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EDC-7: EPDs for sustainable project delivery

News | May 31, 2023 | By:

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are tools that report environmental impacts of construction materials. As state DOTs become increasingly aimed at addressing the environmental burdens of infrastructure and seek more sustainable strategies, they are looking for measures that accurately reflect the environmental impacts of each alternative. EPDs communicate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of construction materials in a transparent and standardized manner and provide an opportunity to reduce negative environmental impacts by transforming the project delivery process.

An EPD tells us the impacts that materials such as aggregate, asphalt, cement, asphalt mixtures, concrete mixtures, and steel reinforcement generate on the environment. EPDs communicate the impacts from resource use, energy, and emissions, and agencies can leverage them to support decision-making throughout project delivery.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) EPD program was featured during day two of the EDC-7 Summit. In July of 2021 Colorado’s legislature passed the Buy Clean Colorado bill, HB 21-1303, which requires contractors to submit EPDs for eligible materials to include asphalt and asphalt mixtures, cement and concrete mixtures, and steel. This prompted CDOT to create its EPD program. The program identified focus bid items and set minimum project cost and quantity thresholds for eligible materials as a way to minimize unnecessary burden on project staff, small suppliers, and contractors while meeting the intent of the bill.

CDOT’s EPD program was also designed with stakeholders in mind. CDOT has conducted multiple workshops and feedback meetings to make sure stakeholders were involved in the program’s development and have an opportunity to give feedback on proposed specifications before they go into effect. Additionally, CDOT provides a number of resources for training and support, including a dedicated email address and a website with video tutorials on EPD implementation, annotated example EPDs, workshop recordings, a spreadsheet tool to determine if EPDs are required for a project, and more.

Since the program began collecting EPDs in July of 2022, CDOT has advertised over 50 eligible projects with the new EPD specification. CDOT will store the data collected from its EPDs and perform statistical analysis on them to determine benchmarks for the program.

Stay up to date on EPDs For Sustainable Project DeliverySubscribe to EPD e-News to receive updates on webinars, case studies, videos and more. To learn more about EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery, please contact LaToya Johnson, or Migdalia Carrion, FHWA Office of Infrastructure. Information courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts:  Innovation for a Nation on the Move. For more information visit the Center for Accelerating Innovation.

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