Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Since the first oil crises in the 1970’s operational energy efficiency has become an increasingly important aspect of the design of buildings, as well as a subject of legislation respectively. As a result, the operational energy...

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Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCCA)

Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCCA)

Current assessments of the economic performance of buildings are mainly based on performance expressed in cost terms over the life cycle or in terms of financial value over the life cycle. The economic performance ...

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Mission Statement

Science Tower
Klima-und Energiefonds/APA-Fotoservice/Buchacher

The Working Group Sustainable Construction of the Institute of Technology and Testing of Building Materials is offering a broad spectrum in the area of sustainability assessment of buildings, life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle costing (LCC)  and systemic sustainability modelling including digitalisation and multi-criteria decision models.

Our research is dedicated on sustainability assessment methods, the work flow within the building design process and the applicability in the built environment as well as their successful implementation and realisation within demonstration projects. In our interdisciplinary projects our foci lie on the optimization of the environmental and economic performance by the use of life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, system analysis and multi- criteria assessment methods. 

NEWS


08-21 | Environmental modelling of building stocks – An integrated review of life cycle-based assessment models to support EU policy making

This new study by Martin Röck et al. presents a systematic review of both the latest scientific literature on environmental modelling of building stocks and related EU policy initiatives. The findings illuminate the strengths and limitations of existing approaches as well as the potential of such modelling and the required directions for future development to provide effective policy support.

Based on the assessment of 104 scientific papers, our study shortlisted and analysed 22 environmental building stock modelling approaches. While promising, these show various limitations on their effectiveness in supporting decarbonization efforts while avoiding burden shifting. Future building stock models should offer extended system boundaries and comprehensive life cycle assessment, improved hotspot analysis and impact monitoring across spatiotemporal scales. A long-term perspective on the entire building stock covering climate and other environmental impacts is needed, as outlined in the latest standards. By linking existing studies to related EU policy objectives, we identify various studies that investigate scenarios and strategies relevant to EU policy makers and highlight research gaps.

The publication can be accessed here.


08-21 | sbe22 berlin D-A-CH - call for abstracts

The sbe22 berlin D-A-CH conference will take place in September 2022 at TU Berlin.
It is part of the SBE conference series campaign 2021 – 2023 and will be hosted by the Natural Building Lab of TU Berlin in cooperation with KIT Karlsruhe, ETH Zürich and TU Graz.

The conference under the motto "Built Environment within Planetary Boundaries" will focus on Resource Management and Material Flows, Climate Neutral Buildings,Post-Fossil Infrastructures,Critical Digitalisation, Socio-Political Frames for Transitions.

The call for abstracts is open until mid-September. Please submit your contribution at sbe22.berlin.
Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to 17 October.


08-21 | Master of Engineering Sustainable Building

The postgraduate university course on sustainable building, which is carried out by the TU Vienna and TU Graz, is primarily dedicated to raising awareness for a holistic, life-cycle-oriented view of construction activities with regard to the 3-pillar model of sustainability.
It enables graduates to implement the principles of sustainable management in ecological, economic and socio-cultural terms in project development, planning and execution, as well as in the operation and demolition of buildings.
The program can either be taken as a 4-semester Master of Engineering or a 2-semester certificate course.

The course begins on 21 October 2021. Please submit your application until 29 August 2021.

For further information see tuwien.at.


08-21 | IPCC Report Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis

The IPCC has finalized the first part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.

The report summarizes the current physical understanding of the climate system and climate change as well as the latest advances in climate science. It provides the latest information on warming projections, shows how and why the climate has changed to date, and provides an improved understanding of the human impact on the climate (including extreme events).

The key statements of the report are:

  • Global warming will reach or exceed the 1.5 ° C mark on average over the next 20 years.
  • The further warming intensifies the thawing of the permafrost, the loss of the seasonal snow cover, the melting of glaciers and the disappearance of arctic sea ice in summer.
  • Climate change intensifies the water cycle. This leads to more intensive precipitation events and floods as well as to increased drought in many regions.
  • Some effects of climate change may be seen more intensly in cities.

