Standardization and existing tools
- for Materials Passports
There are several existing tools with thematic relations to Materials Passports. These include tools aimed at measurement and declaration of impacts on environmental indicators such as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD). Tools aimed at inventorying compositional data such as Bills of Materials and Bills of Substances. Tools detailing technical and static properties such as Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and tools which share goals and mechanisms for action with Materials Passports, exemplified in the ‘Building a circular future’ report (3XN, 2016), which gives a detailed and accurate account of passports.
Passports have the potential to incorporate existing mechanisms such as TDS, MSDS, EPD, Bill of Materials, Bill of Substances, et cetera where relevant as support for circularity claims. This avoids reproducing data and reinventing the wheel, which are key concerns of product manufacturers and their suppliers, who will play an important part in populating passports.
Materials Passports are about realising the full circular potential of products. This can be supported by measurements of impacts, which includes beneficial impacts of products in their application such as improved air quality. Measurements of negative impacts however is not a goal in itself for passports. Similarly, compositional data may be used to support claims and information about the circular potential of products, but passports are not limited to compositional data on products or buildings. This is important as the ingredients list analogy is easy to make. Compositional data is relevant to understand the circular potential of products, but it may not be sufficient.
Illustrative of the distinctiveness of passports is that they hold dynamic data. Data which can be dependent on the spatial or temporal context products are used in. As mentioned earlier the way a product is connected to a building is vital to its circular potential. A reversible connection may be preferable to the product being glued in place with no chance of uncontaminated recovery. It is also important to know whether maintenance has taken place and whether parts were replaced, as this potentially changes the materials and products that are available at time of recovery, and their value for recovery. As passports have the ambition to inspire action related to the CE these are important questions that passports should be able to answer, and which are generally not answered by the traditional tools mentioned.
Building information modelling (BIM) is an important investigation in the BAMB project. For Materials Passports to work it is important that there is alignment between the data that can sit in the Materials Passports Platform, and the data available in BIM and BIM-objects. Part of the complexity is the current lack of standardization of BIM. For passports it is important that for instance BIM-objects can be connected to the relevant products. The other way around, viewing passport data in BIM, sounds appealing, but as 3XN states “…it is recommended that only information identifying the unique element be entered into the model, as that would allow the model to operate faster. As long as all elements of the structure are uniquely identifiable in the model, all other information on the unique characteristics of the structural elements can be kept in a separate database, as long as there is access to this information.” (3XN, 2016). To clarify, the ‘model’ referred to is the BIM or the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) model. The “Database” refers to the Materials Passport Database.