Concrete, composites, steel and wood stakeholders pen Utility Pole PCR

Sources: American Composites Manufacturers Association, Arlington, Va.; CP staff

Cambridge, Mass.-based Product Category Rule program operator Sustainable Minds LLC has published the Utility Pole PCR, providing a life cycle assessment applicable to Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for concrete, composite, steel or wood power distribution structures. The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) initiated development of the document through a committee with representatives of peer groups or companies spanning the four pole materials. Concrete participants included National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Slag Cement Association and Valmont Industries Utility Division staff. 

Posted here, the Utility Pole PCR equips Valmont Utility to develop an ISO 14025-level EPD for its spun prestressed concrete structures.

The committee functioned as a consensus panel to establish protocols for environmental impact assessment and structure service life references. Members surveyed utility pole users to define the PCR’s functional unit as a pole with 40- or 80-year estimated service life. The functional unit and other parameters reflect the document’s adherence to ISO 14025 and ISO 21930 plus American Center for Life Cycle Assessment standards. Utility Pole PCR functional performance criteria draws on ASTM C1089-19, Standard Specification for Spun Cast Prestressed Concrete Poles and Canadian Standards Association A14:07 – Concrete Poles, plus ACMA, American National Standards Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers companions.  

The new rule enables producers to generate utility pole EPDs, which standardize information on environmental impacts associated with structure fabrication and use. The declarations inform power distribution infrastructure owners and engineers’ material selection and coincide with rules incentivizing or mandating EPD submittals for federally funded projects. Key Utility Pole PCR features include its multi-material approach, incorporating insights from various pole manufacturing sectors and emphasis on conveying use-phase environmental impacts and benefits in EPDs.  

“The finalization of the Utility Pole Product Category Rule represents a collaborative effort to enhance sustainability and transparency within the utility pole manufacturing sector,” says ACMA CEO Cindy Squires, Esq. “We commend all stakeholders involved for their dedication to advancing environmentally responsible practices and look forward to the positive impact this PCR will have on infrastructure development.”

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