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How to Use this Guide

This document is split into five Parts:

Part 1 - Introduction:

The introduction outlines the intent of the guide and gives the overall structure. The life cycle assessment method is introduced along with what has been chosen to be modelled and why.

Part 2 - How this Guide was compiled:

This section looks in more detail at the life cycle assessment method used in the guide. It outlines which environmental and social factors are being measured and how the ratings are obtained.

Part 3 - Production Stages:

This part of the guide provides background on the social and environmental impacts of the individual stages of production. Guidance then follows on the relative importance of the different production stages, the choices available and the implications of those choices. This part of the guide is designed for situations where a manufacturer is considering just one specific part of the process (eg the mixing stage), as well as to provide greater detail and background information alongside other parts of the guide.

Part 4 - Manufacturing Processes:

This part provides detailed information on the environmental and social impacts of each of the main composite manufacturing processes, showing which stages of each process have the greatest effect. Guidance is also included on process variations that can improve or worsen the environmental impact. Guidance is also included on process variations that can improve or worsen the environmental impact.

Part 5 - Green Guide Ratings:

This part contains the A to E Green Guide ratings for a wide range of composite materials and processes, for each of the three product types. For each product type direct comparisons can be made between different process and material choices.

BRE Green Guides BRE use LCA to provide guidance on the environmental impacts of construction products and processes. They have produced a number of tools and publications as part of this work, one of which is the Green Guide to Specification1, which rates building materials and components on a scale of A to C. This document has been the basis for this new guide on composites. In common with BRE's other LCA tools and publications, this Green Guide uses the BRE Environmental Profiles Methodology as its LCA approach. An LCA Methodology is a description of the rules that need to be followed to ensure that the LCA is completed fairly and that the results can be used for comparison. The BRE Environmental Profiles Methodology is compliant with a number of ISO standards (ISO 14040 series) which have been developed to standardise and define the manner in which life cycle assessments should be undertaken. The reader should also be aware of ISO standard 14020 on Environmental Labels and Declarations.

Further information on the BRE Environmental Profiles Methodology can be found on the BRE website http://www.bre.co.uk/envprofiles

1 The Green Guide to Specification: Third Edition, Jane Anderson, David Shiers and Mike Sinclair, Blackwell Science, Oxford, 2002.