Lifecycle assessment

Pressure is mounting to derive standards for environmental performance over the lifetime of a building by targeting the environmental impact of its component materials. In parallel with this there is also growing awareness of the value of calculating the economic cost of a building from inception to demolition.

In 1998 the Building Research Establishment (BRE) developed a scoring system for environmental impacts known as Ecopoints. It is based on Howard, N., Edwards, S. and Anderson, J. (1999) Methodology for Environmental Profiles of Construction Materials, Components and Buildings, BRE. The system deals with the extraction, processing, manufacture, transport, building-in-use and disposal stages of a product's life-cycle.

These various environmental impacts are then assessed against 13 categories including climate change, atmospheric pollution, water pollution and raw materials extraction. Clearly some of the categories have a greater overall impact than others, like climate change. There is therefore a system of weighting which reflects these differences. To avoid the charge of subjectivity the BRE consulted with a wide range of construction professionals and environmentalists before fixing on a system of weightings.

The outcome is a system of Ecopoints and the higher the score the greater the environmental impact. The benchmark is the environmental impact caused over a year by the average UK citizen which is set at 100. Details of this system may be found on at

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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