The topics related to sustainable building are highly diverse. Particularly within the context of the ecological quality of a structure, the various levels of perspectives concerning building structures and building materials again and again cause confusion. Frequently asked questions – such as “Is this product sustainable?”, “Does a CSC certificate replace an EPD?”, “What is better, an EPD or the German DGNB?”, “And a BNB?”, “What is an EPD really?” and “Why do I need all that?” – show that it is time to shed light on such issues. A superficial consideration of the topics and questions will inevitably lead to confusion.
EDP stands for Environmental Product Declaration – in German, Umweltproduktdeklaration. EPDs have existed for many years. They contain quantitative statements for products. They are tested by independent third parties and verified prior to publication. Every EPD is based on an ecobalance of the product under consideration.
CSC stands for Concrete Sustainable Council, an international association that has developed a certification system specifically for concrete manufacturers and their delivery chains. This certification system, by systematic consideration of the areas of economy, ecology and social aspects, provides both the participating companies and the wider public important information on how responsible the certified companies manufacture – beginning with the source of the raw materials and extending to the manufacturing process of the concrete.
DGNB and BNB are two building certification systems developed in Germany for assessing the sustainability of structures. For their evaluation, the German Association for Sustainable Building (DGNB) and the German Federal Ministry of Construction (BNB) draw, among others, on information contained in the Environmental Product Declarations. In addition, numerous data from other sources are also considered in the assessment.
In DGNB Version 2018, for example, the criterion “Responsible resource extraction” has been fully revised so that a CSC certificate can be used as attestation of compliance for this criterion.