Toward LCA-lite: A Simplified Tool to Easily Apply LCA Logic at the Early Design Stage of Building in Australia
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), developed over 30 years ago, has been helpful in addressing a growing concern about the direct and indirect environmental impact of buildings over their lifetime. However, lack of reliable, available, comparable and consistent information on the life cycle environmental performance of buildings makes it very difficult for architects and engineers to apply this method in the early stages of building design when the most important decisions in relation to a building’s environmental impact are made. The LCA quantification method with need of employing complex tools and an enormous amount of data is unfeasible for small or individual building projects. This study discusses the possibility of the development of a tool that allows building designers to more easily apply the logic of LCA at the early design stage. Minimising data requirements and identifying the most effective parameters that promise to make the most difference, are the key points of simplification method. The conventional LCA framework and knowledge-based system are employed through the simplification process. Results of previous LCA studies in Australia are used as the specific knowledge that enable the system to generate outputs based on the user’s inputs.
Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), early design stage, most effective parameters, life cycle environmental performance