How do you get your data?

EPDs get added to EC3 in a few different ways.

  1. Automatic digital transfer by LCA developers like Climate Earth and Smart EPD (this option is optimal and has the fewest errors)

  2. Program Operator platforms and other EPD aggregator websites (like NRMCA and NAPA websites)

  3. PDF documents uploaded directly to EC3 by users, including architects, engineers, contractors, manufacturers, and others.

Our team does not track or search for EPDs on manufacturers’ own websites, but we encourage manufacturers with EPDs to upload their data to EC3.

EPDs from aggregated sources and direct uploads to EC3 are collected in their original PDF form, then machine-read, parsed by our scripts, and checked for quality before being searchable within Find & Compare Materials or Plan & Compare Buildings.

Does EC3 keep expired EPDs? Why? For how long?

Yes, expired EPDs stay in the database indefinitely but are not shown in new user searches unless someone intentionally removes the default Valid After filter when searching.

We do not delete any EPD data because it may be linked to users’ past projects and the EPD links are used for documentation, for example when reporting calculations for LEED certification. We need the EPDs to remain in the database for the record.

When a new EPD is published, does the old one get deleted?

It depends on the nature of the new EPD. If the EPD is:

1) a brand new calculation of an existing product that uses newer primary data, and would be considered a new EPD for the same product(s), then we set the older EPD’s expiration date to the day of the publication of the newer EPD, and create a new EPD entry for the new EPD.

2) a correction to an existing EPD, i.e., a new version of an EPD that otherwise remains representative of the same exact product(s), then we correct the existing EPD and upload the corrected PDF document.

What is a 'duplicate entry' in EC3? Is that when the same EPD gets entered twice? How might that happen and how does it get handled?

Because we allow users to enter EPDs themselves, and EPDs often float around in multiple versions, we sometimes get the same EPD multiple times without catching it immediately. (Note: any small change to an EPD, including missing text, typos, or formatting changes and changes of logos, may cause our system not to flag the EPD as ‘already existing’) We periodically hunt for duplicates and remove duplicates when identified by users. If you find what you think is a duplicate, please report it using the Report Bugs & Feedback button.

I uploaded an EPD to EC3 but I can't see it. Why? When will it be searchable?

When you upload a PDF, our algorithms try to extract as much data from the PDF as they can. However, EPDs come in many different formats which is a major challenge for our algorithms. When our quality assurance checks identify missing or incorrect fields after the extraction process, they need to go through another review and manual fixing, which can extend the time it takes for the EPD to show up in EC3.

If you are a manufacturer getting a brand new EPD, ask your Program Operator to publish the EPD digitally to openEPD during publishing, that way the EPD shows up in EC3 immediately without the need for our team to process the PDF document.


How do I change my email address?

We do not allow change of email addresses for security purposes. When you change employers, please create a new EC3 account using your new email address and company affiliation.

Why am I not receiving the registration confirmation email?

Sometimes our automated emails get blocked by strict spam filters. Please whitelist automated-emails@buildingtransparency.org and try re-sending the confirmation email again.

How do I become a Professional user?

Make sure you 1) use a business email, 2) are connected to an employer, and 3) fill out your profession.


How is the 80% confidence score of an EPD calculated? Is there documentation?

Please see the Uncertainty & Statistics section. Our default uncertainty factors are developed for each product category and applied to EPDs using a checkbox system seen on each EPDs page and shown below. Our methodology builds on work published by Waldman et al and the IPCC.

Searching for Data

Yes, you can include expired EPDs in searches by expanding the “More” section of the search and changing the “Valid After” date. You can also removing the “Valid After” filter altogether by clicking the red X at the bottom of the search window.

I don’t see data for what I need. Can I import EPDs myself?

Yes, you can import EPDs to EC3 by following the steps in Add EPDs to EC3.

How long does it take for imported EPDs to show up in EC3?

The imported EPDs typically appear in the database within 24 hours, unless our scripts cannot capture all relevant data. If you see messages “Parsed with Errors” or “Parsing Failed” that means that our scripts had issues with the EPD format and our team will need to review and fix the EPD manually - this may take longer.

Depending on how many EPDs and how busy our team is at the time it can be days to weeks - if you need something quickly you can submit a ticket using the Report Bugs & Feedback button in EC3.

