The webservice allows building LCA software to be fed with digitised data from INIES. Set up in 2013, the INIES webservice offers the possibility of accessing a large part of the content of environmental declarations in digital format.
The INIES and PEP Ecopassport® programmes are part of the European ECO Platform Association, which aims to facilitate exchanges between programme operators and to harmonise practices. It brings together a number of environmental declaration programmes in Europe. Within this framework, the programmes have worked to develop common rules for the verification of environmental data. For the INIES program, the environmental declaration must be drawn up for a given functional unit (application and performance specified) for a product sold on the French market. If the functional unit is compliant, then for environmental declarations that have been checked by a verifier from an Eco Platform member programme, parts A1-A3 do not need to be checked a second time. The additional verification then concerns the other modules and the sanitary section to be compliant with the requirements of the INIES Programme. The INIES and IBU (Intitut Bauen und Umwelt eV in Germany) programmes have signed a bilateral mutual recognition agreement. The INIES programme has already accepted data from IBU after these have met INIES requirements, namely compliance with French regulations and contextualisation of the data so that they are really representative of a product that will be used in buildings in France (in particular transport and end of life of the product). The declaration must also be drawn up for a given functional unit in order to be used directly in building LCA.
FDES and PEP contain much information about the materials used at input of the life cycle or the fate of these materials or products at the end of their life. A product participating in the circular economy can be chosen by focusing, for example, on its recycled material content, information that can be found in the “Use of secondary materials” indicator. It can also be chosen according to its contribution to the production of waste throughout its life cycle and its potential for reuse, recycling and energy recovery, which units are expressed in kg. But the circular economy is also the optimisation of resources, which goes through the indicator of depletion of non-fossil resources (ADP) for example resources such as clay, limestone, gold, copper… and its unit is the antimony equivalent (kg Sb). The more the resource is considered rare and exploited, the more the value of the indicator increases. Antimony ADP is worth 1 but that of clay is worth 2.99.10-11 while that of silver is 1.84. The use of this information is currently being tested in the framework of HQE Performance work on material flow analysis (MFA). They will surely prove to be useful for the implementation of article L. 111-9 of the French construction code which aims to incorporate materials from recycling. The circular economy also concerns energy flows and the FDES and PEP inform you about the use of recovered energy (use of renewable and non-renewable secondary fuels) and the energy produced that is recovered from the product. FDES and PEP end-of-life scenarios are based on current national references or regulatory values for equipment under REP systems. With the improvement of deconstruction, sorting on site or in specialised centres and the development of new recycling channels, French references should evolve. Finally, these declarations mention a description of the main components per unit allowing to identify the different materials and quantities used.
FDES and PEP include a set of environmental data from the LCA (impacts, flows, etc.) but they also provide information on the technical performance of the product, on its suitability for use in order to choose the FDES or PEP corresponding to the chosen product. For the FDES, other useful information is related to the contribution of the product to comfort in the building (hygrothermal, acoustic, visual and olfactory comfort), to the sanitary quality of the water as well as the contribution of the product to the health conditions in the building (for example emissions into the air, characterisation in relation to radon, etc.)
The REACH Regulation (Regulation No. 1907/2006 of 18 December 2006) is the regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (CHemicals).
Entered into force on 1 June 2007, its aim is to ensure a high level of protection for both human health and the environment with regard to chemicals, on their own (“substances”), as “mixtures” or contained in finished or semi-finished products (“articles”). In short, to be produced or imported into the European Economic Area, chemical substances must be registered by their manufacturers or importers according to a timetable based on tonnage placed on the market and dangerousness.
In concrete terms, REACH makes the chemical industry responsible for providing information about the dangers of their substances (intrinsic characteristics) and possible risks posed by their use. Adequate information on substances and mixtures is then communicated to their users, predominantly article manufacturers, via Safety Data Sheets (SDS, not to be confused with the FDES), whose content is regulated. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), centralises all the information and validates the files (“chemical safety assessment”). Later in the value chain, a similar obligation requires article manufacturers/suppliers to distribute information as follows:
- In a manufacturer-manufacturer relationship (B2B), they must inform their customers if the article sold contains more than 0.1% by weight of a substance on the “candidate” list, provide the name of this substance, and provide rules for how to use the article safely (article 33, paragraph 1),
- In a manufacturer-consumer relationship (B2C), they must provide the same information mentioned above for any article sold containing more than 0.1% by weight of a substance on the “candidate” list (article 33, paragraph 2), free of charge, to any consumer who requests it, within a maximum of 45 days of receiving the request.
The “candidate” list, which features the “very high concern” substances that may be subject to usage restrictions (see below), is updated every six months by the ECHA. The ECHA will gradually select substances from this list that are destined to either be taken off the European market or that will only be authorised for a clearly identified limited number of uses during a set time. These substances are added to “Annex XIV”, the first version of which was published on 18 February 2011. According to REACH, construction materials, products and equipment are:
- Mostly “articles”:
- that can only be manufactured from substances that are duly registered for said manufacture,
- that are subject to the obligations set out in Article 33 regarding information about the content of substances on the candidate list. Specific information provided in the FDES sheets.
- A minority of “mixtures” (cement, glue, etc.) for which Safety Data Sheets must be provided.
There are now many tools for using FDES and PEP, in particular for building LCA. As part of the RE2020 environmental regulation, some software has undergone an assessment of their compatibility with the E+C- experimentation reference system. This list is available on the E+C- experimentation site. As soon as RE2020 comes into force, this software (or new ones) has to be reassessed and validated to be in compliance with this regulation.