The good news is that significant reductions in emissions will have a noticeable effect on air quality within five to ten years, and after 20 to 30 years also demonstrably on the rise in temperature. 

The Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA) created a poster to illustrate the working method of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the results of the report. It can be found here.

The full report can be accessed at ipcc.ch.


06-21 | Guest Researcher Bernardette Soust-Verdaguer

From June to early August 2021, the Working Group Sustainable Construction is hosting Bernardette Soust-Verdaguer as a guest researcher. She works as a researcher at the Building Construction I Department of the School of Architecture of the University of Seville. Her expertise area is the Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment integration in the building’s design process and design tools.
At the moment, she is concentrated on working in the project the IEA Annex 72 project Subtask 2 and the project “Development of a unified tool for the quantification and reduction of the environmental, social and economic impact during the buildings life cycle in BIM platforms”. During her stay we will focus on working on both projects, and specifically on the development of scientific deliverables and scientific papers related. Moreover, other further collaborations will be discussed.


05-21 | Sustainability Lecture by Eva Schulev-Steindl

Like last May, this year's (H)TU Sustainability Day will take place online on 19 May.

Eva Schulev-Steindl, professor at the Institute of Public Law and Political Science (University of Graz) and head of the Research Center for Climate Law will give the Sustainability Lecture on the topic "Legal policy challenges on the way to climate neutrality".
The climate crisis as a massive social, legal and political task is omnipresent today and has reached the center of social discourse at least since the emergence of the Fridays for Future movement.
Therefore, the lecture will focus on the obstacles that still need to be overcome on the way to the climate neutrality aimed for by the federal government by 2040 and where the impulses for a climate-friendly future are coming from.

The lecture will be streamed live from 16 to 18 o'clock on TUbe and is also available as recording afterwards.


04-21 | Construction Materials for a Sustainable Future CoMS21

The 2nd International Online Conference CoMS, co-organised by Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZAG, University of ZagrebUniversity of Novi Sad and Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung und -forschung BAM, took place from 21 to 22 April 2021.

Alexander Passer is one of six Plenary Speakers. His talk is titled Sustainable Construction – New Chances for our Future?
The keynote addresses the latest methodological, technological and policy related developments as well as presents good examples that show that it is possible to create a net-zero GHG-emission built environment. In addition to addressing climatic and environmental concerns, these projects also engage with wider societal concerns expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These positive examples are proof of technical, social and economic feasibility. It is imperative to adopt these practices widely.


04-21 | International Sustainable Energy Conference 2022

The International Sustainable Energy Conference - ISEC 2022, organized by AEE INTEC, sees itself as a promoter for innovative ideas in the areas of renewable energy systems and resource efficiency and is intended to be a forum for research, industry and energy policy.
Alexander Passer, head of the Working Group, is part of the Organizing Comitee of the 2nd edition of ISEC.

Unfortunately, the International Sustainable Energy Conference 2020 (ISEC 2020) had to be postponed by two years to April 2022 due to the effects of the corona pandemic.
The Call for Abstracts will be open from September 13 to October 10. Abstracts, that have been submitted in the last call,  will remain in the system and will be reviewed for 2022.

Registration will be open soon.

For further information see aee-intec-events.at/events/isec-2022.


04-21 | Summer Universities of OeAD: Green.Building.Solutions

Green.Building.Solutions Summer University is a three week master-level training for architects, engineers and urban planners. This year, it takes place online from July 17 to August 8. Austria's leading building experts provide in-depth knowledge on passive house standard, sustainable urban development, clean energy technologies, ecological architecture and construction in talks and interactive sessions. The program can be found here.

Apply until May 1 at summer-university.net/gbs-vienna/application/.
At GBS, one scholarship is exclusively reserved for a TU Graz student.


