eco-scout in the interplay with other norms & standards

ISO 14040ff

The eco-scout standard enables the creation of environmental assessments in accordance with the four steps of ISO standard 14040ff for ecological audits. This includes: Selection of the scope of assessment, the life cycle inventory, the impact estimate (here: assessment), and the evaluation. Here, in the same way as for all ecological assessment methods, it is presupposed that the life cycle inventories have been created in full and truthfully.

Carbon Footprint (GHG-Protocol)

The ‘carbon footprint’ is a constituent part of the eco-scout assessment standard. It is the part that takes account of the different greenhouse effect gases. Over and above this, a whole series of other environmental impacts such as emissions in the air, in surface water or also consumption levels of energies and fresh water, and quantities of waste etc. are recorded and assessed in the eco-scout standard. For Europe, these are currently twenty individual impacts; for Switzerland currently around fifty. Anyone who is initially only interested in the emissions of greenhouse gases, can read this out quantitatively directly from the results of eco-scout.

EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)

Initial situation

In the field of construction and various other industries, environmental declarations regarding the materials and components used are becoming increasingly important. The EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) used to date indicate environmentally relevant impacts related to manufacturers of a material without assessing these. This means quantitative emissions and/or consumption data are declared for around a dozen individual impacts (such as energy, CO2, NOx etc.) in individual lists. The user of the EPD (principal, architect, trade etc.), however, is not given an explanation as to how in individual cases for a construction material a gram of NOx can be offset against a saved kWh of energy and what ultimately places the greater burden on the environment on the whole. This is why no concept studies (i.e. comparison of two implementation examples of building techniques) can so far be assessed.

Assessments with eco-scout

The comparison of products, variants, implementations, and locations is the major area of application of eco-scout. This assessment summarizes and permits comparisons of the individual impacts (such as energy, CO2, NOx etc.) in line with the German (or CH, EU) environmental objectives as well as the official specifications – and thus the same for all users. An assessment standard according to official specifications was thus far lacking for the assessment of EPD data. With the assessment of the data by eco-scout, larger-scale concept comparisons with clear, comprehensible results can be carried out.

Necessary data from EPD and ecoinvent

The EPD data for concept comparisons are frequently only incomplete and only for individual items depending on the manufacturer; creation is cost-intensive. Missing data, however, can be supplemented from the data stock of the ecoinvent database. If additional manufacturer-specific EPD data are provided later, these can then replace the generic data of ecoinvent. This enables the creation of comprehensive assessments and concept comparisons without the restrictions of incomplete EPDs, but with consideration of these. Ecology in the construction sector can thus be made comprehensible and easy to read for third parties.

Use of eco-factors

Geographical assignment of the eco-factor records

The following rule applies to the assignment of the eco-factor records of the individual countries: The corresponding national eco-factor record is used for all environmental impacts to be assessed within a country. For all others, also mixed (also non-European) cases, the eco-factor data record of the ‘Entire EU28’ is used. Exception: For Switzerland, at the recommendation of the Swiss Federal Office for Environment, the eco-factor record for Switzerland is used in all cases.

The principle here is that a politically legitimated eco-factor record must always be used because of the desired objectivity. This means: CH, EU28 or one of the individual EU countries. And of these, always the most stringently worded, because this best describes the corresponding geographical environmental conditions and objectives.