EPA Science Inventory

Comparison of energy-based indicators used in life cycle assessment tools for buildings

Citation:

Srinivasan, R. S., W. Ingwersen, C. Trucco, R. Ries, AND D. Campbell. Comparison of energy-based indicators used in life cycle assessment tools for buildings. BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 79:138-151, (2014).

Description:

Traditionally, building rating systems focused on, among others, energy used during operational stage. Recently, there is a strong push by these rating systems to include the life cycle energy use of buildings, particularly using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), by offering credits that can be used to achieve higher certification levels. As LCA-based tools are evolving to meet this growing demand, it is important to include methods that quantify the impact of energy being using by ecosystems that indirectly contribute to building life cycle energy use. Using a case-study building, this paper provides an up-to-date comparison of energy-based indicators in tools for building assessment, including those that report both conventional life cycle energy and those that include a wider systems boundary that captures energy use even further upstream. This paper applies two existing LCA tools namely a economic input-output based model, Economic Input-Output LCA, and a process-based model, ATHENA® Impact Estimator, to estimate life cycle energy use in an example building. In order to extend the assessment to address energy use further upstream, this paper tests the Ecologically-based LCA tool and an application of the emergy methodology. All of these tools are applied to the full service life of the building, i.e., all stages namely raw material formation, product, construction, use, and end-of-life; and their results are compared. Besides contrasting the use of energy-based indicators in building environmental assessment tools, this paper uncovered major challenges that confront stakeholders in evaluating the built environments using LCA and similar approaches.

Purpose/Objective:

To assess the use of different energy-based indicators in LCA of buildings.

URLs/Downloads:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.05.006   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 09/01/2014
Completion Date: 09/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 06/19/2014
Record Created: 06/18/2014
Record Released: 06/18/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 278816

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

SYSTEMS ANALYSIS BRANCH