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					                                                                                Best Practices for a
                                                                                 Sustainable Built
                                                                                   Environment

                                                                                    University of New Brunswick
                                                                                             November 23, 2010




                  Workshop Agenda                                                                  Themes
                                                                              Results are what matter, not how you got there
           Why LCA?                                                          Building performance and bottom line benefits can
           What? How? Limitations!                                            and MUST be achieved
           LCA applied to buildings                                          Same is true for Infrastructure
            »  The LCA toolkit                                                 »  roads, bridges, underground
           Introduction to the Athena Impact Estimator                       Which means
           Case studies                                                       »    dealing with perceptions of green wash
           LCA in codes, standards and rating systems                         »    focusing in on meaningful labels
            »  Use of the Athena EcoCalculator                                 »    using proper performance metrics
           Existing buildings: LCA keep or build new                          »    making sustainable use of the existing building stock
            decisions                                                         Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a critical method for
           The way ahead: issues and challenges                               meeting sustainability objectives




Business Case for LCA in Building                                          High rating doesn’t necessarily
       Products & Design                                                      mean high performance
    Climate change regulations/requirements
     »  E.g., declarations, carbon offset and trading programs, taxes
    LCA coming into codes, standards & rating systems
    Seen as answer to growing green washing problem
    Requirements for EPDs could become trade barriers
    Key decision support tool for environmental policy
    Industry will have to adapt or lose market share
    Corporate sustainability programs
    Large corporations well positioned to deal with the shifts
                                                                        It’s the building — not the process —
    What about the small and medium sized companies?                                  that matters




                                                                                                                                            1
 Materials and resources credits                                   The use of wood is a good example
  are especially weak in rating                                                                                            No! It’s about
           systems . . .                                                    It’s all about                                 certification!
                                                                            renewability!




                        . . . and very controversial
                                                                          Actually, you’re both wrong . . .




  Materials selection is all about trade-offs
                                                                                Weighing material options
                Abundant resources
                                                   High CO2              By attribute?
                                                                                                                                  rapid
  Resistant to pests                                                          locally                                             renewability
                                         Locally available
                                                                              purchased

                                      CO2 neutral
                Water pollution                                      durability

                                  Low energy                                                                    recycled content
   Recycled content
                                               Harvesting issues                                                                       or...




                                                                                                    Increase in eco-labels
 By environmental performance  LCA                                                         (495 in US, Europe &Asia & growing)
                                       Air pollution

    Acid rain
     damage




                                                   Climate
                                                   change


Resource
depletion                            Water pollution


                                                                   1 courtesy of D. Allen, US EPA
                                                                   Slide

                                                                   2




                                                                                                                                                 2
    Putting Labels in Perspective                                                           EPD Process
                                                                                                              Can be a company, an Association,
        Type I Verified                                                                                       or a 3rd party provider
        e.g., EcoLogo
      Type II Unverified                                                               Product Category
       Self Declaration                                                                                                      Review Panel
                                        Life Cycle Assessment                            Rules (PCR)
TYPE III Verified Environmental                  (LCA)             Repository
 Product Declarations (EPD)                   ISO 14025

      Climate Declarations
                                                                                             EPD                             EPD Verifcation
                                                                                                                       Validation period usually 3 years
       Carbon Foot-Print
                                                                     Peer
 EPDs can be non-tariff trade barriers                              Review




                                                                    The ISO 14040/44 Framework

                                                                       Life Cycle Assessment Framework

                                                                      Goal & Scope                                       Direct Applications
                                                                       Definition
                                                                                                                        • Product Development
                                                                                                                            & Improvement
                                                                                                                        • Strategic planning
                                                                           Inventory         Interpretation             • Public policy making
                                                                            Analysis
                                                                                                                        • Marketing
                                                                                                                        • Other
                                                                         Impact
                                                                       Assessment




