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LCA profiles for building components: strategies for the early design process

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-11-07, 00:00 authored by Rob Marsh

Construction professionals are required to integrate environmental concerns in the earliest design phases. However, environmental assessments need large amounts of precise data that are typically not available in the early design process, as most variables are still fluid. To address this concern, a new approach explores how environmental information on building components can be simplified for strategic use early in the design process in a Danish context. In this paper, life cycle assessments (LCAs) are undertaken for several hundred typical external wall solutions, based on relevant standards. A full bivariate linear regression analysis is performed, showing statistically significant correlations with strong direct relationships between environmental impact categories. A simplified LCA profile consisting of total primary energy, global warming potential and acidification potential is developed. This simplified LCA profile presents environmental data in a more understandable way, creating a strategic overview that can be easily used by non-technical clients and construction professionals in the early design stages. This has a scientific and statistical validity generated by environmental assessment standards, and creates a parallel between the precision of the approach and its time of use in the design process.