03-21 | Life cycle assessment of roads: Exploring research trends and harmonization challenges

Meta-analysis on the LCA methodology, reproducibility of the results and source of studies

As part of the HERMES-project, Endrit Hoxha et al. published a paper on the Life cycle assessment of roads. To overcome the problems in identifying low-carbon solutions for urban roads, a Systematic Literature Review was conducted. Only 18 % of the total 417 road case studies were classified as transparent and reproducible. Based on these results, the authors proposed several improvements of the life cycle assessment to ensure a harmonized calculation of the environmental impacts of roads.
Open access publication.


02-21 | Invitation to the 21th Climate Day

Because of the current situation, the 21th Climate Day was postponed again12 to 14 April 2021. For the first time it will take place online under the motto "Clash of Cultures?-Climate research meets industry!". The Climate Day is hosted by the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA) and is the most important networking event of the Austrian climate research community and promotes, among other things, the exchange and dialogue between scientific and non-scientific groups.
The current program including scientific contributions and framing events, as well as all other information about the Climate Day 2020 can be found here.
In each of the scientific sessions there will be 4 selected lectures on current climate research including discussion. In addition, there are thematically appropriate posters assigned to each session, but these are not presented directly in the session. In order to give the posters sufficient presence during the Climate Day, audio poster presentations will be made available on the CCCA website.

Barbara Truger's audio-presentation of a poster on the project ParisBuildings as part of the ACRP-Poster-Session 1 is available here.

A review of the 21st Austrian Climate Day can be found here.


02-21 | TU Graz on the Way to Becoming Austria's First Climate-Neutral University

(c) Lunghammer, TU Graz

Based on the results of the Greenhouse Gas Accounting of Graz University of Technology, the University has adopted a roadmap to climate neutrality by 2030. With specific measures and in cooperation with all employees and students, Graz University of Technology plans to fulfill its social responsibility in terms of climate protection and is thereby one of the pioneers among Austria's universities.

Günter Getzinger (Project manager Climate-neutral TU Graz) and Alexander Passer (chairman of the Sustainability Advisory Board) were in charge of creating this roadmap to climate neutrality.

In this interview, they explain the strategy of TU Graz and what measures each employee can take to support Graz University of Technology on its path to climate neutrality. The university is essentially pursuing three strategies: increase in efficiency, eco-effectiveness and eco-sufficiency. The focus is on switching to electricity from renewable sources, low-emission heating and cooling systems, sustainable construction and reducing carbon emissions from transportation.
Biking or using public transportation and travelling by train instead of airplane on business trips is highly encouraged. The university subsidizes e-bikes, tickets for public transportation and the charging of electric cars and supports research projects especially in the area of sustainable construction.


01-21 | makingAchange: Online-Workshops with schools on Climate Change and greenhouse gas reporting

At the end of January and the beginning of February, Alexander Passer and Antonija Wieser, hold interactive online workshops for schools on the topic of climate change and greenhouse gas reporting. The workshops are part of the project makingAchange.
makingAchange is a cooperation project between science and schools. The CCCA - Climate Change Centre Austria, together with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, invited secondary schools to participate in that project on climate change and sustainability in Austria. The AGNHB is conducting the workshops for schools in the Southeast of Austria, namly in Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland.

The overall aim of makingAchange is to contribute to the transformation of society, to raise awareness and integrate the topics of climate protection and sustainability into the school environment as well as in the everyday life of pupils. More about other topics is to be found on the website.

We are looking forward to a great interesting insights, lively discussions as well as many greenhouse gas reportings of schools.

For schools interested: Soon another Call for the second round of schools participating in the school year 2021/2022 will be announced. For updates check the website.


11-20 | Seminar "Techno-Economic Research Methods - How to perform a Systematic Literature Review"

On 25 November, Dr. Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade, who is an employee at the Working Group since July 2020, held a lecture on how to perform a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) as part of a series of seminars organised jointly with the Institute of Business Economics and Industrial Sociology.

The seminar series deal with Techno-Economic Research Methods, which are crucial to every scientific discipline as they ensure rationality and verifiability of scientific findings.

