional variations. The IEPDS GPIs, and the EPDA regional annex, are the programme rules that determine Australasian EPD Programme compliance with ISO 14025.

There are several changes to GPIs v4.0 over the previous version. Arguably the most significant is a move towards single dataset EPDs.

This change is being made due to much greater take-up of EPDs, particularly by suppliers of building and construction products, increasing demand for data for specific products and increasing demand for digitised data. These developments are driven by increasing integration of EPD data in regulations, third-party databases, and procurement. This is occurring worldwide mainly in Europe – but increasingly in North America and Australasia.

Note: the implementation of the new GPI is dependent on the updating of the PCRs to align with this new standard. When the relevant PCR is updated to reflect GPI 4.0, there is then a 6 month transition period where the existing PCR may continue to be used. For example, for construction products the new PCR that facilitates this change was released on 23rd June, there is a 6 month transition period so for construction products this means the change formally kicks in from 1 January 2023. For more information read our Q&As here.


Single data sets

The updated GPIs have removed a clause that allowed multiple products to be listed in a single EPD. When the new GPIs are fully implemented, every product variation must be treated as an individual EPD dataset, in effect counting every product as one EPD.

Because of this change, the focus is starting to shift to single EPD datasets. (Note: the existing rule that environmental impact results must not vary by greater than 10% for products to be grouped is still in effect.) This change will facilitate a sharp increase in the number of EPDs being published.

For EPD Owners with many products’ the datasets for each product will have to be registered separately. It will still be possible to produce PDF format EPD documents with multiple products however each product will have to be a separate EPD dataset (and have a separate EPD registration number).

Digitised EPD data

For some time, there have been discussions about making EPD data digitised or “machine-readable”. This allows EPD data to be picked up by a range of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools, Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, and third-party “embodied carbon” databases. This is mainly so they can be used in the building and construction sector in whole-of building Life Cycle Assessments or embodied (or upfront) carbon assessments. IEPDS has taken a leap forward by setting up a data hub for digital EPDs at https://data.environdec.com/.

In cooperation with other established EPD Programme Operators they have also set up an access point for digital product data for Building and Construction LCA via the European ECO Platform ECO Portal.

EPDs in a digital format make it much easier to import large numbers of product specific EPD datasets into software tools and databases, thereby greatly increasing the usability of EPD data.

All EPDs in PDF-format registered with EPD Australasia are registered both locally at www.epd-australasia.com and for global visibility in the International EPD Library at https://www.environdec.com/library. This will remain the case.

All building and construction product EPDs will also be available via the European ECO Platform ECO Portal.

EPD Australasia is working with the IEPDS (and ECO Platform) to transition our EPDs to fully integrate with the new portals.

Australia and New Zealand EPD market

In Australia and New Zealand, the demand for digital EPD datasets is not yet significant, and although this is expected to increase EPD Australasia will continue to support PDF-format EPD documents as well as digital datasets.

Changes to EPD registration fees

In response to these changes to the GPIs and recognising the trend towards single data sets and digitisation EPD Australasia has recently released a new EPD registration pricing structure. Effective from 1 April 2021 and available here, the new fees drastically reduce the cost of registration and publication of new EPDs – particularly multiple EPDs. Annual membership fees remain the same.

GPI v4.0 18-month transition period

There is an 18-month transition period to GPI v4.0. Until this transition period ends (October 2022) GPI v3.01 (dated 18 September 2019) may still be used for the development of new EPDs and updates of existing ones. EPDs registered in this transition period may include multiple product datasets.

EPD Australasia will be using this time to solicit feedback from EPD owners, the LCA community, and EPD data end users in Australia and New Zealand and set up the frameworks some we can take advantage of the opportunities these changes present.

If you have any questions or feedback on these changes, we would love to hear from you, please contact the Secretariat.

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