I have uploaded new EPD only to receive a message that the EPD is already in the database. Is there an easy way for me to select that exact product in my Building Project from the EPD page?

Unfortunately no, there currently isn't a quick way to add the EPD to a project from the EPD page. The best is to open up another EC3 tab with the Building Project side-by-side with the EPD page, Search for a new material in the Building Project and follow these steps: 1) navigate to the product category shown at the top of the EPD page, 2) click Next and then Search to find all EPDs in that category, 3) scroll down and type in the product name, manufacturer, and/or plant name in the table headers, this will filter for the product you are looking for.

Figure 1: Steps 1 and 2.

Figure 2: Steps 3 and 4.

The Import EPD page says my imported product is already in the database but I can’t find it when searching for materials, why?

There can be a couple of reasons why you can't find an EPD through Find&Compare Materials even though we have it in the database. 1) The EPD may be expired. There is a default search filter applied called, for example, "Valid After: 2022-02-22". This filter defaults to today's date and any EPDs that expire before that “Valid After” date won't show up. You can try to remove the “Valid After” filter and see if the EPD shows up then. If it does not appear, it is likely that 2) The EPD is in our database but hasn't been successfully imported with all the required fields present, therefore it will not be searchable and cannot be added to a building project. You can tell an EPD has this problem if you see the red "QA Errors" button in the top right corner of the digitized EPD page, as shown below. In this case, you can "Report Bugs & Feedback" about this EPD and someone on our team will see if the EPD can be fixed and made searchable.

LCIA Methods

Many EPDs report CML 2001 LCIA method. Is there a reason this isn't included under the user preferences? Is the 3% LCIA uncertainty factor added because of the earlier version of the CML used?

The LCIA methods (the CML ones specifically) are super confusing. The Method itself is often called CML-IA or CML2001 and then has multiple versions based on the year of release. So for example what we call CML 2016 in EC3 is really CML2001 version 4.8 updated in 2016.

User settings only shows 3 LCIA methods, while EPDs may have many others. The reason for including only the 3 is that those are the only current methods, all the other ones are outdated so we didn't see the need to include them in the user settings even though they can be assigned to older EPDs. Yes, we do add the 3% even if it is simply a different version of the same LCIA method, like CML 2016 vs CML 2012.

At the end of the day, there are differences in each of these methods which in some cases can yield non-neglibile differences in the LCA results. We can either take this difference into account or say the EPDs are not comparable - the latter would be a harsh and not useful simplification. Our approach is still a simplification but tries to address these differences without simply throwing out the EPDs altogether.

The uncertainty factor for the same product appears differently on my end compared to my colleague's end. Why?

This is most likely a result of the LCIA method between your user account and the EPD (not) matching. If you go into your user profile, there is a setting for "Preferred LCIA Method" which then removes the LCIA method uncertainty for any EPD that reports results in your preferred method, and includes uncertainty for any EPD whose results doesn't match your method. You and the other user likely have different preferred LCIA method, and only one of your preferences matches this particular EPD.

PCR Differences

The plant name mentions it is a Wire mill, but is linked to an EPD for bar reinforcing. Why? Is this an error?

It's just a name and it's the name of the plant, not necessarily of the product the plant makes. Manufacturers can edit the address and names of their own plants, so I think Nucor decided to add the "Bar Mill" or "Wire" to their own mills, perhaps without fully knowing themselves that the bar EPD includes a plant they previously named "Wire". I can look into this further and potentially have them change the plant names, but overall it doesn't affect any carbon calculations (besides being confusing to users).

Two EPDs follow different PCRs, does this mean the EPDs are not comparable? Why does EC3 compare them?

There are some PCRs that are different, but often the LCA rules on different versions of PCRs for the same product category are virtually the same. There are of course exceptions to this, which we are working on mapping better going forward.


Can I get access to Pilot categories?

Pilot categories are still in various stages of development as EPDs are populated and performance filters and uncertainty analysis have to be completed. Our pilot partners get early access to these categories to help us build them out appropriately for broader use. Pilot partnership typically comes with a financial and time commitment, but if you are interested email a Building Transparency staff member and we can provide more details.


Why are some glazing EPDs in glass panes and some in IGUs? Why aren’t all glass categories using an area declared unit?

Some glass-related EPDs are reported in mass and some in area. They do split between glass and IGUs but there are conflicting ways these products are reported. The defining property is the declared unit for us, which currently defines if an EPD ends up in Glass Panes (mass declared unit) or IGUs (area declared unit).

