Pilot-Credits PC63: Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment

  • Tying evaluation to design

    After gathering feedback from project teams, this credit includes the next iteration of Pilot Credit 1: Life Cycle AnalysisAn evaluation of the environmental effects of a product or activity holistically, by analyzing the entire life cycle of a particular material, process, product, technology, service, or activity. of Building Assemblies and Materials. The intention of this pilot is to tie LCA evaluation to design decisions, and test the availability of LCIA data from product manufacturers. Structural and envelope material selections are often the first decisions made on a project, LCA is a tool best used to analyze the impact of structural and envelope materials before the project’s design is finalized.

    The reason for limiting the scope of the Life Cycle Assessment to structure and enclosure materials is due to current life cycle inventoryAn accounting of the energy and waste associated with the creation of a new product through use and disposal. databases populations being concentrated in these materials areas. Further, isolating structural materials targets environmental per-formance of these materials with inherently different nature in buildings.

    This updated pilot credit is the next step in the evolution of LEED actively engaging life cycle assessment in material decision making for buildings and thus an initial step in quantifying environmental benefit for materials decisions.

    Credit Submittals

    General

    1. Register for Pilot Credit(s) here
    2. Register a username at LEEDuser.com, and participate in online forum
    3. Submit feedback survey; supply PDF of your survey/confirmation of completion with credit documentation

    Credit Specific

    The ides of this credit is to explore the holistic environmental impacts of material selec-tion for structure and assembly. At a minimum submit summary life cycle inventory and assessment results for the materials and assemblies explored. As well as a comprehensive narrative outlining why the assemblies chosen were compared, any conclusions learned as part of the process, and any decisions made as a result of the study. If the project does not have an energy model ensure the same operational energy use is used in all assessments. The software tools approved for use in this pilot credit are the Athena Impact Estimator, GaBi, and SimaPro. If other tools are used please provide evidence that the tool meets the ISO requirements.

    Additional Questions

    • What LCA database was used to conduct analysis? Why did you choose it? What did you think of the tool’s usability and technical rigor?
    • Was obtaining product or brand specific LCIA data from manufactures difficult (or even possible)?  Where there any other major hindrances to earning this credit?
    • Do you think it is appropriate for this to be a design phase credit? Why or why not?
    • Was the safety of alternative materials chosen a concern? Why or why not?
  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    MR Pilot Credit 63: Whole building life cycle assessment

    Intent

    This is a pilot credit. To use any pilot credit on your LEED project, be sure to register here. Documentation requirements and additional questions are listed below.

    To increase the use of products and materials with life cycles and ingredients that improve overall environmental, economic and social performance.

    Requirements

    * This credit language is drawn from the LEED v4 draft. Where other point totals are noted, this pilot credit is worth 1 point in total. *

    Option 4. whole-building life-cycle assessment (3 points)

    For new construction (buildings or portions of buildings), conduct a life-cycle assessment of the project’s structure and enclosure that demonstrates a minimum of 10% reduction, compared with a baseline building, in at least three of the six impact categories listed below, one of which must be global warming potential. No impact category assessed as part of the life-cycle assessment may increase by more than 5% compared with the baseline building.

    The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and operating energy performance as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. The service life of the baseline and proposed buildings must be the same and at least 60 years to fully account for maintenance and replacement. Use the same life-cycle assessment software tools and data sets to evaluate both the baseline building and the proposed building, and report all listed impact categories. Data sets must be compliant with ISO 14044.

    Select at least three of the following impact categories for reduction:

    • global warming potential (greenhouse gases), in kg CO2e;
    • depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, in kg CFC-11;
    • acidificationBuild-up of acidity in soil and water bodies from acid precipitation, which gains acidity as it falls through an atmosphere containing certain pollutants, especially sulfur dioxide from coal-burning power plants. of land and water sources, in moles H+ or kg SO2;
    • eutrophication1. Eutrophication is the increase in chemical nutrients, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus often found in fertilizers, in an ecosystem. The added nutrients stimulate excessive plant growth, promoting algal blooms or weeds. The enhanced plant growth reduces oxygen in the land and water, reducing water quality and fish and other animal populations. 2. The process by which bodies of water are starved of oxygen and light by algae and other plants that multiply due to excessive concentrations of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Typical sources include fertil­izer runoff and poorly managed wastewater treatment systems, frequently including home septic systems., in kg nitrogen or kg phosphate;
    • formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and
    • depletion of nonrenewable energy resources, in MJ.

    General Pilot Documentation Requirements

    Register for the pilot credit

    Credits 1-14

    Credits 15-27

    Credits 28-42

    Credits 43-56

    Credits 57-67

    Credits 68-82

    Credits 83-103

    Credit specific:

    The idea of this credit is to explore the holistic environmental impacts of material selection for structure and assembly. At a minimum submit summary life cycle inventoryAn accounting of the energy and waste associated with the creation of a new product through use and disposal. and assessment results for the materials and assemblies explored. As well as a comprehensive narrative outlining why the assemblies chosen were compared, any conclusions learned as part of the process, and any decisions made as a result of the study. If the project does not have an energy model ensure the same operational energy use is used in all assessments. The software tools approved for use in this pilot credit are the Athena Impact Estimator, GaBi, and SimaPro. If other tools are used please provide evidence that the tool meets the ISO requirements.

