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AEC professionals are well aware that designing
sustainably is key to achieving environmental goals. Architects,
engineers, construction professionals and building owners must focus on
the best decisions during conception, design, construction and
operations in order to support sustainability objectives.
new buildings and renovation projects will serve their occupants for
decades, the overall cost in resources and the environmental impact of
operations and maintenance must outweigh the initial costs of
construction. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodology that
considers the resource impacts of a product or service from inception
to end. In a typical building project, the complexity of the supply
chain and the fragmented nature of the process pose challenges to
implementing a methodology like LCA. Yet, there is mounting research
activity and industry interest that supports the benefits of an LCA
process. BIM technology supports LCA by helping to answer complex
questions about project information and buildings operations processes.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has created a
formal collection of standards for evaluating environmental impacts.
These standards offer a framework for assessing product environmental
impact from materials extraction and processing, through product use,
de-commissioning or discarding.
There are also emerging
companies, such as Sustainable Minds, which deliver web-based software
and services which support Life Cycle Assessment in design and help
companies consider the implications of early stage LCA. As connections
evolve between technology and assessment approaches like LCA, and as
new organizations emerge to support and evangelize LCA, customers will
have the tools to make the best decisions about design and
construction, leading to more efficient building processes &
performance, and supporting goals for sustainability.