    Impact Assessment Phase                                           Bottom line for industry…
                                                                          Must have credible environmental performance
                              •  fossil fuel consumption                   information
                              •  global warming potential                   »  timely
                                                                            »  quantified
                              •  ozone depletion potential
                                                                            »  relevant
                              •  acidification                            EPDs provide a recognized mechanism
                              •  other releases  air/water/land          But complying must be cost effective, affordable
                              •  etc.                                     Small to medium size organizations most at risk
                                                                          Government has to support the necessary
                                                                           infrastructure
                 THE GOAL: to measure ultimate impacts
                 on human and ecosystem health
                                                                             A national LCI database is paramount




                                                                                                                                                           3
                                                                       Tracking Flows: The Inventory Step
                                                                                              MATERIAL ACQUISITION
                                                                                               Raw Material Acquisition

   LCA in Relation to                                                                              Manufacturing
                                                                                                Products / Assemblies

       Buildings                                                                          BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
                                                                                                   (manufacturing)
                                                                                                   OCCUPANCY
                                                                                              (use, reuse, maintenance)


                                                                                              DEMOLITION/DISPOSAL
                                                                                                 Products / Materials

                                                                                                   Recycle / Reuse

                                                                                                 Waste Management




                                                                                     In the Case of Energy…
 Impact Assessment Phase                                                                         Even source
                                                                                                energy doesn’t
                                                                                                   get it all
                          •  fossil fuel consumption
                                                                                                                           End use energy
                          •  global warming potential                                                                     estimates just one
                                                                                                                           part of the story
                          •  ozone depletion potential
                          •  acidification
                          •  other releases  air/water/land   The rest of the story is the
                                                                energy & emissions to
                          •  etc.                               make and move energy
                                                               — called pre-combustion
                                                                         in LCA

             THE GOAL: to measure ultimate impacts
             on human and ecosystem health




           LCA Limitations                                                        The Uncertainty Factor
                                                                                  MATERIAL ACQUISITION
                                                                                    Raw Material Acquisition
                                                                                         Manufacturing
                                                                                     Products / Assemblies


                                                                             Focus on relative effects,
                                                                              BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
                                                                                    (manufacturing)
                                                                              not absolute numbers!
                                                                                    OCCUPANCY
                                                                                   (use, reuse, maintenance)


                                                                                  DEMOLITION/DISPOSAL
Why forest certification is a key complimentary tool                                  Products / Materials

                                                                                        Recycle / Reuse
Certification needed for other resource extraction                                    Waste Management




                                                                                                                                               4
                            The LCA Tool Kit
       For LCA practitioners – SimaPro, GaBi, Umberto

 LCA in the background
 Level 1 — Product Focus                                                                                   LCA-based level 3 whole building tool for use at the
BEES                                                                                                                    conceptual design stage
•  free download from NIST


 Level 2 — Assembly Focus
                                                                    Developed primarily to               Shows environmental effects of changes in shape,
ATHENA EcoCalculator                                                meet the needs of LCA                 design or material make-up of a building
•  free download                                                    into rating systems                  Allows designers to optimize operating+embodied
 Level 3 — Whole Building                                                                                 energy effects over the complete building life cycle
                                                                    For use at conceptual                A range of indicators without weighting
ATHENA Impact Estimator
                                                                    building design




                                                                                                        Whole House Residential Case Study
       Design 1                               Design 2


                                                                               INVENTORY
                                                                             Raw Materials
                                                                             Energy Use by type
                                                                             Water Use
        Bill of Materials                Building                            Emissions to Air
                                        Assemblies
                                                                             Emission to Water
   Life Cycle Inventories                                                    Solid Wastes
       Materials & Products
                                           Energy pre-                    SUMMARY MEASURES
                                           combustion
            Building Construction            effects                    Fossil fuel consumption
                   Operations                                           Acidification
                Demolition/ Disposal                                    Aquatic eutrophication
                                                                        Global warming potential
                                                                        Respiratory effect potential
                                                                        Ozone depletion potential
                                                                        Weighted raw resource use
                                                                        Photochemical smog             Covers embodied effects from resource extraction through on-site
                                                                                                        construction
          . . . informed environmental choices




                                                                                                        Wood-Framed House Components
                            Results Overview                                                                      by Mass
                                                 23% difference
 %
350

300

250

200

150

100

  50

   0
         Embodied            Global      Air Toxicity     Water     Weighted      Solid                 Although referred to as a
          Energy            Warming                      Toxicity   Resource      Waste                 wood-framed house, concrete
                            Potential                                 Use
                                                                                                        is the dominant mass, with
                                        Wood design        Steel design                                 other materials playing lesser
                                                                                                        roles by mass.




