Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)
LCI data is a vital tool for the detailed study of the life-cycle environmental impacts of products and services. However, LCI data is not easy for product users to interpret and it is now increasingly common to communicate environmental performance through the simpler format of an environmental product declaration (EPD). EGGA has developed a Pan-European LCI study of an average galvanized steel product.
The final result of that work was a life-cycle inventory data set for the batch galvanizing process, based on data submitted by members of EGGA National Associations from their own operations according to ISO 14040/14044. The average energy, resource consumption and emission of substances to the environment, resulting from a LCI of a representative sample of plants operating at European level, were calculated according to the defined system boundaries.
Environmental product data for batch galvanizing is available for users and policy makers.
Hot dip galvanizing is a service of corrosion protection that may be supplied from a variety of operators that will not be identifiable at the specification stage in, for example, construction projects. A ‘corporate’ EPD may therefore be less useful for this type of corrosion protection service. Against this background, the European General Galvanizers Association (EGGA) appointed the Italian consultancy, Life Cycle Engineering, to generate a ‘sectoral’ EPD for the hot dip galvanizing of steel products.
The EPD is based on a sample covering more than 1 million tonnes (~19%) of the production from 66 companies in 14 countries for plants that were deemed highly representative of the European industry. In accordance with rules provided by the International EPD® System: PCR 2011:16 “Corrosion protection of fabricated steel products” version 2.1 and according to International Standard ISO 14040 Series on Life Cycle Assessment declared unit (the reference unit to which results are related) is presented for 1 year of protection of 1 m2 steel plate of 8mm thickness, calculated on the basis of the life span of 63 years predicted using EN ISO 14713-1. The results show that the environmental burdens of galvanizing are a very small proportion of the overall product (~5% for Global Warming Potential).
The galvanizing industry also works closely with the steel construction industry at national level to ensure that transparent and robust environmental data is available for galvanized steel products where it is required:
- In Germany, bauforumstahl e.V. and Industrieverband Feuerverzinken e.V. has cooperated to publish an EPD “Hot-dip galvanized structural steels: Open rolled sections and heavy plates” in accordance with the requirements of the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V.
- In the Netherlands, Zink Info Benelux has worked with steel industry partners to include data on galvanized steel in the national Milieu Relevant Product Informatie (MRPI) database for construction products.
- In France, Galvazinc has prepared a Fiche de Déclaration Environnementale et Sanitaire (FDES) for galvanized steel.
A simplified summary of the EPD results for the main environmental impact indicators required by the PCR are shown opposite. For details of the full EPD, visit: www.egga.com.