Glossary

A list of terms and abbreviations used in the Assessment Method and throughout our website is given below. Click on a term or abbreviation to view the definition and explanation. If you have any questions, check our FAQ page, as your question may well be answered there. 

Terms

Allocation

Allocation of incoming and outgoing process or product system flows if one process generates or processes several materials or products.

Approved LCA expert

Environmental data that are offered by a producer or supplier for inclusion in the National Environmental Database are verified by an NMD recognised LCA expert. The recognised LCA expert verifies checks the data according to the NMD Verification Protocol. This expert is a third party, independent of the producer or supplier. The LCA expert is designated by Stichting NMD and is listed on the Read more about Recognised LCA experts.

Assesment Method

The Environmental Performance Assessment Method for Construction Works, or Assessment Method, is a uniform method to calculate the environmental performance of structures in an unambiguous, verifiable and reproducible way. This creates a level playing field for all involved stakeholders. > Read more about the Assesment Method

 

Background process

A process over which the producer/supplier of the product/process being assessed in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has no direct influence and that takes place elsewhere in the chain; the production of electricity or a raw material, for instance.

Basic profile

Environmental profile as part of an Environmental Performance Declaration (EPD) that is submitted to the NMD together with the product card and can also be submitted to the process database, if desired.

BENG

All new buildings applying for an environmental permit, both residential and non-residential, must meet the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (BENG) requirements from 1 January 2021. Applications for environmental permits for new government buildings have met BENG requirements since 1 January 2019 as the government aims to set an example. BENG requirements have been verified using NTA 8800 (Netherlands Technical Agreement) since 1 January 2021. The EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is being withdrawn.

Biogenic carbon

Carbon obtained from or captured in biomass.

Biomass

Material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological formations and material transformed into fossil material.

BREEAM-NL

Assessment method to determine a building’s sustainability performance. This method comprises four different quality marks. BREEAM uses Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) and other systems to calculate the environmental performance of the materials used.

Building or civil engineering component

Part of a structure (building or civil engineering structure) with a certain combination of products.
Examples include foundations, floor, roof, wall or systems.

Bulk material

Material that is delivered to the construction site separately (not formed, unpackaged) and poured or stored in a silo.
Examples include sand, gravel, soil, concrete mortar, etc.

By-product

One of two or more marketable materials, products or fuels from the same unit process that is not the subject of assessment during a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
NOTE: Co-products, by-products and products have the same status and are used to identify a number of main product flows from the same unit process. Waste is the only co-product, by-product and product output that is distinguished as not being a product.

Calculation tool

Calculation tools are online proprietary calculation software used to calculate the environmental performance of construction works based on environmental data in the NMD. The calculation tools validated by Stichting NMD for calculating environmental performance can be found on the Calculation Tools page.

Capital goods

Resources, such as relief supplies, equipment and buildings required to carry out an activity and which are used repeatedly.
The depreciation of these resources takes place over several products. Examples of capital goods include factories and machinery.

Characterisation

Characterisation is a step in the establishment of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). After making an inventory of all extractions from nature and emissions into nature, the extractions and emissions must be translated into a potential environmental impact per environmental impact category (the indicators that describe the environmental impact and the use of raw materials). Different substances contribute to a certain effect to varying degrees. For example, the emission of 1 kg of methane has an effect on global warming 23 times stronger than 1 kg of CO2. 1 kg of nitrous oxide is 296 times stronger than 1 kg of CO2. The factors used to calculate all environmental impact categories have been determined by the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) in Leiden.

Climate change

The environmental effect caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, expressed in kg CO2-eq.

Construction product

A product manufactured or processed for incorporation in construction works. Construction products are made from one or more materials. A distinction is made between generic and specific construction products. 

Construction waste

Construction waste includes:

  • product loss due to breakage during transport;
  • product loss due to damage/breakage at the construction site;
  • sawing waste at the construction site;
  • additional ordered material (to ensure a smooth process).

Losses due to incidents during the use phase (roof tiles blown off, broken glass) are not considered to be construction waste.

