A-03 Accounting for technical building equipment – complete LCA


A-03 Accounting for technical building equipment – complete LCA

Different types of technical building equipment can be included in building LCAs: e.g. boilers for heating, air-conditioning systems for cooling, duct networks for ventilation, solar panels for hot water, lifts, lighting etc. The development of energy-efficient buildings has meant that the relative share of the embodied impacts has recently increased, leading to more consistent modelling of the related impacts of building products and technical equipment. In addition, the LCA model should be consistent: if, for example, the PV-related energy consumption is included within Module B6, then the impacts of the PV manufacture should be accounted for in Modules A1–A3.

Related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

Related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

Relevant for

new buildings existing buildings building products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions For complete LCA, technical building equipment should be included. If LCA or EPD data are available at the European or national level, they should be included using specific data (e.g. based on industry EPD); otherwise, if no specific data are available for the context of the study, generic data should be used as proxy.This aspect is considered in accordance with the LCA study type: all of the technical equipment should be included in the context of a complete LCA, unless they fall under cut-off criteria.
Rules from:
EN 15978:7.5.2 Description of the physical characteristics of the building
The practitioner should use detailed calculation for complete LCA based on specific data (e.g. EPD), or else generic data (e.g. taken from generic LCA databases) for the technical systems:

  • sanitary systems (water, waste water, piping, pump and fixed equipment);
  • fixed firefighting systems;
  • heating and hot water systems;
  • mechanical ventilation and air conditioning;
  • fixed lighting systems;
  • electrical supply systems (small power, wiring, etc.);
  • communication and security systems;
  • transportation inside the building (lifts, escalators);
  • drainage system; etc.

The practitioner should be aware that these elements of a building can have a significant impact.

Studies in the UK have estimated that the as-installed embodied impact of mechanical and electrical services is a little over 100 kg CO2e/m2 in offices, but can be as high as 240 kg CO2e/m2, with proportions of as-built embodied carbon for all buildings ranging from 4% to 25%, depending on building type. Similar conclusions were reported in the French HQE performance study [Lebert 2012], and in a recent scientific paper.

Back to 4.2. Module A1 – A3

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