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 www.bre.co.uk/envest.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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