                                                                                                                                                                           5
                                                                                            Exterior Wall Assemblies
                                                                                                       Relative GWP

                                                                                                     170% difference




      LCA in codes, standards and rating                                                     Codes and Standards
                             systems                                                 GBI/ANSI Standard 01-2007P: Green Building
                                                                                      Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings
                                                                                     ASTM: Product Category Rules for Environmental
                                                                                      Declarations for Building Products and Systems
                                                                                     ASTM: Working Group on a standard guide for
                                                                                      whole building LCA
                                                                                     NAHB/ICC700: National Green Building StandardTM
                                                                                     ASHRAE/USGBC/IESNA Std 189: High-
                                                                                      Performance Green Buildings
                                                                                     ICC green building code (IgCC)
                                                                                     California Green Building Code




     How LCA is being incorporated                                                                   However…
                                                                                     Green building standards and codes still reflect a mix
    IgCC      whole building LCA                                                      »  objective and subjective elements
     »  Alternative compliance path (Project Electives)                                »  process, prescriptive, and performance
     »  Avoids most mandatory prescriptive materials requirements
                                                                                     Difficult to fully evolve into truly sustainable building
     »  Improve performance of final design versus a baseline design
                                                                                      standards
    ASHRAE 189.1           whole building LCA
                                                                                     Confusion reigns
     »  Performance option similar to IgCC
                                                                                       »  Lack of understanding and confusion about LCA
    ASTM Working group                                                                »  Industry jockeying for advantage
     »  Objective: a standard guide for LCA at the whole building level                »  Environmental organizations also in the race
     »  Set criteria to ensure a level playing field irrespective of tool used         »  Competition between LCA and non-LCA tools that adds to
    California Green Building Code                                                       confusion
     »  Currently assessing shift toward IgCC approach                                 »  Perceptions of competition where none exists




                                                                                                                                                   6
   Options for LCA in Rating Systems                                                    LCA in the U.S. rating systems
   Could progress over time, from short to long term ideal approach

       Option 1                 Option 2                       Option 3
  pre-rate assemblies    decisions based on LCA          whole building LCA
 LCA in background      design teams may use         high demands on design
                         whole building LCA tool(s)    teams
 limited demands on
 design teams          could combine embodied         need benchmarks (onus
                       and operations effects          on rating system orgs.)
 more demands on the
 rating organization   difficult to verify            combine embodied and
                                                       operations effects
 focus on materials     high educational value
                                                       supports optimization of
 simplistic
                                                       envelope vs. operations




                                                                                              LCA-based tool for evaluating and comparing the
                                                                                                    environmental effects of assemblies

                                                                                          Currently includes about 400 assemblies
                                                                                          Uses mid-point impact indicators
                                                                                          Results generated using the ATHENA Impact Estimator
                                                                                          In rating system, credit better than average performance
                                                                                              for each indicator within an assembly category
                                                                                          Regional versions without credit links are freely available




                                                                                                                                            	


                                                                                                                       Whole Building Context
                                          Simple to Use
                                                                                       Results on a per unit area basis (e.g., per ft2)
                                                                                           Estimates based on much larger areas, e.g., 1000 linear feet of wall
   results in spreadsheet form
                                                                                       Components and loadings typical for central U.S.
                                                                                       Owner occupied office buildings, 60-year lifespan
                                                                                           Affects maintenance and repair/replacement schedules
                                                                                       Other specific assumptions:
                                                                                             Window to wall ratio
                                             Users only fill                                 Concrete strength and fly ash content
                                             in yellow cells                                 Gypsum board type and thickness with latex paint
                                                                                             Live load for all intermediate floors, columns & beams, roofs
                                                                                             Bay sizes and column heights
                                                                                             External wall thicknesses depending on construction system
                                                                                             Stud size/strength and spacing
                                                               Instant answers               Sheathing and decking materials




