Some certification schemes such as BREEAM UK 2014 and RFO 2015, and BREEAM Intl RFO 2015 ask the design team to demonstrate how the use of LCA or LCC software has benefited the building in terms of measuring and reducing its environmental impacts.
This is the CN16 requirement for BREEAM UK 2014: “How the tool helped (or did not help) steer the design process to optimize cost and mitigate environmental impacts, giving examples of specific changes to the building design/specification that resulted.”
The CN 2.8 for BREEAM Intl RFO 2015 and CN 14 for BREEAM UK Refurbishment 2014 requires a qualitative statement from the design team providing comments on the following:
- How and at what stages of the design the tool was utilized
- How the tool helped (or did not help) steer the design process to optimise costs and mitigate environmental impacts, giving examples of specific changes to the building design or specification that resulted
This guide gives you some tips on how to show and report how our LCA tool has:
1) Helped to measure the impacts of the building and potentially also how it
2) Helped you to reduce the building impacts.
How to show it helped you measuring
- Fill in the required data in the input data forms. Our example is from the LCA for BREEAM RFO tool, input data forms in different tools may vary.
- Analyse the results and see what causes impacts by accessing the result view.
- Check, which building elements, material types and material subtypes cause the highest impacts in A1-A3 module (read more about life cycle modules in LCA basics article 'Life cycle stages').
- Check which building materials cause the highest impacts. Note that this also helps you to see, if all building material quantities are entered correctly. E.g. if you are assessing the whole building and the highest impacts are caused by the steel from drywall structure studs, then the quantities probably do not take into account space between the studs.
- If you use an Expert level license, you can find alternative resources, which would provide a lower impact.
- Check the cumulative impacts on the results page or pie graphs (press 'show graph') to find out which life-cycle stages cause the highest emissions.
- When you know which stages are responsible for the impacts, open the detailed report by clicking 'details'. You will then be able to analyse which individual streams (e.g. materials or energy sources) are responsible for the impacts for those life cycle stages. The report highlights with red the highest emission sources on a category level and on the level of individual inputs. You can also find out if some of your materials do not really contribute to emissions and are good choices for your design.
How to show the tool helped you in reducing the impacts
Test how different design options would impact your results. When you know what causes or does not cause emissions in your building design you can test how changing some of the inputs changes your results.
- a) Make a copy of your design.
- b) Make some changes to the input data. For instance, you can check the impact of different energy consumption, use different energy streams, choose a material from a different manufacturer, or use a different material.
- c) Check how the results change
- d) Include the findings in your report. You can also make several copies to test different things if you wish.
You can download a sample report from the attachments.
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