4.2 Integration of LCA and LCC for decision making in sustainable building industry

Guoguo Liu , Department of civil and environmental engineering & Department of energy and environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Full Papers
  • Introduction of LCA and LCC.pdf (330.7 kB)
  • Climate problem should be seen as a big issue nowadays. With environment change dramatically these years, we must focus more on how to keep balance between ecology system and our society. It is necessary to joint endeavor bringing all stakeholders involved in developing solutions to climate change and research disciplines together in order to building a bridge between different views and positions and find a feasible solution.

    Since the last two or three decades, there has been a gradually increasing interest for the impact that human activities have on the environment in construction industry, because building sector is one of the key sectors in the pursuit of a sustainable society. According to statistic data, buildings are accountable for approximately 40% of society's total environmental impact. Interference with the natural environment occurs during all phase of the building process. Although the green ideas of building sector have been introduced for several years, different groups have chosen to focus on different aspects and thus depending on the context and the actors, green construction cannot be realized easily. Many organizations are now expected to have a feasible consult tool which can take both environmental and economic impact into account. During my master study, through learning relevant knowledge of construction engineering and environmental science, I get an idea that is to find a solution which can provide optimal decision in building sector based on a combination of results of integration of LCA and LCC research. The entire research is divided into three main steps:

    Firstly, analyze characteristic of LCA and LCC respectively then compare and conclude similarities and differences between them. In the beginning of my research, I focus on what are LCA and LCC's procedures, what are the objectives they have research on and how to use them in building sector as well as providing suggestion to decision makers. Through basic understanding of them, it is easy to find connection between each other.  The similarities of them are: 1. LCA and LCC play important roles in design phase; 2. Both of them can help reducing environmental impact and energy consumption of building in the future. The differences are their research objectives and research methodology.

    Secondly, judge whether it is possible to integrate them. Compare to LCA and LCC, we can see clearly that LCA is concern on environmental impact but LCC is for economic value. How to integrate economic consideration with environmental assessment is complex, but it has a profound meaning to achieve sustainable building. In additional, construction materials and installations decide environmental impact and energy consumption of building in the usage phase as well as occupy some portion of total cost in construction procurement. It is necessary to consider the property of construction materials in design phase both from environmental and economic aspects. Hence, construction materials and installations can be regarded as a connection point of LCA and LCC. Finally, develop this integrated tool that offers client and other participators in building sector a better decision. The result of my research has shown two ways of integration. On one hand, it is possible to establish an impact and cost database for the dominant range of building and services components and materials, which facilitate building designers to choose right materials in the beginning. A fully developed database information system is meant to be a basis for carrying out different scenarios, like how much can the emission of CO2 or hazard gas be reduced with materials alternatives? What kinds and what amounts of waste can we expect in the next 25 years? What is the potential for applying solar energy system to the façade or roof of building? Is it economic to change installation or refurbishment of the building couple years later? ; On the other hand, we will use VE/LCC and LCA for the decision making process to select the most proper alternative and integrated decision making tool is V (Value) = F (Function)/(C (Cost)*E (Environmental assessment)). While, through survey of building sector, life cycle technology and management had better be used in pre-design and design phase, which means it only offers suggestion to designer, technical engineers and clients. To achieve a completely sustainability, we still need adopt environmental management in construction phase and spread sustainable idea among tenants. Therefore, how to set up an acceptable system combining life cycle technology and environmental management is an important issue in developing sustainable building industry, which needs further research and more communication with stakeholders.