Assessing whole life
The importance of module D
EPDs report on the environmental impact of construction products, based on assumptions across a number of different life cycle stages, or modules.
Module A concerns the product and construction process stages. Module B covers the use of the building, while module C concerns its end of life stage. Finally, module D looks at benefits and loads ‘beyond the system boundary’ - the potential for reuse, recovery or recycling.
Another way of describing the scope of module D is the circular economy.
What happens to construction materials and products at the end of a building’s life, and whether they can go on to be reused as they are or remanufactured into new products, is a significant part of environmental impact. Yet many EPDs do not include any assumptions for this, and module D in particular.
Materials and products might appear to have a low environmental impact based on their upfront carbon - or module A - but ignoring modules C and D could hide a greater environmental impact in the long term. The unintended consequence of that limited declaration is that carbon emissions in 50 or 60 years could actually increase, at a time when we might not be able to afford it.
To find out more about how Tata Steel and our products can support your ambitions to help deliver a circular economy, please contact us.