The new natureplus Basic Guideline “Climate Compatibility and Energy Efficiency” now allows an evaluation of the ecological performance of certified building products. In future, it should be possible to indicate the “Carbon Footprint”.
After repeated consultation with interested parties, the natureplus Criteria Commission has adopted the new GL 5020 Basic Guideline “Climate Compatibility and Energy Efficiency”. It has now officially entered into force with the approval of the Board of Directors. This new guideline lays down specific requirements for almost all product groups for which natureplus awards its Ecolabel, with regard to their climate compatibility and energy efficiency during the manufacturing phase. The only exceptions are building elements and products composed of different materials.
LCA’s evaluated for the first time – with only a few relevant indicators
Through the definition of requirements in this area, natureplus is emphasising the relevance of its label even more strongly than before in terms of climate and environmental protection, and is breaking new ground in this respect. Up to now there have only been voluntary manufacturer’s declarations regarding the environmentally relevant properties of building products (EPDs), natureplus is now going one step further, making the life cycle assessments comparable and using them for evaluation. To this end, the environmental organisation simplifies data evaluation and concentrates on a small number of relevant indicators: For the evaluation of climate compatibility, GL 5020 uses the Carbon Footprint for Products (CFP) in accordance with EN ISO 14067:2018. Energy efficiency is assessed on the basis of the use of energetically used renewable and non-renewable primary energy (PEE). A minimum share of renewable primary energy is also required. In order to document the medium-term contribution of products to carbon storage, the greenhouse potential from the uptake and emission of biogenic carbon (GWP biogenic) is shown separately.
Good participation in the Hearing
Industry’s strong interest in this new regulation was demonstrated by its participation in the second hearing, which took place in April/May under corona conditions by written procedure. The concerns and suggestions expressed were dealt with by the Criteria Commission in several meetings, which led to numerous amendments and additions to the document finally adopted. A frequently expressed concern that the new regulation would lead to additional work and double burdens for manufacturers was dispelled. External Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) can now be used for product evaluation following a recognition procedure.
PCR goes online for the first time
Because the actual Guideline 5020 is rather slim, the Criteria Commission decided in this case to also publish the provisions for the execution of the test, the so-called Product Category Rules (PCR), in order to give the experts a look behind the scenes of this assessment. This transparent presentation is very important to natureplus and also to the companies concerned, as it underlines the credibility of the natureplus label. This transparency should also apply to all other tests in the future. The tests themselves are carried out by the independent natureplus INSTITUTE SCE in accordance with the natureplus Implementation Regulations mentioned above.
Future adaptation and voluntary declaration
The requirements defined by natureplus designate a minimum level of climate compatibility and energy efficiency which, from natureplus’s point of view, is currently ecologically justifiable and must be complied with in all cases. The requirements also include a critical area within which requirements for the improvement of climate compatibility and energy efficiency can be issued. The requirements now laid down are to be regularly reviewed and adapted to technical progress in order to clarify the objective of a medium-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It is also planned to give companies the opportunity to show the carbon footprint, carbon storage and carbon offsets of their products in an appropriate form to be determined.