Integrating Environmental and Economic Perspectives in Building Design
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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With increasing environmental damage and decreasing resource availability, sustainability assessment in the building sector is gaining momentum. A literature review shows that the related methods for environmental and economic performance, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC), show great potential for answering a multitude of questions related to building performance. Prevalent topics are the implications of LCA and LCC for retrofit solutions and the trade-offs between environmental and economic considerations in building design. A detailed review of 30 case studies shows the range of differing result integration methods and sheds light on the use of monetary valuation of environmental indicators for an integrated assessment. While a quasi-dynamic approach, accounting for the changing value of money over time, is common in LCC, such an approach is largely absent from LCA. The analysis of common metrics shows that the studies employ strongly differing system boundaries and input parameters. Moreover, a clear description of the methodological framework is missing in most studies. Therefore, this research develops an “Eco2” framework, integrating LCA and LCC for application in building design. Potential further developments for Eco2 building assessment are related to extending the system boundaries by including mechanical systems and end-of-life phases, data collection and structuring, and streamlining the approach for continuous application to all stages of building design processes. Additionally, the influence on design decisions of employing temporal parameters in both LCA and LCC and of choosing particular result integration methods should be investigated further.