The Role of Environmental Assessment of Buildings

Appu Haapio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


Since the building sector started to recognise the impact of their activities on the environment in the 1990s, environmentally related issues have been extremely popular research area. Over the past decade, the development of the tools has been active, and the tools have gained considerable success. Numerous tools have been developed for the building sector to help decision making, and to improve the environmental performance of buildings and building stocks. The variety of the tools is wide; LCA based tools, rating systems, technical guidelines, assessment frameworks, checklists and certificates. However, assessment tools are not used simultaneously with design tools.
Awareness of environmental and energy efficiency issues relating to building design and construction is increasing. A wider perspective is needed – optimising one thing is not always the best solution considering the whole. Thus, it is essential to integrate environmental assessment of building to a wider concept – the design process right from the beginning. Through simulations, for example, the building performance could be continually refined and improved. The earlier the simulations are done, the more possibilities they have to influence the design itself. Moreover, the costs of changes are lower in the early design phase. Including the environmental aspect to the design process from the beginning would be a competitive strength. Building information modelling (BIM) could be seen as an integrative element between sustainable building, and decision making.
The requirements for the assessment tools of buildings have increased tremendously. The environmental assessment of building components or separate buildings is not enough. In addition to analysis of environmental aspects, the other aspects of sustainability; economical and social aspects, have to be considered. Moreover, the neighbourhoods, built environment, public transportations, and services, should be considered and analysed simultaneously. The focus seems to be on developing frameworks and assessment tools for urban neighbourhoods and communities, such as BREEAM Communities, CASBEE for Urban Development, and LEED for Neigborhood Development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Construction - A Life Cycle Approach in Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings, International Symposium Malta, 23-25 July 2010. COST Action C25
EditorsLuis Bragança, Heli Koukkari, Milan Veljkovic, Ruben Paul Borg
Place of PublicationMalta
PublisherUniversity of Malta
ISBN (Print)9789993209171
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventCOST Action 25: International Symposium, Sustainable Construction, A Life Cycle Approach in Engineering - Valletta, Malta
Duration: 23 Jul 201025 Jul 2010


ConferenceCOST Action 25: International Symposium, Sustainable Construction, A Life Cycle Approach in Engineering


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