A simplified tool to evaluate the sustainability of buildings in steel in early stages of design
ISISE, Civil Engineering Department, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Received: 21 September 2015
Accepted: 8 December 2015
Currently, sustainable development and the search for green and renewable energy sources are two of the top priorities of humankind. As it is known, the construction industry has a major role to the global economy, but is also one of the most relevant regarding waste production and resource depletion. For example, buildings have an important share in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (near 40% in Europe), being essential for the global sustainable development. The life cycle assessment (LCA) of buildings should be done in the early stages of design, increasing the potential to effectively influence the life cycle performance of the building, mitigating its environmental impacts. However, this is not an easy task mainly given the lack of information in the initial stages of design and the challenge to accurately predict the operational energy consumption during the use phase of the building. One of the main goals of the research project “SB_Steel – Sustainable building project in steel” funded by the research fund for coal and steel (RFCS) was to develop a new tool for a simplified assessment of building sustainability at early design stages. In this paper the implemented tool, which is now available on-line, is described and the implemented methodology is justified. The use of the simplified tool is illustrated by a case-study. The inputs/outputs of the tool are described. The limitations and some improvement suggestions of the simplified approach are discussed.
Key words: Buildings / life-cycle analysis / early design stage / macro-component / energy efficiency
© EDP Sciences, 2016