Life cycle environmental performance of material specification: a BIM-enhanced comparative assessment

Journal article


Ajayi, Saheed O., Oyedele, Lukumon O., Ceranic, Boris, Gallanagh, Mike and Kadiri, Kabir O. 2015. Life cycle environmental performance of material specification: a BIM-enhanced comparative assessment. International Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/2093761X.2015.1006708
AuthorsAjayi, Saheed O., Oyedele, Lukumon O., Ceranic, Boris, Gallanagh, Mike and Kadiri, Kabir O.
Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the extent to which building material specification affects life cycle environmental performance, using a building information modelling (BIM)-enhanced life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. A combination of the BIM-based design and analysis tool Revit Architecture, the energy simulation tool Green Building Studio (GBS) and the LCA tool ATHENA Impact Estimator were used for the assessment. The LCA was carried out on a life case study of a 2100 m2 two-floor primary-school building, as well as a variability analysis, by varying the material specification in terms of whole building materials. The life cycle performance of the buildings was primarily evaluated in terms of its global warming potential (GWP) and health impact. The findings of the study show that irrespective of the materials used, buildings that are based on renewable energy perform better than those based on fossil fuels over their life cycle. In terms of building materials, both environmental and health preferences of buildings congruently range from timber, brick/block and steel to insulated concrete formwork (ICF), in descending order. The study suggests that as buildings become more energy efficient during operational stages, serious attention needs to be given to their embodied impact. The study lays out a methodological framework that could be adopted by industry practitioners in evaluating life cycle environmental impact of different BIM-modelled material options at the building conception stage. This has the tendency to ensure that the highest proportion of life cycle environmentally beneficial material combinations are selected during specification and construction.

This study aims to evaluate the extent to which building material specification affects life cycle environmental performance, using a building information modelling (BIM)-enhanced life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. A combination of the BIM-based design and analysis tool Revit Architecture, the energy simulation tool Green Building Studio (GBS) and the LCA tool ATHENA Impact Estimator were used for the assessment. The LCA was carried out on a life case study of a 2100 m2 two-floor primary-school building, as well as a variability analysis, by varying the material specification in terms of whole building materials. The life cycle performance of the buildings was primarily evaluated in terms of its global warming potential (GWP) and health impact.

The findings of the study show that irrespective of the materials used, buildings that are based on renewable energy perform better than those based on fossil fuels over their life cycle. In terms of building materials, both environmental and health preferences of buildings congruently range from timber, brick/block and steel to insulated concrete formwork (ICF), in descending order. The study suggests that as buildings become more energy efficient during operational stages, serious attention needs to be given to their embodied impact.

The study lays out a methodological framework that could be adopted by industry practitioners in evaluating life cycle environmental impact of different BIM-modelled material options at the building conception stage. This has the tendency to ensure that the highest proportion of life cycle environmentally beneficial material combinations are selected during specification and construction.

KeywordsLife cycle assessment (LCA); Building information modelling (BIM); Global warming potential (GWP); Health impact
Year2015
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN2093-761X
2093-7628
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/2093761X.2015.1006708
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/582945
hdl:10545/582945
Publication dates12 Mar 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Nov 2015, 14:36
SeriesVol. 6
Issue. 1
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Archived with thanks to International Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development

ContributorsUniversity of the West of England, University of Derby and Obafemi Awolowo University
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