"Piloting the Common Metrics", a research project of the Sustainable Building Alliance

Julien Hans, Sylviane Nibel, Anne Claire Freyd, Ana Cunha, Daniel Doran, Tim Barrow Williams, Hannele Ahvenniemi, Pekka Huovila, Jiri Sobola, Martin Vonka, Antonin Lupísek, Eva Schmincke, Katrin Lenz, Teresa Soto Vicario, Scott Horst, Chris Pyke, Jeff Kuziemko, Lauren Riggs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


For new buildings the consumption of energy in a 50-year period is as much as the impact of the manufacturing and construction processes, hence assessment and comparison methodologies encompassing the whole building life-cycle are required. As studies about the environmental performance of buildings also address issues related to waste, water or other resources and emissions, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has become a recognized assessment method.

LCA is being integrated in building certification schemes worldwide for assessing the lifecycle environmental impacts. Several standards have been developed in Europe and worldwide, but finding agreement on life cycle stages, contributors and indicators is necessary for comparing and harmonizing obtained LCA results. The main goal of the ‘SBA Common Metrics’ project is reaching this agreement.

In particular, the project aims at setting up a common approach for calculating a set of indicators according to common rules, parameters, elements, building phases and local features. This approach should be integrated in the existing certification schemes to promote comparability worldwide.

During 2009 and 2010, the ‘Indicators Core Group’ of the Sustainable Building Alliance (SBA) selected a set of environmental indicators, the ‘SBA Common Metrics’, and developed a ‘Framework for Common Metrics’. The document provides a method for calculating, using and communicating the chosen indicators: global warming potential, use of non-renewable primary energy, water use, solid waste and indoor environment quality, in compliance with
the CEN TC 350 standardization work.

In 2011, The ‘Framework for Common Metrics’ was pilot-tested in projects involving real buildings to analyse its feasibility concerning data availability, calculation, comparability of results and integration in the existing rating schemes (HANS et al, SBA report phase 1 (2012)). The pilot-test indicated that despite some differences due to national specifics, the integration of these SBA metrics within (existing) building assessment schemes(BREEAM, HQE, DGNB, …) will be possible, although this will occur according to the ‘ambition level’ of
each country.

Finally, the consistency and comparability of the ‘Common Metrics’ which was studied in 2012, will, together with the pilot-test results, enable the SB Alliance to improve the ‘Framework for Common Metrics’. This paper presents the research results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th CIB World Building Congress
EditorsStephen Kajewski, Karen Manley, Keith Hampson
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-0-9875542-0-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event19th CIB World Building Congress, WBC13: Construction and Society - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 5 May 20139 May 2013
Conference number: 19


Conference19th CIB World Building Congress, WBC13
Abbreviated titleWBC13


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