Construction work

All construction works or structures that are constructed or result from construction activities. This includes buildings and structures in earthworks, road, rail and hydraulic engineering sectors.

Ecoinvent

The Ecoinvent database is an extensive life cycle database. It provides a wealth of intervention-level data on production processes, energy generation and transport in Europe. Many Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) practitioners use this database. It is the standard for average environmental information in Western Europe. Data from the Ecoinvent database can also be used to calculate particulate matter formation and land use effects. Various materials are, however, not representative for Dutch production, such as concrete, sand, brick, construction steel, aerated concrete and limestone.

Element group code (NL-SfB), element code and product code

The first two digits of the elements in a building are coded according to NL-SfB (e.g. element group code 31: exterior wall openings). The NL-SfB code has been supplemented with its own coding (31.XX.YYY) for further subdivision into elements and products. 

End-of-Life scenarios

Division according to waste treatment/destination of a material/application combination. Processing options include landfill, incineration and recycling (with or without reprocessing). Read more about End-of-life scenarios

Environmental Cost Indicator (ECI)

A Life Cycle Assessment calculates the environmental impact of a material, product or structure. These environmental effects (together the environmental profile) are first weighted before being aggregated to one integral figure: the environmental cost in euros. The environmental costs are also known as shadow pricing. 

Environmental impact category

Category representing an environmental aspect, to which results from an LCI can be assigned.
Examples include resource depletion, increased greenhouse effect and human toxicity.

Environmental intervention

A flow that has been extracted from the environmental system and enters an economic system unprocessed, or a flow that leaves an economic system and enters the environmental system unprocessed. Examples include extraction of raw materials, extraction of land, emissions and noise emissions.

Environmental performance

Performance with respect to environmental impact and environmental aspects.

Environmental profile

The outcome of an LCA study is an environmental profile: A list of environmental effects expressed in various environmental impact categories. Examples include resource depletion, global warming potential and ozone layer depletion. The environmental profile shows which environmental impacts play the most important role in the life cycle of the product being assessed. 

EPD

An Environmental Product Declaration indicates a product’s quantified environmental data. The declaration is prepared based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) carried out in accordance with the international standard ISO 14025 (type III environmental declarations).

Functional equivalent

Quantified functional requirements and/or technical requirements for a building or an assembled system (parts of structures) used as a basis for comparison. 

Functional unit

An LCA is produced to compare the environmental impact of materials, products and elements. A unit of comparison, the functional unit, is determined to enable a comparison of the material, product or element. The functional unit provides quantified information about service life, use and application conditions. For a comparison it is relevant whether a product has a service life of 10, 25 or even 75 years. It indicates how often a product will have to be replaced within a building’s reference service life. The use and application conditions are also important. How much paint is needed per square metre to obtain a protective layer that can sufficiently withstand weathering? How much insulation is used to achieve a thermal resistance of 5 m²∙K/W? Certain conditions can also be important during use. For example, the functional unit of a roofing system for a flat roof is indicated by the thickness of the material per square metre. The size and slope of the roof are also described.

Generic data

Generic data are data that are considered representative for a certain product or product group. These data are determined by the NMD management organisation but are not verified in accordance with the NMD Verification Protocol. ‘Generic data’ refers to data from NMD category 3. The data are based on public data sources or on verified data from producers or sectors, as long as consent for data use has been given.

LCA practicioner

Environmental data are only included in the NMD if supplied by a producer or a supplier. The NMD Verification Protocol states which data should be collected. The person collecting these data in a Life Cycle Assessment is designated as an LCA practitioner. The producer or supplier appoints the LCA practitioner. The LCA practitioner can be from the producer or supplier’s own organisation or can be external, such as employees from specialist advice agencies.

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

The identification and evaluation of incoming and outgoing flows, and potential environmental impacts of a product system during its life cycle.

Materials for recycling

Materials for recycling are materials that result from a waste or other treatment process and have reached the end-of-waste phase. Materials for recycling can be used in another product system as secondary material.

Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR)

Software instrument to determine a building’s sustainability performance. Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) has five themes, Energy, Environment, Health, Use Quality and Future Value, which are all expressed as a rating (1-10). The Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) uses the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) method for the energy theme. Another theme is material use, for which GPR uses the Energy Performance of Building’s (EPB) method. When the Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) is applied integrally, it automatically includes a simple EPC calculation and a complete EPB calculation.

Non-renewable energy

Energy from sources that are not defined as renewable energy sources.

Non-renewable raw material

Raw materials that exist in finite amounts that cannot be replenished in a human timescale

Primary material

Construction material that is produced from primary raw materials.

Primary production

A production process based on raw materials.

Primary raw material

Raw material that is produced by the earth and is used by people for the production of materials and products.

Process database

A database with a collection of basic processes managed by Stichting NMD. The category 3 basic profiles are
generated via the process database.

Product

Products marketed by the supplier and purchased by the buyer for use during a structure’s life cycle. A product can be a physical product (e.g. 1 m2 of window frame), but also an activity (e.g. 1 tkm of rail transport).

Product card

A product card in the NMD contains information about a product (materials, quantities per FU, service life (cycles), emissions during use phase, construction waste and end-of-life scenarios).

Product category

Group of construction products that can fulfil equivalent functions.

Product category rules (PCR)

Set of specific regulations, requirements and guidelines for the development of type III environmental statements for one or more product categories. 

Product information categories

Category 1: proprietary data, verified according to the NMD Verification Protocol
Category 2: non-proprietary data, verified according to the NMD Verification Protocol
Category 3: non-proprietary data, not verified according to the NMD Verification Protocol
Also see the National Environmental Database (NMD) page.

Product system

Collection of unit processes with procedures (emissions and extractions) and product flows that fulfil one or more defined
functions describing the life cycle of a product.

Raw material equivalent

The raw material equivalent indicates the extent to which a primary production process (input module A, which can also contain secondary
raw materials) can replace the relevant secondary raw material as they are technically equivalent.

Recycling

Recovering materials and raw materials from discarded products and reusing them to make products.

Reference life cycle

A construction product’s service life known under certain conditions. This provides a reference of conditions for
use that can serve as a basis for estimating the service life under other use conditions.

Renewable energy

Energy from renewable, non-fossil sources, such as wind, sun, aerothermal energy, geothermal energy, hydrothermal energy, tidal energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, gas from waste water treatment plants and biogas.

Renewable raw material

A raw material for a product that can be grown, naturally replenished or cleansed in a human timescale. With good stewardship, a renewable resource can last forever. Examples include: trees in forests, grasses in grassland, fertile soil.

Reuse

Reusing construction products or construction components/elements in the same function, whether or not after processing. Examples are the reuse of insulation material as insulation material, a door as a door, a roof as a roof.

Secondary fuel

Any fuel recovered from previous use or from waste that replaces primary fuels. Processes from which a secondary fuel is produced are considered from the point at which the secondary fuel enters the system from the previous system. Every combustible material originating from previous use or from waste from the previous product system and used as fuel in a subsequent product system is a secondary fuel. Examples of primary fuels include coal, natural gas, biomass, etc. Examples of secondary fuels from previous use or waste include solvents, used wood, used tyres, used oil and animal fats.

Secondary material

Secondary materials are measured at the point at which the secondary material enters the system from another system. Secondary materials are measured at the point in which the secondary material enters the system from another system. Materials originating from previous use or from waste from one product system and used as input in another product system are secondary materials. Examples of secondary materials (to be measured at the system boundary) include recycled scrap metal, crushed concrete, broken glass, recycled wood chips and recycled plastic. As the system boundary of waste streams is at the point that ‘end-of-waste’ is achieved, a secondary material enters a product system as an input without environmental impact.

Secondary production

A production process based on secondary materials.

Specific data

Specific data are data about specific products and suppliers or a sector or group of producers and suppliers. ‘Specific data’ refers to data from NMD categories 1 and 2. These data are verified in accordance with the NMD Verification Protocol and are submitted to the NMD.

