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20.12.2023 - Environmental Product Declaration for UHPC

Hi-Con launches new EPD for Ultra High Performance Concrete Balconies

Hi-Con launches new EPD for Ultra High Performance Concrete Balconies

New EPD for balconies in UHPC

Hi-Con has just released a new Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for balconies made from Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC). The EPD has been prepared by Force Technology and is available on the EPD Denmark website, as well as on our website.


This new EPD replaces our previous EPD, which was issued in November 2018. The new EPD differs slightly from the "old" one and includes updated and more relevant environmental data, from the extraction of raw materials to production. Before we delve into that, let's briefly address some of the basic questions that may arise.


You can find our new EPD here

What Is an EPD?

An EPD is an internationally recognized environmental declaration that describes a product's environmental impact throughout its life cycle, based on European standards. The most well-known expression of environmental impact is stated in kg CO2-equivalent, but it also includes a wide range of other environmental factors. An EPD is valid for 5 years.


What Is an EPD used for?

An EPD is a declaration that can be used when evaluating the environmental consequences of using different products, for example, in the certification of a building. With the increasing climate requirements, the need for EPDs has increased significantly.

An EPD can be product specific, or it can be an industry EPD prepared as an average, for example, for concrete elements. A product specific EPD usually provides the most precise picture. Our EPD is product-specific, as it has been prepared specifically for UHPC-balconies produced by Hi-Con.


What Is the difference between LCA and EPD?

An EPD is prepared based on a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) report, which is typically more comprehensive. An LCA is an assessment of the entire product/building/material life cycle, from extraction to production, assembly, use, disposal, and possibly recycling. An LCA report describes models, data collection, and the considerations that underlie the EPD, and may contain confidential information, while an EPD presents this data in an accessible and standardized manner.

Fællesudsigten, Denmark.

Different basis, but virtually the same result

The "old" EPD from 2018 was prepared based on data from two major projects, “Fællesudsigten” and “Kongens Torv”, which illustrated two extremes in the typical projects we work on, and these projects were used to illuminate all phases in the EPD. In the "new" EPD from December 2023, the data is mainly based on the total production for 2022. Despite this, we end up with virtually the same environmental impact for A1-A3, covering everything from the extraction of raw materials, transport to Hi-Con, all aspects of production (electricity, gas, molds, waste, etc.) until the elements leave the factory - what is also called cradle-to-gate. For the "old" one, the load was 1,063 kg CO2 eq, while in the new EPD, it is 1,050 kg CO2 eq. Cement accounts for 62%, so it is obvious that one of the areas we will be working on in the future is to reduce our environmental impact. Usually, the value for A1-A3, is used in connection with, for example, DGNB certification of a building.

Kongens Torv, Odense, Denmark.

A difference in the installation phase

For A4 to A5, covering transport to the construction site and assembly (including brackets, rods, etc.), there is a significant difference between the two EPDs. The old one, made as an average of the “Fællesudsigten” and “Kongens Torv” projects, resulted in a load of 254 kg CO2 eq, while the new one is based on the assembly of a single project, “Ryhavevej”, and gives a rather high value of 750 kg CO2 eq. This is because a project with Hi-Con's concept balconies was chosen, and here the balconies are very slim, so there is not much concrete volume to distribute the steel and assembly work on. In this case, brackets and steel rods account for 263 kg per m3 of UHPC.


Balcony's use phase and End-of-Life

The EPD also covers the use phase (B1-B7) as well as End-of-Life (C1-C4) and, finally, recycling (D). In the use phase, there is no impact since there is no need for maintenance (B2), repairs (B3), or any of the other remedial measures. Regarding the disposal of the balconies, we had the challenge that the first UHPC balconies were installed in 1997, and with an expected minimum lifespan of 100 years, we have no experience in dismantling balconies and either recycling or disposing of them. Our balconies are typically designed to be reusable – but this is something we have not done yet, and therefore, it could not be included in the EPD. It is based on crushing and recycling as road fill. If we want other considerations included in End-of-Life, we need to start preparing so that it can possibly be included in the next EPD, which must be prepared by 2028 at the latest.


Using our EPD in the construction industry

The EPD specifies the environmental impact for 1 m3, but to make sense when comparing different solutions, we typically convert the values into a functional unit, such as a m2 balcony. If, for example, we have an average thickness of 90 mm for one of our concept balconies (as shown in fig. 3), we will load A1-A3 with 94.5 kg CO2 eq per m2. When this load is assessed – spread over 50 years – in relation to the new climate requirements for larger new buildings, it is important that 25% of the balcony area can be counted

Would you like insights into how the implementation of UHPC balconies can affect your project?