In the seminar, participants were taught the different steps involved in performing an SLR to enable them to differentiate between narrative and systematic reviews, to develop answerable research questions, to design a search protocol and to organize and combine search outcomes.

Two more seminars will take place in December and January. The second one is also co-organised by the Working Group and will be held by Prof. Karen Allacker from KU Leuven on the topic of "Research methods with focus on Sustainability". Registration is open until January 25th 2021. Biking or using public transportation and travelling by train instead of airplane on business trips is highly encouraged. The university subsidizes e-bikes, tickets for public transportation and the charging of electric cars and supports research projects especially in the area of sustainable construction.


11-20 | Environmental Impact of Reinforcing Steel in Austria

Reinforcing steel is one of the most important materials in the construction industry and contributes substantially to the emissions of the building sector.
As there was no data on reinforcing steel for the Austrian context, the Working Group published an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in cooperation with the steel and rolling mill Marienhütte Graz in April 2020. For an EPD, the whole life cylce of a product from manufacturing, to use and disposal is assessed.
The entire document can be downloaded here.

This data is now used in the metal sector of ecoinvent 3.7, that has been updated with new datasets on copper, nickel, iron and steel, and scarce metals such as cobalt, rare earths, tungsten, and beryllium (see ecoinvent 3.7 news).

Barbara Truger will give more details on the topic of greenhouse gas emissions in reinforcing steel production at e-nova on 27 November.


11-20 | WSBE2020: Carbon Metrics

Can appropriate carbon metrics in combination with carbon budgets be developed and used by built environment professionals, clients and civil society? Is it feasible to have a scalable approach? Can governments provide clear, useful targets to the products / construction / real estate industries?

Based on the paper "Latest developments in the assessment rules of GHG emissions: biogenic carbon“ published in Buildings & Cities special issue on Carbon Metrics, new findings are presented.
All videos can be watched at buildingsandcities.org.


11-20 | World Sustainable Built Environment Conference

The World Sustainable Built Environment Conference (WSBE2020) has taken place online from 2 to 4 November.

On Monday, Martin Röck presented "Embodied GHG emissions of buildings -- Critical reflection of benchmark comparison and in-depth analysis of drivers" (in session D1_01_S2 Embodied energy and emissions). This study by Martin Röck et al investigates the global trends of GHG emissions occurring across the life cycle of buildings by systematically compiling life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and analysing more than 650 building cases.
Followed by the paper on "Austrian GHG emission targets for new buildings and major renovations: an exploratory study" (in session D1_01_S3 Climate change mitigation & adaptation - targets and strategies). This study evaluates embodied and operational impacts of Austrian building stock and from construction of new buildings and reduction targets are set at building level based on the hypothesis for 2050.
Marco Scherz presented "Challenges in achieving a Net Zero Carbon Built Environment - A systemic decision-aiding process to support the design stage of buildings" (in session D1_04_S5 Climate change mitigation & adaptation - methods for design and decision support). This paper highlights the challenges in the achievement of a Net Zero Carbon Built Environment by the implementation of a systemic design model in the early design stage of buildings.

On Wednesday, Endrit Hoxha presented "Life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of urban roads: a literature review" (in session D3_05_S6 LCA method 2), an SLR, that aims to identify key aspects missing in the assessment of urban roads, which complicates the comparison of the results of cases published in literature, will be presented.

On Tuesday and Wednesday Alexander Passer chaired sessions on the topics of "Sustainable material and product innovation" and "Public policies and management approaches" with presentations about the use of green facades for industrial buildings, recycling concrete and climate footprint analysis in the design phase and about the requirements for circular economy business models and sustainable housing for all.

For detailed information about the conference see: beyond2020.se

Contact
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Alexander Passer
Assoc.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. MSc

Arbeitsgruppe Nachhaltiges Bauen
Waagner-Biro-Straße 100
8020 Graz

Phone
+43 316 873 - 7153

Helmuth Kreiner
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.

Arbeitsgruppe Nachhaltiges Bauen
Waagner-Biro-Straße 100
8020 Graz

Phone
+43 316 873 - 7154