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 Building Environmental Assessment

Building environmental assessment or whole-building whole-of-life assessment is an LCA-based approach that calculates the environmental impacts of a building across its life cycle, taking into account the:

  • obtaining of primary materials through extraction or use of secondary materials recycled from previous uses
  • manufacture of products
  • transport of materials and products to the site where a building will be located
  • construction
  • use of the building, including requirements for energy and water
  • maintenance of the building during its life
  • replacement of products during the life of the building
  • deconstruction, including transport and end of life routes.

Data supporting this assessment may come from a variety of sources including Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), bills of materials and building thermal performance models.

The assessment calculates a number of potential environmental impacts, which, for offices, are usually normalised to an impact/m2 floor area/year. These calculated impact measures for a building design may then be compared to impacts for a benchmark building. In this way, building designs, incorporating the materials and products of which they comprise are evaluated based on calculated environmental impacts across the building life cycle rather than proxy measures of performance such as recycled content and transport distance.

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