Assessing Life Cycle Related Environmental Impacts Caused by Buildings

Ongoing (2016 - 2023)


The project is advancing the research already conducted within EBC Annexes 56 and 57. It broadens the scope of Annex 57 by including operational impacts of buildings in use and by addressing environmental impacts in addition to primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. It is the intention to cover residential, office and school buildings, hospitals and other public buildings, both new and retrofit. The overall goal is to support planning processes and decision making related to new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings to reduce the primary energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts along the entire life cycle of buildings.

The project is researching harmonization issues arising when applying life cycle assessment (LCA) approaches on buildings. It functions as a platform to exchange experiences and knowledge within partner countries and to foster the application of LCA on buildings in countries with yet little experience.

The project objectives are:

  • establish a common methodology guideline to assess the life cycle based primary energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts caused by buildings,
  • establish methods for the development of specific environmental benchmarks for different types of buildings,
  • derive regionally differentiated guidelines and tools for building design and planning such as BIM for architects and planners,
  • establish a number of case studies, focused to allow for answering some of the research issues and for deriving empirical benchmarks,
  • develop national or regional databases with regionally differentiated life cycle assessment data tailored to the construction sector, and
  • share experiences with the setup and update of such databases.

The planned deliverables from this project are:

  • harmonised guidelines on the environmental life cycle assessment of buildings,
  • establishing environmental benchmarks for buildings (basics, methods, examples),
  • national LCA databases used in the construction sector, including standardised characterisation of all relevant LCA databases,
  • guidelines for planners on how to optimise the life cycle performance of buildings during the design process using planning tools such as BIM,
  • building case studies using a standardised template,
  • how to establish national or regional LCA databases targeted to the construction sector, and
  • default publicly available, national data sets of LCA-based environmental indicators.

Operating Agent

Rolf Frischknecht
treeze Ltd.
Kanzleistrasse 4
CH - 8610 Uster


Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, China, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America; Observers: Brazil, Hungary, India, Slovenia