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An application of life cycle assessment (LCA) within the Catalonian building sector

A case study
: Ortiz-Rodriguez, O.; Makishi Colodel, C.; Fischer, M.; Castells, F.; Sonnemann, G.

Afinidad 67 (2010), No.548, pp.262-267
ISSN: 0001-9704
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool has been applied to evaluate environmental impacts through the whole building life cycle. LCA has been carried out in accordance to the international standard of ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. As a reference, an application of LCA has been made to a Catalan house located in Barcelona, Spain with a projected 50 years life span. In this work, construction, use (operation and maintenance) and end-of-life phases have been considered. The operational energy consumed during the dwelling period was modeled using a mix of electrical power for electrical appliances, illumination, heating and cooling; and using thermal energy from natural gas for domestic hot water and cooking. Result shows that the highest environmental impacts during the dwelling's life cycle took place during the use phase. The total impact of global warming potential was 4.52+01 kgCO(2)-Equiv. m(-2)a(-1) of which use phase accounted for 92% (operation 90% and maintenance 2%), construction represented 7% and end-of-life contributed less than 1%. Regarding the operation phase, cooling had the highest environmental burden with 33%, heating represented 9%, followed by illumination 26% and electrical appliances 19%. The other two household activities accounted for less than 12% (domestic hot water 9% and cooking 4%) of total phase. During the construction phase, the production of building materials represented about 97%, transport to the job site 2% and waste management 1% of total phase. The total primary energy demand was 5.26E+01 MJ m(-2) a(-1) (gross calorific value) of which non-renewable primary energy demand represents 78% and renewable energy demand 22%. In summary, data for a Catalan home has been provided to evaluate environmental impacts using LCA tool. Data have been modelled into the Gabi software system. Finally, LCA is a suitable tool to evaluate environmental impacts throughout all phases of the building life cycle.