SimaPro

SimaPro is a software program designed for implementing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This program contains databases with environmental information that can be used to model product chains. The Ecoinvent database is the largest and most frequently used. SimaPro also provides various analysis methods to calculate all the environmental effects of materials, processes, means of transport and energy carriers.

Substance group

Group of substances, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx). This is in contrast to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Some measurement methods present a quantity of a certain substance group. Substance groups cannot always be characterised properly.

Specific details

Data that are representative for a product, project, product group or construction process, delivered by one supplier.

Surcharge factor

Factor by which environmental data (the LCA results) not verified according to the NMD Verification Protocol are given a surcharge.

Unit process

The smallest element as part of in the LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) in which the in and out flows are quantified. 

Volume transport factor

Most transport models assume mass transport (mass x distance; tonne x km). Products with a low density
should be corrected for this. In the case of mass transport the volume transport factor is 1.

Waste

Substance or object that the owner discards or intends or is required to discard.

Abbreviations

B & U

Civil and Utility Construction

BENG

All new buildings applying for an environmental permit, both residential and non-residential, must meet the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (BENG) requirements from 1 January 2021. Applications for environmental permits for new government buildings have met BENG requirements since 1 January 2019 as the government aims to set an example. BENG requirements have been verified using NTA 8800 (Netherlands Technical Agreement) since 1 January 2021. The EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is being withdrawn.

BREEAM-NL

Assessment method to determine a building’s sustainability performance. This method comprises four different quality marks. BREEAM uses Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) and other systems to calculate the environmental performance of the materials used.

c-PCR

Complementary Product Category Rules

ECI

Environmental Cost Indicator

EPB (MPG)

Energy Performance of Buildings

EPD

A product’s Environmental Product Declaration

MRPI (ERPI)

Environmentally Relevant Product Information

ESL

Estimated service life

GFA

Gross Floor Area

Infrastructure Project

Civil engineering structures

IP

Waste incineration plant

LCA

Life Cycle Assessment

LCI

Life Cycle Inventory

LCIA

Life Cycle Impact Assessment

LHV

Lower Heating Values

Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR)

Software instrument to determine a building’s sustainability performance. Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) has five themes, which are all expressed as a rating (1-10). The Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) uses the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) method for the energy theme. Another theme is material use, for which GPR uses the Energy Performance of Building’s (EPB) method. When the Municipal Practice Guideline for Buildings (GPR) is applied integrally, it automatically includes a simple EPC calculation and a complete EPB calculation.

NMD

National Environmental Database

PCR

Product Category Rules

RSL

Reference Service Life

Stichting NMD

Stichting National Environmental Database

TIC

Technical Committee (advisory body for Stichting NMD)

Environmental impact category abbreviations

ADP

Abiotic Depletion Potential
Depletion of abiotic raw materials. Measure of scarcity of raw material with respect to
reference resource antimony (Sb)

AP

Acidification Potential
Acidification in SO2 equivalents

CTU

Comparative Toxic Units
Used to quantify the interactions of toxicants in binary mixtures of chemicals

EP

Eutrophication Potential
Eutrophication in PO4 equivalents

FAETP

Freshwater Aquatic Ecotoxicity potential
Freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity relative to 1.4-Dichlorobenzene

GWP 100j

Global Warming Potential
Global warming potential expressed in CO2 equivalents The addition of 100 years relates to the timescale

GWP - luluc

Global Warming Potential – land use and land use change
Global warming due to land use and changes in land use, expressed in
CO2 equivalents

HTP

Human Toxicity Potential
Human toxicity relative to 1.4-Dichlorobenzene

MAETP

Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity Potential
Marine aquatic ecotoxicity relative to 1.4-Dichlorobenzene

ODP

Ozone Depletion Potential
Measure of ozone layer depletion, in CFC-11 equivalents.

PM

Particulate Matter
Particulates

POCP

Photo-Oxidant Creation Potential
Photochemical oxidant formation (smog formation), in ethylene (C2H4) equivalents

TETP

Terrestrial Ecotoxicity Potential
Terrestrial ecotoxicity relative to 1.4-Dichlorobenzene

WDP

Water Deprivation Potential
Potential water shortage