Publications

The research group for Building Sustainability at BUILD (formerly SBi) at Aalborg University often publishes publications about LCAbyg and LCA on buildings in general. The purpose of developing publications about LCA is to share the knowledge from the research and inform how to model and evaluate environmental profiles for Danish buildings.

The publications are freely available and you can download them here:

Availability and significance of EPDs

Abstract

Availability and significance of EPDs
An analysis based on the availability of specific environmental data representative of the Danish market and the influence of these on LCA results

As the focus on more precise LCA results increases, there is a need to investigate how many EPDs are available and representative of Danish buildings. In addition, there is a need to investigate how LCA results change by replacing generic data from Ökobaudat 2020 with EPDs and what factors come into play.
Knowledge of, and use of, EPDs has helped to develop a more accurate data basis for life cycle assessments on Danish buildings and has also contributed to the development of CO2 limit values ​​so that Denmark can achieve the target of 70% - reduction.

Date of Issue
2021-11

Authors
Emilie Brisson Jørgensen
Buket Tozan
Christian Grau Sørensen
Harpa Birgisdottir

Climate impact from 60 buildings

Abstract

Climate impact from 60 buildings:
Updated values ​​based on recent data and Danish
industry EPDs

Updated values ​​based on recent data and Danish industry EPDs updated reference values ​​that were formulated in connection with the report Climate impact from 60 buildings (SBi 2020: 04). The focus on documenting and measuring climate impacts from buildings is increasing, and several life cycle assessments of buildings are being carried out in the Danish construction industry. This development necessitates updates of data used to calculate climate impacts. In connection with the publication of LCAbyg 5, the new environmental data in Ökobaudat 2020, and Danish industry EPDs, this report updates the established reference values ​​as the reference values ​​are calculated in LCAbyg 5 using new environmental data.

Date of Issue
2021-04

Authors
Buket Tozan
Emilie Brisson Jørgensen
Harpa Birgisdottir

Example library for LCAbyg

Abstract

Example library for LCAbyg

This publication documents the library of building components integrated into LCAbyg 5.2.
LCAbyg is a Danish tool for lifecycle assessment (LCA) and calculating climate impacts on buildings. You can download the program for free at www.lcabyg.dk, where there is more knowledge about the tool and LCA, guides, and news. To learn more about using LCAbyg, see the program's user guide.
The publication presents all generic constructions in the LCAbyg library, which can be used to model new buildings, existing buildings, and renovations. The title and description of the structures correspond to how they are shown in the calculation program so that you can easily use the publication when working in LCAbyg. The climate impact for constructions for new buildings and renovations is also stated. As a user of LCAbyg, you get a quick overview of the library's content, which can help you find the desired constructions for modeling projects. In addition, it helps to decide which generic solutions are appropriate in the specific project and which solutions you want to adapt or develop yourself. Finally, you can use the publication as teaching material and for further training in the climate impact of buildings. The publication also explains the case entry, which is LCAbyg's function to generate a building model for an entire building based on a few parameters. Case entry is a time-saving way to start an LCA project. Currently, LCAbyg can generate building models for older masonry multi-storey properties, which you can use to perform LCA when renovating this type of building.

Date of Issue
2022-01

Authors
Kai Kanafani
Regitze Kjær Zimmermann
Liv Kristensen Stranddorf
Agnes Garnow
Harpa Birgisdottir

Climate impact from 20 wooden buildings

Abstract

In today's society, key issues are sustainability and reducing the global climate footprint. There is an increasing focus on reducing the climate impact from materials used in construction as a supplement to reducing the operating energy from the buildings. In this context, the focus is mainly on the potential of wood and other bio-based building materials to reduce the climate impact of buildings. This is due to the tree's ability to store carbon during growth until it decomposes at the end of its life.

Date of Issue
2021-11

Authors
Alexandra Wittchen
Camilla Marlene Ernst Andersen
Harpa Birgisdottir
Freja Nygaard Rasmussen
Liv Kristensen Stranddorf

Experiences from 20 wooden buildings

Abstract

Existing wooden buildings 2021

Sustainability and focus on reducing the global climate footprint are critical issues in today's society. There is an increasing focus on reducing the climate impact from materials used in construction as a supplement to reducing the operating energy from the buildings. In this context, the focus is mainly on the potential of wood and other bio-based building materials to reduce the climate impact of buildings. This is due to the tree's ability to store carbon during growth until it decomposes at the end of its life. The report 'Climate impact from wooden buildings - LCA on 20 existing wooden buildings' confirms that it can be an advantage for the climate to build in wood, but that the building as a whole must be taken into account.

