Assessment of environmental impacts across the life-cycle of buildings are lacking for Arctic areas, such as Greenland. Indeed, life-cycle assessments of buildings mainly focus on European or North American conditions which are very different from Arctic conditions. Hence, there is a need for assessing the life-cycle impacts pertaining to different building types to support environmentally sound decisions on the type of buildings to be constructed and used in Arctic areas such as Greenland. We conducted a life-cycle assessment on four buildings in Greenland, i.e. concrete building, CLT building, a timber frame building and a renovation of an existing concrete building. We evaluated the environmental impacts at midpoint indicator and overall damages to human health, ecosystem quality, and resources, to identify the building type with the lowest environmental impacts. Results show that renovation of existing buildings has the lowest environmental impact across all impact categories. The difference in environmental impacts among the new building types is generally small. Across all impact categories, the average difference between largest and smallest impact score for the new buildings was a factor 3.6. Still, the CLT and timber frame building appears to have the best environmental performance. The findings of this study go against current building practice in Greenland, which is dominated by construction of new concrete buildings while renovation is uncommon. Thus, a larger use of assessment methods, such as life-cycle assessment, and a reconsideration of the current building practice is recommended to support a more environmentally sustainable building practice in Greenland.
- Life-cycle assessment