1.3.2 European standardization works on LCA of buildings

LCA, as an instrument to assess the environmental performance of buildings and building products, is generally seen as a way to provide a holistic overview of a building’s or product’s life cycle. It is generally standardized in ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 as an instrument to assess the environmental performance of products and services. For the construction sector, it is now subject to the standardization activities of the European standardization body CEN TC 350’s committee on sustainability of construction works.

The European standards EN 15804 and EN 15978 provide general calculation rules for LCA of products and buildings. Both standards use a modular description to structure information for the various stages of the building or product life cycle. For some modules, information is provided primarily at the product level; for other modules, it is typically gathered at the building level. Information on the production and assembly of building products (Modules A1–A3) is typically assessed in detail in product LCA studies. In building LCA studies, this information is aggregated to reflect product utilization within the building. Information on operational energy use (Module B6), on the other hand, may be provided for individual products with the use of default scenarios, but information on actual operational energy use is generally gathered within a building LCA study. These relations are reflected in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Relation between product LCA and building LCA along the life cycle modules. Figure based on EN 15804and EN 15978

1 Introduction

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