Date of Issue
2021-17-10

Authors
Alexandra Wittchen
Torben Valdbjørn Rasmussen

Climate-efficient renovation

Abstract

Climate-efficient renovation:
Break-even between material use and energy savings in renovations

In recent years, the LCA method has been established as a cornerstone for assessing the sustainability of buildings. The construction industry now has the opportunity to calculate the climate impacts of buildings over their entire life cycle, which is a prerequisite for determining and reducing the overall climate footprint of buildings.
However, the existing building stock has the most significant potential to reduce the climate footprint of construction. LCA can be used to ensure that energy renovations reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the best possible way. Therefore, this report should focus on the climate efficiency of renovations by illuminating the balance between energy savings and climate impacts associated with the materials used to affect these savings. Net impacts are calculated for the renovation measures; post-insulation, window replacement, and installation of solar cells.
The construction industry's parties within building insulation, windows, and photovoltaic systems have contributed to the project with helpful input and discussions in the form of ongoing dialogue and several industry meetings.

Date of Issue
2021-13-10

Authors
Kai Kanafani
Alberte Mai Lund
Amdi Schjødt Worm
Johannes Due Jensen
Harpa Birgisdóttir
Jørgen Rose

Climate Impact from 60 buildings

Abstract

Climate Impact from 60 buildings:
Possibilities for designing reference values ​​for LCA for buildings.

In the report Climate impact from 60 buildings - possibilities for designing reference values ​​for LCA for buildings, the largest number of building cases collected in Denmark so far is assessed concerning their impact on the climate. As part of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, there has been a strong focus on reducing the climate footprint of buildings in recent years. This includes the life cycle assessment (LCA) as a key tool for documenting the climate footprint of buildings taking into account the production and disposal of building materials and energy consumption during the operational phase. In this report, LCAs have been collected and prepared for 60 Danish building cases within single-family houses, terraced houses, multi-storey dwellings, offices, and other building types. Based on these 60 building cases, it was possible to establish knowledge about the climate impact of such building typologies. In addition, reference values ​​are being developed for the climate footprint of buildings that can be used as benchmarks for future constructions. The report shows a clear potential for the construction industry to transition into emitting a lower climate footprint and meeting sustainable development in society.

Date of Issue
2020-03-15

Authors
Regitze Kjær Zimmermann
Camilla Ernst Andersen
Kai Kanafani
Harpa Birgisdóttir

LCA in early building design

Abstract

LCA in early building design:
Assessed for the entire life cycle of the building

This report assesses environmental impacts and resource consumption resulting from the manufacture, transportation, disposal, and recycling of building materials. The life cycle analysis of building materials is compared with environmental impacts and resource consumption due to the energy consumption for the operation of buildings, i.e., space heating, etc. This comparison is interesting because the current public regulation of buildings' energy consumption only covers the operating energy, while the energy consumption and the environmental impacts embedded in the building materials are not regulated in the Building Regulations or other public regulations. The report's calculations show that for new buildings, the building materials' embedded energy consumption and environmental impacts are more significant than the load from the buildings' operating energy consumption. Thus, there may be substantial potential in any public regulation to promote the sustainability of building materials.

Date of Issue
2019

Authors
Kai Kanafani
Regitze Kjær Zimmermann
Harpa Birgisdottir
Freja Nygaard Rasm

The built-in energy and environmental impact of buildings

Abstract

The built-in energy and environmental impact of buildings
Assessed for the entire life cycle of the building

For many years, there has been a strong focus on the operation of buildings' energy consumption, not least through more strict legislations of building regulations. After recent years' energy consumption reduction, the interest in the embedded environmental effects is increasing. The purpose of this publication is to provide developers and advisors with knowledge and tools to reduce environmental impacts related to the environmental footprint of building materials over the entire life cycle of the building. The ambition is to make life cycle assessments available to an even wider circle of professionals and builders, to reduce the environmental impact caused by the construction sector. The publication was developed with the PSO project 349-051 'Low-energy buildings and energy embedded in a sustainability perspective: new knowledge & tools for advisors and developers'. The National Building Research Institute carried out the project together with the project partners Bygherreforeningen, Arkitektforeningen, Konstruktørforeningen and IDA Byg. The project partners have contributed to the further development of the tool LCAbyg and the development of this publication with their participation in several workshops and courses.

