Material selection

Material selection

Making the best material choices

It is important to understand that Life-Cycle Assessment is always an estimation based on the best available data you have at the time. When you’ll have more accurate information to do the calculations e.g. exact manufacturers, it will probably be too late to apply any major changes to your design. Getting reasonable results is what matters. In many cases, there may be several choices for some material that are equally good and it is ok to just choose one of them. Later, when you will have more information, you can also improve your calculations. 

Here is a short video on how to search for materials: 
VIDEO QUALITY: to improve resolution once the video is playing, open the Settings (gear icon), Quality and from there choose HD, or the highest available resolution.

Three options to find the best match from the database

When you are looking for a certain material, please follow these steps:

Option 1: Exact materials (Search for the exact product from the manufacturer you are planning to choose)

To do this:
  1. Filter materials by material type and search with the manufacturer name or exact product name. 
  2. Technically, similar product from the same manufacturer are a good choice even if it does not have the brand name used in your country. 
For instance, glass wool slab with a similar thickness from the same manufacturer company will be ok even if the product name is different from the one used in your country.

Option 2: Closest matches (If you cannot find the product from your manufacturer, try to search for other manufacturers typically used in your country)

To do this:
  1. Choosing your country and typing the material name (rock wool etc.).
  2. You can also search manufacturers in neighboring countries that have similar construction products.

Option 3: Use generic data (If you cannot find a suitable product choose a generic one with similar qualities )

This kind of generic materials can be found for instance in the German database oekobau.dat, which has a lot of average EU construction material data.
  1. You can also choose the material type and just open the select menu to check the list of all the manufacturers available.
By following these steps you are likely to always use the best suitable data that is available at the time.

If you know that you are choosing data from a certain manufacturer but you cannot find an EPD for the product it might also be a good idea to ask them for the EPD or check their website for it. For example, if the EPD is new or not yet published in any EDP database, the manufacturer might have it even if it doesn’t show up in our database. This will also encourage manufacturers to publish more EPD data in the future.

Learn more about material carbon impacts.

Watch our webinar on carbon impact reduction here.
Find our guides for embodied material impacts here.

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