After a bit of hard work and investment, we have published the Havelock Wool EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) and LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). We began this endeavor at the beginning of the year to provide complete transparency around the environmental impact of our wool insulation. While common sense tells us that natural wool insulation is good for the planet, we now have a data-rich third party document that provides in-depth details. These documents are normally the employ of the professional building community but we believe everyone should use them to make informed building material decisions.
A Reminder… LCAs and EPDs
An EPD is a third-party verified document that is officially registered to show the environmental impact of a product or service. To construct the EPD, an LCA is first used to calculate the impact which is included into the EPD according to specific standards. An EPD is like the executive summary of the LCA report. The finished document is verified by a third party and published on one of the publicly available online platforms. Importantly LCA results are not scores. The result for each impact category is an amount of impact, measured in units such as ‘Kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents’ and ‘Kilograms of Nitrogen equivalents’.
Cradle to Grave Analysis
Sounds grim but Cradle to Grave refers to the scope of a Life Cycle Assessment, specifically from resource extraction (‘cradle’) to use phase and disposal phase (‘grave’). We chose this option because the end of life scenario for Havelock Wool creates very little environmental impact. Wool can easily be composted and it also biodegrades quite well in landfills. You will see some companies choose a Cradle to Gate or Cradle to Cradle which are only partial assessments of the full product life cycle. We wanted to provide a full picture.
OK so how do I read this document?
It’s a 12 page document with a lot of useful information…. even if you are not a building scientist! We encourage everyone to read through as it provides a very in-depth review of our complete process. A few highlights from our perspective :
- The Performance Dashboard is the first page and an excellent summary of the benefits of our products and our certifications. It’s high level so a good place to start.
- The LCA Results section has a lot of data and industry jargon but don’t be intimidated because there is some good stuff in there. We’d focus on :
- Our Material Composition chart is short and understandable…. kinda like the ingredients list on quality food! And we’d note that 2 of the materials are packaging, not the actual insulation.
- Impacts By Lifecycle stage : These charts show what parts of our process have the biggest environmental impacts. Transportation to and from our facility is at the top of the list. Actually producing the insulation is not!
- The How We Make it Greener describes how our process, from raw material to end of life, minimizes environmental impact. You will learn about how we make your insulation! It presents the areas where we can improve and can be compared to what happens in each life cycle stage for other types of insulation.
- Our wool does not contain any ingredients on the LBC Red List which are known to pollute the environment, bio-accumulate up the food chain until they reach toxic concentrations, harm construction and factory workers.
As mentioned, EPD’s and LCA’s were initially conceived for the professional building community. One of our goals in creating these documents was to make it easier for builders and architects to specify Havelock Wool in projects. In addition, we believe homeowners, vanlifers and anyone else interested can use these documents to help make informed decisions about building materials.