The buried giant: Construction materials shape the environmental footprint of buildings


  • Rolf Frischknecht treeze, Switzerland



The environmental impacts, including those related to greenhouse gas emissions, of the construction and deconstruction of buildings come more and more into focus of governments and professional building owners. In new constructions these so-called embodied impacts are often more important than the environmental impacts during 50 years use phase. How did the environmental impacts caused by construction materials and building technologies and their supply chains change during the past three decades? What might be expected in the future? How did LCA contribute to the past development and how did LCA practice evolve during this period? Finally, are current LCA practices suited to support the transformation of the building stock towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions?
In a first part, the past as well as the potential future development of the environmental impacts caused by the manufacture of selected key construction materials and their supply chains will be presented. The main measures which lead to lower impacts in the past and which will be needed to further reduce environmental impacts in the future will be named. Current trends will be assessed against their effectiveness to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions of buildings and the built environment.
In a second part the history and evolution of LCI data collection and data management will be discussed. Several aspects will be covered such as information sources, modelling and methodology, environmental impacts (pollutants and resources) covered in the LCIs, IT resources and solutions, and information policies.


Download data is not yet available.