Assessing buildings’ absolute environmental sustainability performance using LCA focusing on climate change impacts

Paper

Pernille Krogh Ohms*, Camilla Ernst Andersen, Freja Nygaard Rasmussen, Morten Ryberg, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Morten Birkved, Harpa Birgisdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The building sector is of major concern when seeking to reduce the environmental impact of our society. A common tool often used in certification systems for quantification of environmental impacts is Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). LCAs are traditionally used for relative comparisons, i.e. to assess whether one product or service performs better than another. Recently, a method for absolute evaluations based on the Planetary Boundaries, was coupled with LCA in order to define the boundary between environmental sustainability and unsustainability. In this study Planetary Boundaries-based Life Cycle Impact Assessment method has been applied to a case study of six single family stand-alone dwellings to assess whether these buildings can be considered absolute sustainable relative to the Planetary Boundaries. The results from the assessment indicate that irrespective of the design strategy used for the six houses and future increase in the use of renewables for electricity and heat production, it is unlikely that any of these houses can be regarded as sustainable in absolute terms. This underlines that more radical changes are needed in the way buildings are constructed and used in order for buildings to become environmentally sustainable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012058
JournalI O P Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Volume352
Issue number1
Number of pages8
ISSN1755-1307
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event1st Nordic conference on Zero Emission and Energy Buildings - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 6 Nov 20197 Nov 2019

Conference

Conference1st Nordic conference on Zero Emission and Energy Buildings
CountryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period06/11/201907/11/2019

Cite this

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title = "Assessing buildings’ absolute environmental sustainability performance using LCA focusing on climate change impacts: Paper",
abstract = "The building sector is of major concern when seeking to reduce the environmental impact of our society. A common tool often used in certification systems for quantification of environmental impacts is Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). LCAs are traditionally used for relative comparisons, i.e. to assess whether one product or service performs better than another. Recently, a method for absolute evaluations based on the Planetary Boundaries, was coupled with LCA in order to define the boundary between environmental sustainability and unsustainability. In this study Planetary Boundaries-based Life Cycle Impact Assessment method has been applied to a case study of six single family stand-alone dwellings to assess whether these buildings can be considered absolute sustainable relative to the Planetary Boundaries. The results from the assessment indicate that irrespective of the design strategy used for the six houses and future increase in the use of renewables for electricity and heat production, it is unlikely that any of these houses can be regarded as sustainable in absolute terms. This underlines that more radical changes are needed in the way buildings are constructed and used in order for buildings to become environmentally sustainable.",
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language = "English",
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journal = "I O P Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science",
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Assessing buildings’ absolute environmental sustainability performance using LCA focusing on climate change impacts : Paper. / Ohms, Pernille Krogh; Andersen, Camilla Ernst; Rasmussen, Freja Nygaard; Ryberg, Morten; Hauschild, Michael Zwicky; Birkved, Morten; Birgisdottir, Harpa.

In: I O P Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Vol. 352, No. 1, 012058, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - The building sector is of major concern when seeking to reduce the environmental impact of our society. A common tool often used in certification systems for quantification of environmental impacts is Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). LCAs are traditionally used for relative comparisons, i.e. to assess whether one product or service performs better than another. Recently, a method for absolute evaluations based on the Planetary Boundaries, was coupled with LCA in order to define the boundary between environmental sustainability and unsustainability. In this study Planetary Boundaries-based Life Cycle Impact Assessment method has been applied to a case study of six single family stand-alone dwellings to assess whether these buildings can be considered absolute sustainable relative to the Planetary Boundaries. The results from the assessment indicate that irrespective of the design strategy used for the six houses and future increase in the use of renewables for electricity and heat production, it is unlikely that any of these houses can be regarded as sustainable in absolute terms. This underlines that more radical changes are needed in the way buildings are constructed and used in order for buildings to become environmentally sustainable.

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