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EN 15804+A2: One year on

EN 15804+A2: One year on

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What does EN 15804+A2 EPD data mean for you? And how can you transition your LCAs to use it?decarbonizationnews_thumbnail_EN 15804+A2 – one year on_epd

EN 15804+A2 has been mandatory for manufacturers now for a full year. This article looks at the challenges of transition and what it means for you.
 In November 2019, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) revised the construction product EPD standard EN 15804+A1 to EN 15804+A2 as a mandatory amendment based on a mandate from the European Commission. The amendment set the sunset of the EN 15804+A1 to June 2022. The change was a breaking change – which means that all methods, standards and LCA data had to be revised. Read about the details of the changes from our 2021 article ‘Getting ready for EN15804+A2‘. All national standards, EPD programs and LCA and EPD software were required to adapt to this. To make things even more complex, North America uses an additional characterization method for LCA data, called TRACI 2.1. One Click LCA’s EPD Generator supports all of these standards natively. All One Click LCA manufacturing tools were updated ahead of the change’s effective date, and our construction LCA tools are updated as described in this article.  However, this only affects NEW EPDs published with the amended standard alignment. As EPDs are valid for five years, EPDs published with old standards may still be around until 2027.

Revision of matching building LCA standard delayed

EN 15978 is the construction LCA counterpart to 15804. A revision of EN 15978 which aligns the building LCA indicators to the EPD data was circulated for enquiry by CEN in late 2021. However, it has not yet been approved. Due this delay regulations and other standards have moved ahead and used EN 15804 +A2 as their foundation. Noteworthy construction standards and regulations that use EN 15804+A2 include:

  • EN 17472, an LCA standard used for civil engineering works published in 2022
  • Level(s) from the European Commission
  • French RE2020 regulation, updated in 2022
  • And many others listed later in this article

Points of incompatibility between EN 15804+A1 and +A2

Transitioning between EN 15804+A1 and EN 15804+A2 can be challenging due to issues of  incompatibility. The two versions of the standard calculate environmental impacts using different characterization methods and different indicators:

  • The EN 15804+A1 reports 7 environmental impact categories, two of which represent resource depletion, as well as 17 reporting categories for resource use, waste generation and output flow data.
  • The EN 15804+A2 does away with the former environmental impact categories and requires no less than 13 core environmental impact indicators to be reported and provides 6 additional environmental impact indicators (optional for the EPD, mandatory for the project report).

Further details about the differences can be found in ‘Getting ready for EN15804+A2‘. However, in some circumstances when you only assess for carbon impacts (global warming potential), you may be able to use data from both EN 15804+A2 and EN 15804+A1 in the calculation. This is discussed below.

Partial compatibility: Global Warming Potential

The global warming potential impacts caused by fossil fuels are remarkably similar between the different standards and characterization methodologies. This is because many systems underpin their methodologies with the scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Subject to assessment standards only covering global warming potential, and using both types of data (if allowed by the standard in question), you may be able to use data from both standards when working with One Click LCA. This is possible because One Click LCA has always technically separated the biogenic carbon storage (negative carbon impact in EN 15804+A1) from the GWP data. In One Click LCA, if you have a tool that allows using both EN 15804+A1 and EN 15804+A2 data, it works as follows. EN 15804+A2’s GWP-fossil is used as a priority, and when not available, EN 15804+A1’s GWP (net of biogenic carbon storage) is used. So the EN15804+A2 data is the priority. You can find the list of the tools adapted to this later in this article. Going forward, you can continue to track which One Click LCA tools allow for +A2 to be used, and in what capacity, via our Customer Help Centre: Where can EN 15804+A2 data be used? Note that this is not possible when you use assessments that report more indicators than GWP, as the other impact categories are not compatible with each other.

Pure-players and cross-version LCA standards – who allows what?