Date of Issue
2017-06-06

Authors
Harpa Birgisdóttir
Sussie Stenholt Madsen

Guidance for the industry in LCA for renovation projects

Abstract

Guidance for the industry in LCA for renovation projects

This guide was developed with support from the InnoBYG project scheme via the Danish Agency for Research and Innovation and the Landowners' Investment Foundation (Grundejernes Investeringsfond).
The intended target group of the guidance is developers and consultants who offer renovation projects and subsequently perform LCA on the tendered projects.

The guide aims to create general guidelines for LCA (life cycle assessment) on building renovations, focusing on ensuring sufficiently elaborated requirement specifications within the area to maximize the consistency of the performed LCA calculations across the building sector. Thereby, LCAs can be used more often as a decision parameter when assessing the environmental conditions of building renovations.

The guidance was created in collaboration between the Danish Technological Institute (project manager and project applicant) and the National Building Research Institute (Statens Byggeforskningsinstitut, SBi).

Date of Issue
2017-01-01

Authors
Amdi Schødt Worm
Henrik Poulin
Flemming Carøe Østergaard
Harpa Birgisdottir
Freja Nygaard Rasmussen
Sussie Stenholt Madsen

Life cycle assessment of extensive building renovations

Abstract

Life cycle assessment of extensive building renovations: Environmental consequences enlighted by case studies

The construction work on the existing housing stock constitutes a large share of the industry's total economic activity. It is thus an important focus area for environmentally sustainable development of the construction industry. This report clarifies essential concepts and methods related to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of extensive renovation works. Based on several cases, the material flows involved are characterized. The environmental impacts of the renovation intervention are determined using LCA and compared with the environmental impacts of new construction. The report shows that renovation projects may be environmentally beneficial compared to the average of new buildings.

Date of Issue
2015-12-18

Authors
Freja Nygaard Rasmussen
Harpa Birgisdottir

The life cycle of a building

Abstract

The life cycle of the building: Identification of significant building parts, material groups, and phases in an environmental assessment

There is increasing use of life cycle assessments to map the environmental sustainability of the entire lifetime of buildings. This report uses the method to analyze several variants of the most common building components and to analyze examples of typical Danish residential houses and office buildings with different energy consumptions.
With this, the actors in the building sector get an updated knowledge basis for assessing the importance of different building products and components for a building's total environmental impact and resource consumption.

Date of Issue
2015-04-13

Authors
Freja Nygaard Rasmussen
Harpa Birgisdottir

Introduction to LCA on buildings

Abstract

There is increasing use in The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method to assess potential environmental impacts and resource consumption for products and services. The use of LCA is already increasing in the building industry, where LCA is an essential part of evaluating the environmental sustainability of buildings. The life cycle thinking shifts the focus from the conditions about the finished building to include the entire life cycle.

Date of Issue
2015-04-04

Authors
Harpa Birgisdottir
Freja Nygaard Rasmussen

The lifetime of building components by assessing sustainability and life cycle cost

Abstract

This report aims to evaluate the average lifetime of building components relevant when assessing the environmental sustainability of buildings.

There are no national or international standard listing values ​​for the service life of building components. The amount of knowledge collected from existing and past building components is also limited. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to assess the average lifespan of building components as it proves to be relevant when evaluating the sustainability of buildings. The assessment is impartial and carried out on a professional basis. The estimated lifetimes can be used when calculating maintenance and the total economy when categorizing the sustainability of buildings.

There has been performed further development of a method and assessment of lifetimes of building components covered by "ejerskifteforsikring" (insurance against the defects in the property) and "huseftersynsordningen" (the home inspection scheme (SBi 2012: 05).

Date of Issue
2013-01-01

Authors
Niels-Jørgen Aagaard
Erik Brandt
Søren Aggerholm
Kim Haugbølle

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