German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) Publishes Guidelines for the Use of Life Cycle Assessments

Get the most out of the potential that life cycle assessments offer for reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry

The life cycle assessment method is one of the most effective ways of determining the environmental impact of various construction types, energy concepts, building components, and products –  in other words, all of the aspects that go into planning a new building, a renovation, or a modernisation project.

DGNB Leitfaden Ökobilanzierung

The two primary advantages of life cycle assessments are:

  1. They aid those responsible for the planning and execution processes in making better-informed decisions.
  2. They stimulate innovation by highlighting opportunities for creating higher-quality and more efficient products and buildings.

On this basis, the DGNB has published a guide for the use of life cycle assessments, including the following major points:

  • A basic understanding of the enormous benefits offered by the use of life cycle assessments in the planning process.
  • Emphasis of the potential that life cycle assessments hold for reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry, relative to the individual project phases.
  • Sample options for the visualization of life cycle assessment results can be displayed with the aid of a toolbox.

The guide provides building owners, planners, and other interested parties with an introduction to the subject of life cycle assessments. It underscores the benefits and advantages of applying the method in the planning of new buildings or during renovation, preferably at an early planning stage. It is the result of a series of workshops during which members of the DGNB pool of experts worked out the essential content.

At the product level, the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) has now been available in the construction industry for many years as a standardised and well-established instrument for testing the life cycle assessments of building products and publishing these in a uniform format. EPDs constitute the data basis for the life cycle assessments of buildings as well as for sustainable building. The Institut Bauen und Umwelt is the leading European EPD programme holder. On its IBU.data platform, the IBU makes EPD data available to users in digital format for direct use with software tools.

With these guidelines, the DGNB wishes to constructively contribute to the spread of knowledge on the relevance and feasibility of life cycle assessments and to provide concrete instructions for the communication of this information. The guide is available for download (in German).

2018-03-12T11:39:50+00:00 02.03.2018|