As mentioned, allowing use of +A2 data generally comes from the governing body of the certification or regulatory system. This means that roll-outs happen at the pace of these rule-setters. We have listed below the most relevant standards and tools based on how they approach the data.
Valid standard is for A1 only
Valid standard allows both
Valid standard is for A2 only
LEED v4.1 (characterizations limited to the EN 15978:2011) BREEAM UK (linked directly to EN 15978:2011) BREEAM International (linked to current EN 15978) Verde (latest guidance mandates +A1 results & data) Whole life carbon assessment GLA / RICS (UK) Whole Life Carbon Green Mark (Singapore) Building low-carbon assessment method 2021 (Finland) Norge – NS 3720 Klimagassverktøyet (Norway) Greenhouse Gas accounting, TEK17 (Norway) Klimatdeklaration av byggnader (Sweden) Level(s) life-cycle carbon – EN15804 +A1/+A2 (EU) LCA according to bygningsreglementet  (BR18, Denmark) RE 2020 (France) Levels(s) Life cycle assessment – EN15804 +A2 (EU)
If a formal amendment is issued by any of the rule-setters allowing for use of mixed EPD standards, One Click LCA shall update its tools accordingly.

Using multiple data standards for North American projects

North American projects use TRACI 2.1. characterization. This is used for example in LEED WBLCA assessments. This data is again incompatible with the European and global data. Therefore, U.S. and Canadian companies have two options to make use the global datasets:
  • Use a cross-standards compatible carbon tool, such as Life Cycle Carbon – Global.
  • Use the LCA for LEED, International or another international tool for their projects outside the U.S. and Canada.

Evolution of One Click LCA’s tools to EN 15804+A2

As of June 2023, the following tools are provided with either A2 only or A2-first:

  • Whole life carbon assessment, GLA / RICS / Green Mark including EN15804 +A2 data
  • Building low-carbon assessment method 2021 (Finnish government methodology)
  • Carbon Footprint NS 3720
  • Greenhouse Gas accounting TEK17
  • Klimatdeklaration av byggnader
  • Level(s) life-cycle carbon (EN15804 +A1/+A2)

Our next EN 15804+A2 aligned tools, to be launched in summer 2023, are:

  • DGNB 2023 tool, which mandates A2 data
  • BR18 (LCA according to bygningsreglementet) which allows +A1 and +A2 data.
  • Full LCA tool for EN 17472 infrastructure (current tool is carbon first tool with flexibility)

The next batch of tools to support both standards, also launched in summer 2023, include:

  • Life Cycle Carbon – Global
  • Net Zero Carbon tool
  • Interior design carbon tool

For an up-to-date list visit our Customer Help Centre: Where can EN 15804+A2 data be used? Tools which we will align following standard or system revision:

  • BREEAM: We will create a new set of BREEAM tools following the issue of BREEAM v7.
  • LEED: We anticipate that North America will continue to use TRACI 2.1, but LEED v5 is likely to allow using EN 15804+A2 for European and International use.
  • CEEQUAL and ISCA infrastructure tools.
  • RICS 2.0

One Click LCA does not plan to update tools for superseded certifications or standards to EN 15804+A2. Instead, for these, we recommend customers move to the next certification version. This concerns for example BREEAM (2013, 2015, 2016, 2018) and DGNB (2012, 2015, 2018, 2020). If your system is not listed here, it is likely they do not support the use of EN15804+A2 data just yet.

What does this mean for your LCA assessments?

You may not find the EPD you are looking for if it’s using a different standard version

  • If your used calculation tool does not allow the use of A2 data, such EPDs will not be visible in the tool (in spite of them being available in One Click LCA’s database).

If you use a tool that only accepts A2-based data, you may not find a huge range of data yet

  • If you are using a calculation tool which only uses A2 data, such as Level(s) life-cycle assessment (EN15804 +A2), you will not find the EPDs that are only available with EN 15804+A1 datasets.

What should standard-setters do to keep data available?

  • Standard-setters would do well to require A2-based data as a priority, but to allow using A1-based data until end of 2025 at least to allow the industry time to adapt

What should manufacturers do to ensure their data is compliant?

  • Manufacturers need to re-issue their EPDs in line with EN15804+A2 to keep them available.

To contribute to making the situation better, One Click LCA’s EPD Generators always generate the data aligned with both A1 and A2 standards, and for global companies, also with TRACI 2.1.


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