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Life Cycle Assessment in architecture practice: the impact of materials on a flemish care home

Author(s): M. Annemans, M. Verhaegen and W. Debacker
Paper category: symposium
Book title: International Symposium on Life Cycle Assessment and Construction – Civil engineering and buildings
Editor(s): A. Ventura and C. de la Roche
Print ISBN: 978-2-35158-127-8
e-ISBN: 978-2-35158-128-5
Publisher: RILEM Publications SARL
Pages: 205 – 212 (+ 10 pages of appendixes)
Total Pages: 18
Language: English

Abstract: By 2020 the building regulations in Europe will be tightened to evolve to nearly-zero-energy buildings. This prospect holds a great challenge for architects and construction engineers. Many studies still focus on the energy consumption of a building. However with the European Union setting this target, the reduction of the energy use will not be an aim but a necessity.
To further reduce the environmental impact of a building we should obtain a better knowledge of the importance of material related processes. The internationally known Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used as an integral method to obtain this goal. After adapting a reference care home to the low energy house standard we made step-by-step adaptation to its materials. This resulted in a reduction of the impact with 21%. Increasing the life span of certain building components (and materials) by opting for non-destructive dismantling and reuse gained 28% compared to the low energy building.
This study shows that, after the energy reduction is obtained, also the choice of materials, made during the design phase, has a significant influence on the environmental impact of a building. The importance of this early phase should not be neglected.

Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), impact of materials, design practice

Online publication: 2012
Publication Type: full_text
Public price (Euros): 0.00

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