The glass panes category generally only has single window panes, which means you can use the GWP per mass to calculate your own IGU impact by taking into account glass density (roughly 2.5 kg per m2 per mm thickness) the thickness of each glass pane, and the number of panes. In a Building Planner you can enter the full equation into the quantity field and then link the Glass Panes search to it. You can hen add window, curtainwall, or other frames as a separate components of the whole glazing assembly.

There are some EPDs that report impacts for a predefined thickness, number of panes, and other coatings in a whole assembly fashion. These EPDs are reported on an area basis, but then there may be EPDs for double pane vs triple pane IGUs side-by-side. The goal then is to filter by IGUs of some minimal U-value. I can't say that the U-values (or other performance characteristics) are tracked well in EPDs or in EC3 at this moment so it is always a good idea to double-check that your particular comparison of products in the IGU category makes sense.

As mentioned, we are working on improvements to this category and your feedback and questions are very helpful for this effort.


What is the difference between CLF Baseline, CATEGORY and THIS EPD values?

The 20th and 80th perentile for "THIS EPD" are calculated using the average GWP reported on the EPD +/- the default uncertainty factors. In this case THIS EPDs uncertainty is related to Supply Chain, Batch, and LCIA Match.

The 20th and 80th percentile for CATEGORY is the summary statistic for all similar EPDs in the database and what their GWPs are. So it's a comparison of all EPDs in this CATEGORY on the left, vs THIS EPD on the right.

The CLF Baseline is like the 80th percentile value for the CATEGORY, except it was based on CLF's research at a certain point in time, so it doesn't change everytime an EPD is added to EC3. The live statistics do change ..ith new EPDs in EC3.

Is there any way to ignore the extreme values on EPD comparison diagrams? The zoom function doesn't seem to work as expected.

The Zoom function only zooms across the horizontal axis, zooming onto select manufacturers or plants. It doesn't zoom to a range of GWP values shown across the vertical axis. This is by design.

One way to exclude extreme values from the comparison diagrams is to specify maximum GWP in the performance specifications field called "EC3 / Declared Unit".


Can I have multiple insulations within a single wall cavity?

Yes, you can have multiple insulation types in a wall cavity. You can define one insulation type with the stud layer and add another insulation type as an accessory material to that same wall family. You could also define the stud layer without insulation and have both types of insulation added as accessory materials.

To do this, right click the wall family and select "Add accessory material" then proceed with defining that second insulation layer. You can also see this done in one of our tutorials at choosetally.com/tutorials - scroll down to the "Defining Materials" video and fast forward to 3:30.


We received a TallyCAT release email from ceo@c-change-labs.com. Our IT department have rightly challenged the TallyCAT installation file referenced in the email because it is being hosted on a google drive. Is the TallyCAT announcement email and related Google Drive links legitimate?

Yes, this is indeed a legitimate email and link to the TallyCAT installer. We host it in this way because of the beta nature of the tool and frequent updates - we update the installer every few weeks at this time and put all related updates in the same Google drive location. If you or your company has any concerns, please contact us to confirm the specific links.

Is tallyCAT replacing tallyLCA? What’s the difference?

tallyCAT is currently a complementary tool to tallyLCA and does not replace it. tallyLCA uses a consistent background LCA database which enables the tool to cover all life cycle stages and environmental impact categories necessary for reporting to LEED and other building certification programs. The tool is best used for design decisions that consider comparisons across material and product types. tallyCAT only focuses on upfront carbon (i.e., the Global Warming Potential of material production) and is most useful for sourcing decisions that consider comparisons within material and product types, as it uses manufacturer-specific data from Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

The ultimate goal is for the two tools to be fully integrated, but we are some ways away from that.


I imported BIM360 project to EC3 and shared it with a colleague but he can not use the "Show 3D Model" window. Why?

Users can only import BIM360 projects and view the 3D model if they have access to the particular project in BIM360. If you share just the EC3 project with someone (via EC3) then that person will be able to see the EC3 project and all of its quantities and material assignments, but not necessarily be able to see the 3D model - this is because the 3D model is BIM360 interface, not EC3, we simply show you BIM360 within an EC3 window. That means that whoever is trying to view the 3D model has to have access to the same project on BIM360 in addition to having access in EC3.

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