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Environmental Assessment of Buildings and the influence on architectural design
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering.
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis examines environmental assessment tools for buildings. This is done by investigating, analysing, comparing and testing how different environmental assessment tools measure the environmental performance of buildings and examining the consequences this may have on architectural design.

The study begins by analysing three environmental assessment tools: LEED, CSH and EcoEffect. These tools are then tested on a case study building (an eight-storey residential building) to analyse differences regarding assessment results, improvement proposals and potential impacts on architectural design.

One of the environmental impacts assessed in the three tools, namely Climate Change caused by gases having Global Warming Potential (GWP), is then analysed in greater detail from a life cycle perspective by measuring CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq). A basic calculation tool (referred to as the ENSLIC tool), based on life cycle assessment methodology, is used to assess a case study building (a four-storey office building in Gävle). The impact of the building on CO2-eq emissions is calculated and the impact of a number of suggested building improvements and changes of energy sources is analysed. 

The studies show the complexity of assessment tools and different ways to make comparisons. Both similarities and differences between the tools are apparent, regarding hierarchical structure and also on each hierarchical level, from categories to issues and parameters. It is also shown that the choice of environmental assessment tool may have an influence on the architectural design of buildings.

The difficulty with assessing complex buildings is apparent even when only one environmental issue is assessed with the LCA-based ENSLIC tool. Many aspects influence the assessment result. These include energy use, choice of materials and choice of energy sources.

The complexity and difficulty in linking buildings to environmental impact create a need for interactive tools measuring environmental performance, which can be useful as decision support in the early design phase.

Abstract [sv]

Denna licentiatavhandling behandlar miljöbedömningsmetoder för byggnader. Arbetet bygger på undersökningar analyser, jämförelser och tester av hur miljöbedömningsmetoder bedömer byggnaders miljöprestanda och undersöker även vilka konsekvenser som detta kan ha på arkitektonisk utformning.

Forskningen börjar med att tre miljöbedömningsmetoder, LEED; Code for Sustainble Homes (CSH) och EcoEffect analyseras och jämförs. Sedan genomfös en fallstudie där de tre metoderna testades på ett bostadshus (ett åttavåningar högt bostadshus i Stockholm). Skillnader gällande miljöbedömningsresultat och miljöbedömningmetodernas förslag på förbättringsåtgärder samt eventuell påverkan på den arkitektoniska utformningen analyseras och diskuteras.

En av miljöpåverkanskategorierna som bedöms i de tre metoderna, klimatpåverkan orsakad av gaser med inverkan på den globala uppvärmningen, analyseras sedan mer i detalj utifrån ett livscykelperspektiv genom att mäta byggnaders koldioxidekvivalenter (CO2 ekv). Ett förenklat beräkningsverktyg (som här benämns ENSLIC-verktyget), som är baserat på livscykelmetodik, används för att studera en byggnad (ett fyra våningar högt kontorshus i Gävle). Sedan beräknas byggnadens påverkan på CO2 ekv. Effekten av ett flertal föreslagna förbättringsåtgärder på byggnaden samt byte av energikällor analyseras också.

Studierna visar på miljöbedömningmetodernas komplexitet och presenterar olika sätt att göra jämförelser på. Skillnader och likheter mellan metoderna påvisas, gällande hierarkisk struktur och även på varje hierarkisk nivå, från kategorier till enskilda bedömda frågor och parametrar. Dessa skillnader talar för att olika metoder kan påverka den arkitektoniska utformningen av byggnader.

Svårigheten i att bedöma komplexa byggnader belyses även när endast en miljöpåverkan bedöms med det LCA baserade ENSLIC-verktyget. Många saker påverkar resultatet, framförallt energianvändning tillsammans med materialanvändning och val av energikällor. Den komplexa och svåra uppgiften att länka samman byggnader med deras miljöpåverkan öppnar upp för användande av interaktiva verktyg som mäter miljöpåverkan som kan användas som beslutshjälpmedel i tidiga designskeden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: E-print AB , 2010. , 64 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10197ISBN: 978-91-7415-804-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-10197DiVA: diva2:442486
Presentation
2010-12-15, KTH, Sal E2, Lindstedtsvägen 3, Stockholm, 16:02 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-09-22 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2011-09-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Design consequences of differences in building assessment tools: a case study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design consequences of differences in building assessment tools: a case study
2011 (English)In: Building Research & Information, ISSN 0961-3218, E-ISSN 1466-4321, Vol. 39, no 1, 16-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmental assessment tools for buildings are emerging rapidly in many countries. Do different assessment tools influence the design process and also guide ‘green’ building projects in different directions? Three assessment tools, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC), Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and EcoEffect, were tested in a case study project in Sweden: a new multi-storey residential building called Grönskär. The content and results of the three assessment tools were compared in general, while issues in the three core common categories of Energy, Indoor Environment and Materials & Waste were compared in more detail. The assessment results for the case study building varied with the three tools, and the design strategies and tactics to improve the overall rating of the building project differed for each tool. This confirms that the tools can influence sustainable building in different directions and illustrates insufficient consensus between assessment tools in terms of issues, criteria and weighting. The divergent results highlight the need for an appropriate structure of assessment tools that are both environmentally relevant and practically useful.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2011
Keyword
assessment methods, assessment tool, building assessment, building design, Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), EcoEffect, environmental assessment, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), sustainable building
National Category
Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10195 (URN)10.1080/09613218.2010.513210 (DOI)000286821500002 ()2-s2.0-78650728649 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved
2. Basic building life cycle calculations to decrease contribution to climate change: Case study on an office building in Sweden  
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Basic building life cycle calculations to decrease contribution to climate change: Case study on an office building in Sweden  
2011 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 46, no 10, 1863-1871 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examined whether simplified life cycle-based calculations of climate change contributions can provide better decision support for building design. Contributions to climate change from a newly built office building in Gävle, Sweden, were studied from a life cycle perspective as a basis for improvements. A basic climate and energy calculation tool for buildings developed in the European project ENSLIC was used. The study also examined the relative impacts from building material production and building operation, as well as the relative importance of the impact contributions from these two life cycle stages at various conditions.

The ENSLIC tool calculates operational energy use and contributions to climate change of a number of optional improvement measures. Twelve relevant improvement measures were tested. The most important measures proved to be changing to CO2 free electricity, changing construction slabs from concrete to wood, using windows with better U-values, insulating the building better and installing low-energy lighting and white goods. Introduction of these measures was estimated to reduce the total contribution to climate change by nearly 50% compared with the original building and the operational energy use by nearly 20% (from 100 to 81 kWh/m2 yr). Almost every building is unique and situated in a specific context. Making simple analyses of different construction options showed to be useful and gave some unexpected results which were difficult to foresee from a general design experience. This process acts as an introduction to life cycle thinking and highlights the consequence of different material choices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
Keyword
Building design; Climate change; CO2 emissions; Life cycle tool; Energy use; Materials impact
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10196 (URN)10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.02.003 (DOI)000292223900001 ()2-s2.0-79956355058 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved
3. Understanding differences between the environmental assessment tools: LEED, Code for Sustainable homes and EcoEffect
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding differences between the environmental assessment tools: LEED, Code for Sustainable homes and EcoEffect
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
green building design, sustainable building, environmental assessement tool, LEED, code for sustainable homes, EcoEffect
National Category
Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10518 (URN)
Note
Submitted to Environmental Impact Assessment Review 2010Available from: 2010-11-23 Created: 2011-09-28 Last updated: 2011-09-28Bibliographically approved

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