Life cycle analysis (LCA) is entering the lexicon of building designers, who until recently only scrutinised carbon and other emissions for buildings in service. LCA is already commonly used in ‘well to wheels’ calculations of CO2 from vehicle fuels. E4tech has been closely involved in the development of regulations for biofuels LCA and is now applying the lessons learned to buildings, where it is also active as both consultancy and software developer.
A newly published paper by E4tech consultants in the journal Energy provides an introduction to LCAs, reviews trends in their use for bioenergy, compares these with the analysis included in building standards, and suggests changes the use of the methodology may undergo in the building sector. Whereas LCA studies in bioenergy are supporting strategic policy and technical decisions about emerging technologies, the building sector has come to LCA through the evolution and tightening of energy standards for relatively mature technologies. Building sector LCA practitioners are encouraged to engage with the LCA community to ensure their concerns are considered – which should also help insure against game-changing surprises equivalent to indirect land-use change (ILUC) in the bioenergy sector.
For details see Lessons from the bioenergy life-cycle assessment journey by E4tech consultants Kathrine Vad, Claire Chudziak and Luca Bertuccioli and E4tech Software CEO Flavio Foradini, published in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Energy (Vol.164, Issue EN4).