    Additional questions:
    1. What LCA database was used to conduct analysis? Why did you choose it? What did you think of the tool’s usability and technical rigor?
    2. Was obtaining product or brand specific LCIA data from manufactures difficult (or even possible)? Where there any other major hindrances to earning this credit?
    3. Do you think it is appropriate for this to be a design phase credit? Why or why not?
    4. Was the safety of alternative materials chosen a concern? Why or why not?
    Changes:
    • Changes as a result of 3rd Public Comment (3/1/2012):

      Former Option 1 and Option 2 completely removed.

      Credit implementation strategy modified, intent remains the same.

    • Changes as a result of 5th Public Comment (1/15/2013):

      Modified to align with Building life-cycle impact reduction - Option 4

Articles

Foundations of LEED

Background for the LEED Pilot Credit Library is provided in this foundational document.

Organizations

LEED Pilot Credit Library

The homepage for the LEED Pilot Credit Library. The LEED Pilot Credit Library is intended to facilitate the introduction of new prerequisites and credits to LEED. This process will allow USGBC to test and refine credits through LEED 2009 project evaluations before they are sent through the balloting process for introduction into LEED.

22 Comments

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Javier Garcia Jones Valladares Ingenieria
Apr 18 2017
Guest
216 Thumbs Up

Pilot credit Vs LEED V4

Project Location: Spain

We are working in project that it's using pilot credit.
We would like to know if there are any learned lessons for V4 credit. Do you have any experience with this issue?.

Thanks in advantage

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Dirk Kestner Principal, Walter P Moore Apr 20 2017 Guest 474 Thumbs Up

Javier,
I’m sure everyone has a lot of opinions, but here are a few basic things that come to mind:
1. Start early. This credit should be used to shape the design, not to retroactively justify a reference building. Starting early lets you explore what is causing the impacts in your design, and then figure out how to minimize them.
2. Be wary of the “parametric” building designs / options in some programs where you input some basic geometry and framing parameters and the program generates a bill of materials. Those can be helpful for VERY rough comparisons, and perhaps for component placeholders if you are not optimizing that part of the system. However, I have found them to be too coarse to model the part(s) of the system you are trying to optimize to achieve impact reductions. Also, with BIM models today it is relatively easy to extract your actual quantities.
3. Engage the professional designing the parts of the system that you are optimizing. For example, if your strategy involves structural optimization make sure your structural engineer is involved, similarly for enclosure and the enclosure designer / engineer.
I hope that helps.
Dirk

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Malan Jayawickrama Research Assistant University of Peradeniya
Mar 08 2017
Guest

Is Athena Impact Estimator databses is recommende for South Asia

Project Location: Sri Lanka

I want to know whether LEED is accepting the results of whole building LCA conducted by using Athena Impact Estimator for a Building in SriA measure of the constructed surface's ability to stay cool in the sun by reflecting solar radiation and emitting thermal radiation. It is defined such that a standard black surface (initial solar reflectance 0.05, initial thermal emittance 0.90) has an initial SRI of 0, and a standard white surface (initial solar reflectance 0.80, initial thermal emittance 0.90) has an initial SRI of 100. To calculate the SRI for a given material, obtain its solar reflectance and thermal emittance via the Cool Roof Rating Council Standard (CRRC-1). SRI is calculated according to ASTM E 1980. Calculation of the aged SRI is based on the aged tested values of solar reflectance and thermal emittance. Lanka.(Since it is only for North America)
Or else what are the recommended databases and software which are geographically cover south Asian region?

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Emmanuel Pauwels Owner Green Living Projects s.l.
Oct 28 2016
LEEDuser Member
4449 Thumbs Up

tools

Project Location: Spain

Is one click LCA an accepted tool to demonstrate compliance with this credit?

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Vibha Pai Student University of Cincinnati
Jun 19 2016
Guest
467 Thumbs Up

Master's Research Survey

Project Location: United States

I am conducting this survey in affiliation with University of Cincinnati for my Master's thesis in support of my hypothesis. It would just take 10-15 minutes of your time and by completing this survey you would help me in giving my research the required depth in understanding the achievability of the credit points in the Material and Resource category of LEED v2009 and v2013. I will send in the end results of this survey to you, which could potentially make your decision process easier on any future LEED Registered projects you intend to work on.

The following is the link to my survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XR3ZVZN
Every response is valuable to my research.Thank you in advance for your time.

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Arturs Alsins
Mar 22 2016
Guest
9 Thumbs Up

LCA questionnaire for Master thesis

We are three students writing our respective theses on building life-cycle assessment"1. An evaluation of the environmental effects of a product from cradle to grave, as defined by ISO 14040-2006 and ISO 14044-2006. 2. The practice of quantifying and characterizing all the resource and pollution flows associated with a process or product, for the purpose of documenting its environmental impact. It is defined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) as a compilation and evaluation of the inputs" and the tools related to it - your time filling up our questionnaire would be much appreciated and help us achieve results relevant for the industry and for your business!

