Tensar, a division of CMC and the leading provider of soil stabilization and earth reinforcement solutions, has secured Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for several of its high-performing products – a first for geogrid products manufactured in North America. The news represents another step by Tensar to accelerate the development of more sustainable, longer-lasting roads and other forms of critical infrastructure.
An assessment of environmental impact is becoming a more common infrastructure design criterion in a growing number of jurisdictions around the world. The EPD was created to provide quantifiable environmental information about a product’s life cycle which allows engineering decision-makers to easily compare environmental impacts among similar products. The use of EPDs to assess environmental impacts such as Global Warming Potential (GWP) is growing rapidly, including in the construction industry.
Tensar recently completed EPDs for its stabilization geogrid product lines. The EPDs signify that these Tensar geogrid products are now in conformance with the stringent type III environmental declarations set by UL Environment and the International Standards Organization.
Building materials and construction account for 11% of global energy-related carbon emissions. Reducing that environmental impact is becoming more important to doing business. EPDs provide transparent, rigorous data that allows specifiers and end users to compare how different products contribute to sustainability goals. EPDs also help manufacturers improve processes and material sourcing, as well as encourage the re-use and recycling of construction materials at the end of their life.
EPDs are based on Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) which gather information on the environmental impacts of products over their life cycle. The two-step process can take up to two years. The first step is conducting the LCA, which measures the complete carbon footprint of the product. The second step is analyzing the data. The result is a document that captures the results.
Tensar’s EPDs cover products produced at the company’s plant in Morrow, Ga. Each EPD is “cradle to grave,” covering the environmental impacts associated with extracting, transporting, and manufacturing the raw materials; transportation to construction site and installation; operational use, including maintenance, repair, and replacement; and end-of-life, including recycling and final disposal.
EPD listings are reviewed annually. An EPD that complies is one where the life cycle impacts remain consistent with the impacts reported in the EPD, allowing for a variance of less than 10% within each impact category.
The transportation infrastructure sector is under pressure to improve the resiliency and sustainability of its assets. EPDs communicate verifiable, accurate environmental information for products and their applications, quantifying the environmental sustainability of products. These documents are independently verified and audited. This information then provides a basis for assessing construction projects that use those products for their sustainability and reduced impact on the environment.
Tensar has held a long-standing commitment to the sustainability of its products and the projects in which its products are used. Geosynthetics have been used in infrastructure projects for over 50 years: they extend road service life, conserve water resources, minimize land disturbance, control soil erosion and protect groundwater. They also reduce on-site excavation and fill placement, which in turn reduces the requirement to transport other construction materials, facilitates faster and simpler construction, extends infrastructure design life and reduces maintenance requirements. The EPDs Tensar has completed for its geogrid products will help the engineering and construction communities deliver projects which minimize negative impacts on the environment. Tensar looks forward to working with clients in designing and implementing sustainable, resilient infrastructure projects with its EPD products.