Data driven quantification of the temporal scope of building LCAs

Natasha Østergaard, Laura Thorsted, Simona Miraglia, Morten Birkved*, Freja Nygaard Rasmussen, Harpa Birgisdottir, Pradip Kalbar, Stylianos Georgiadis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

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In the construction sector, LCAs typically apply an approach based on fixed or partially fixed building lifespans/service lives/reference study period. The temporal scopes applied in building LCAs are hence typically not reflecting that the timeframes buildings can provide the service they are intended to provide, are (highly) dependent on numerous factors e.g.: building location, materials used to construct the building, energy supply and the use of the building. Inaccurate estimation of the temporal scope of a building LCA will lead to incorrect quantification of the environmental impacts of buildings. Incorrect quantification of the environmental performance of buildings may, in the worst case, derange/decelerate the development within the building sector towards more sustainable buildings. In this paper, a data set consisting of 20999 Danish buildings, demolished between 2009 and 2015, is analyzed. A multiple linear regression model is derived and used to quantify the temporal scope (often referred to as the reference study period) of building LCAs in an attempt to improve the accuracy of sustainability assessment of buildings, taking several influencing factors into account. The results obtained from the derived model are subsequently compared with several fixed/partially fixed building lifespan/service life/reference study period quantification approaches The regression model proved to estimate the lifespan with lower errors (compared to observed values) than the prevailing approach relying on a single fixed value for all building locations, uses and building materials. The application of model based site, use, and/or material specific etc. temporal scope quantification in LCA is new and provides a mean to reduce the uncertainty of LCA results; however, the approach needs to be formalized.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProcedia C I R P
Pages (from-to)224-229
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Temporal scope
  • Building service life
  • Building lifespan
  • Building LCA


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