                                                                                                                                                                   7
                               11 tonnes CO2e
                               cradle to grave
                                 60 year life




2x6 wood stud wall with brick cladding
Wood structural panel sheathing
R-19 batt insulation + PET membrane
Gypsum board + Latex paint



2x6 wood stud wall with vinyl cladding
Wood structural panel sheathing
R-19 batt insulation + PET membrane
Gypsum board + Latex paint




                       EcoCalc Versions                                        Rating System Credit Calculators
                Commercial
                 »  All with hi-rise and low-rise versions                         Start with the selection of EcoCalculator assemblies
                Single family residential                                          »  Use EcoCalculator with built in credit calculator (Green Globes)
                Current regions for all commercial & residential                      or
                 »  ASHRAE Zone 3 and 6 averages                                    »  Submit the EcoCalculator summary table (LEED)
                 »  8 Canadian regions                                             The Credit Calculators:
                     •  Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa,
                        Montreal, Québec, Halifax                                   »  Apply life cycle impact category weightings;
                 »  7 US regions                                                    »  Compare the results to the reported averages by impact
                     •  Atlanta, Minneapolis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, New York,           measure within assembly categories;
                       Los Angeles, Seattle                                         »  Provide an LCA score; and
                Coming                                                             »  Calculate the number of possible rating system points
                 »  other SW and central US regions




       What about operating energy?
           LCA credits currently deal only with materials
           Operating energy continues to be covered in
            separate areas of Green Globes and LEED
           May make points in LCA and not do so well in energy
            area, or vice versa



            Shift to whole building LCA optimize by
            combining operating and embodied effects




                                                                                                                                                          8
                                           The Way Ahead: Issues and Challenges
                                               LCI data — ensuring that it represent reality
                                                »  National and regional specificity
                                                »  Representative versus brand specific
    It doesn’t matter what the existing
                                                »  Allocation and other technical issues
     building is made of
                                               Developing harmonized national databases
    It’s what the replacement is made
     of that matters                           Education of policy makers, business, designers,
                                                standards and code bodies
    We avoid impacts of demolishing
                                                »  What LCA is and is not
     the old and building new
                                                »  Environmental impact measures – what works, what doesn’t
    We incur impacts from renovation
                                               Understanding and properly using the toolkit
    Must pay attention to operating
     effects, especially energy                Applying LCA to decisions to keep or demolish existing
                                                buildings




                                                     www.athenaSMI.org




                                                  Comparative Design Elements
                                            Building Component        Benchmark Design               Actual Design

                                           Gross Floor Area        3220m2                       3220m2

                                           Design Life             80 years                     80 years

        Mayo School, Yukon                 Primary Structure       Single storey, traditional
                                                                   light frame wood
                                                                                                Single storey, light frame
                                                                                                engineered wood
             An Example of Life Cycle      Envelope                2x6 wood studs, 140 mm       Double wood stud wall,
                                                                   fibreglass insulation        280 mm fibreglass
                  Optimization             Cladding/fenestration   Wood shiplap siding,         Wood shiplap siding,
                                                                   aluminum fixed frame         PVC operable frame
                                                                   windows, Low E argon         windows, Low E argon

                                           Roofing system/         Conventional 2-ply Mod.      Conventional 2-ply Mod.
                                           insulation              Bit., 100 mm XPS             Bit., 250 mm cellulose




                                                                                                                             9
       Direct Operating Energy                             Fossil Fuel Use (Operations)




                         kWhr/yr                  L/yr
Source: S. Pope using CBIP estimating procedure
                                                          Source: Athena™ Environmental Impact Estimator




 Life Cycle Embodied Effects                             Total Life Cycle Effects:
                                                         Embodied + Operating



%"




              Fossil
                                                  Fossil

             Fuel Use"                                                Fuel Use"

     Source: Athena™ Environmental Impact Estimator
                                                         Source: Athena™ Environmental Impact Estimator




                                                                                                           10