Holcim ViroDecs - A First For Australian Concrete

Holcim ViroDecsTM. A first for Australian Concrete

Holcim Australia (Holcim) has become the first concrete company in Australia to embark on developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its Readymix Concrete.

A range of EPDs, under the ViroDecsTM brand name, will be developed and registered under the Australasian EPD Programme in early 2019.

The initiative constitutes a major investment in comprehensively analysing and communicating to customers the embodied environmental impacts of Holcim’s Readymix Concrete. Data was collected from across Holcim’s Australian operations, which includes over 190 Holcim concrete batching plants and 65 Holcim quarries in Australia earlier this year, to meet the rigorous data quality requirements in the ISO and EN standards for Environmental Product Declarations. The data will feed into an ISO14044 compliant Life Cycle Assessment, to be carried out by specialist practitioners and independently reviewed by an approved, third-party verifier. Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will be the culmination of this work: verified documents that detail the ‘cradle to gate’ environmental impacts of Holcim’s Readymix Concrete.

The development of a concrete EPD is a critical  ‘missing’ piece to having all key infrastructure and building products represented by an EPD. Its publication will support designers and developers to drive improved  sustainable procurement and materials selection.

“The advent of Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will help shape the way the construction industry analyses the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure in the future,” says National Sales and Marketing Manager Glenn Simpkin.

“By bringing concrete products on board to the EPD program in Australia, Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will vastly increase the accessibility of life cycle data for construction  materials  and thus the speed of life cycle assessments, enabling greater depth of analysis in the same timeframe. Going from generic environmental information to product, company and geographically-specific information will allow for deeper, broader and more bespoke analysis with greater confidence in the results.”

Beyond providing greater transparency, Holcim’s ViroDecsTM also provide a rigorous, science-based framework for driving environmental improvement throughout Holcim’s sites and supply chains. It will lead the way for other concrete providers to follow suit, fostering a whole-of-life approach in the Australian building products sector.

Holcim’s ViroDecsTM also has the potential to challenge views on environmental sustainability, by supporting the standardisation and transparency of environmental claims.

Holcim’s ViroDecsTM can be directly taken up by a range of existing tools and rating schemes. The data can be imported into digital industry tools such as eTool - a web-based Life Cycle Design app for the built form used by ESD designers and developers and the IS Materials Calculator, used to assess a project’s embodied GHG emissions from materials use and their Mat-1 IS points. EPDs can also be used to gain points under the Mat-2 credit of the IS Rating scheme and Credit 21 of the Green Star As Built rating scheme, which Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will enable for Readymix Concrete as an industry first upon publication.

As a result, Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will offer an advantage to customers wanting to be leaders in the sustainable infrastructure and building industry, currently led by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, and Green Building Council of Australia. This topic will be explored by Holcim’s National Approvals and Sustainable Development Manager, Cyril Giraud, at the Innovation Panel on Day 1 of the ISCA Conference 2018 next week.

“The information from Holcim’s ViroDecsTM can be used by a range of our customers and their associates, from architects, engineers, developers and builders, to drive reductions in the embodied environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure at the design and specification stage,” says National Approvals and Sustainable Development Manager Cyril Giraud.

“To build infrastructure and buildings that have a lower environmental impact requires smarter design, informed by accurate and relevant environmental data. Holcim’s ViroDecsTM set a very clear commitment to providing accurate and transparent environmental data for our customers and a framework for continued improvement on Holcim’s part,” says Cyril.

Holcim’s ViroDecsTM is just one of a series of new sustainability measures driven by the objectives of the global LafargeHolcim 2030 Sustainability Plan. The 2030 Plan supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, while articulating our own commitment to improving sustainability outcomes for our operations and customers.

The LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan is available to view online, and incorporates sustainability targets across matters of innovation, climate, circular economy, water, nature, people and communities.

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