Those of us involved in environmental studies in the built space fully understand the complexity of measuring the full environmental impact of a structure over decades of use.
A new report from the CSHub, Critical Issues When Comparing Whole Building and Building Product Environmental Performance addresses the quantification of the environmental impact of buildings and makes recommendations for current and future building practices using LCA.
The report emphasises the importance of LCA in appropriately assessing environmental impacts. “Decision-makers must take a life-cycle perspective when evaluating impacts. One material may have a higher impact at the outset but result in a much lower impact across a structure’s lifespan,” says Professor Jeremy Gregory, one of the reports authors.
While the report supports LCA methodologies, PCRs and EPDs is does point out that prevailing methods lack consistency in their approach and do not allow whole buildings or even building products to be compared against alternatives.
The report advocates for the development of a standardised buildings LCA framework. The authors feel this framework is essential to increasing the accuracy of the LCA approach.
Click here to access the full report. http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/104838