Answer here: http://goo.gl/forms/iUueUAHIeM - it only takes 5-10 minutes!

About us: Arturs is studying Real Estate Management (McS.) in Aalto University of Technology, where as Reija and Pierre are studying Environmental Engineering (BcS.) and and Civil Engineering (BcS.) in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences respectively.

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Devani PERERA Green Building Consultant ELAN
Nov 13 2015
Guest
493 Thumbs Up

Tools and flexibility

Project Location: France

There are secral tools that can be used for LCA but it appears that some tools are more detailed than others. In europe the calculation methods seems to go into great detail. I think its great that LEED has added this on to the LEED v4.

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Dirk Kestner Principal Walter P Moore
Feb 10 2015
Guest
474 Thumbs Up

Reference Building – Try #2

Project Location: United States

Resurrecting Mark Webster’s previous thread – I am finalizing a PC 63 submission and I’m curious what strategy others have used to define the reference building. Ours has been to use typical structural and enclosure systems used for a building of the same function in the project location based on our previous design portfolio and general knowledge of the market. What approach have others used?
Also, what software are people using? We have used both ATHENA and Tally.

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Devani PERERA Green Building Consultant, ELAN Apr 12 2015 Guest 493 Thumbs Up

We are about to submit our project as well so I do not have experience on how this credit is evaluated. As the baseline we have used typical building materials that are used for this type of building. This is how the initial study was conducted but the credit language asks that the base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings). to be modelled as per the base building in our energy model. As our building is not located in the US we chose to use a base building based on a typical warehouse building in the country.
We have used Elodie a french programme that completes a WBLCA as the data set is compliant with ISO 14044.

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Henrique Mendonca Life Cycle Engineer eTool
May 22 2014
Guest
23 Thumbs Up

Whole building LCA - embodied and operational impacts

Let’s suppose a building is designed to use a material that although it has high embodied energy1. Embodied energy is the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including its manufacture, transportation, and disposal, as well as the inherent energy captured within the product itself. 2. The energy expended in the process of creating a product, often including the fuel value of its constituent parts as well as transportation to its point of use. (concrete), it will improve the operational thermal performance due to thermal mass and the overall life cycle result is better. This is the whole of building approach, including both operational and embodied impacts. Will the 10% reduction target include whole building savings, accounting for both embodied and operational impacts?

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Kileigh Shea Walter P Moore Jan 18 2017 Guest

Henrique, the credit language requires the building and the baseline building you are comparing to be of comparable operating energy performance. While using concrete as a means of improving the operational performance of the building may be beneficial through the entire life of the building when looking at environmental impacts from both materials and operations, the intent of this credit is to look at the impacts from materials only.

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Oliver Grimaldi Mr Cundall
Nov 11 2013
Guest
26 Thumbs Up

LCI datasets

Is there any guidance regarding LCI datasets? In particular, expectations regarding regional specifics?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 20 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Oliver, the scope is speific to embodied carbon in structural systems. See the credit language above for more detail.

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Mark Webster Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Jun 27 2013
Guest
26 Thumbs Up

Reference Building

How have project teams been defining the reference building for this credit?

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Jody Solell Owner Solar Electrics
Jan 18 2013
Guest
41 Thumbs Up

embodied energy

Most if not all construction sites have a generator running to power the site. On new SF home construction the amount of gasoline used during the construction phase is about 100-150 gallons. Are LEED points awarded for using a renewable energy source to power the site, thus reducing the amount of embodied energy1. Embodied energy is the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including its manufacture, transportation, and disposal, as well as the inherent energy captured within the product itself. 2. The energy expended in the process of creating a product, often including the fuel value of its constituent parts as well as transportation to its point of use..

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 05 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Jody, construction activity like powering a generator would not typically be in the scope of this credit or most other LEED credits, but you should check out the clean construction pilot credit.

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Ronnie OLeary Sales Manager LEED AP BD&C DIXIE PLYWOOD & LUMBER, INC
Dec 13 2012
LEEDuser Member
113 Thumbs Up

LCA Question

I had a designer come back from Green Build talking about life cycle assessments for individual furniture pieces. Free standing desks, tables, and office furniture in general. Is anyone familiar with this? Where would it qualify?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 13 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Ronnie, an LCA for a specific building product is not applicable under this Pilot Credit, but it will matter under LEED v4, and possibly under other pilot credits.

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Alexandra Ramsden Director, Sustainability Rushing
Jul 11 2012
LEEDuser Member
79 Thumbs Up

Whole Building LCA as Innovation in Design point?

Two questions:
1) Is it acceptable to submit this as an ID point, outside of the pilot process?
2) I know this is probably a stretch, but what do you think about attempting more than 1 point for this if we were to go beyond the 10% improvement, similar to other credits (i.e. water use reduction awards and add'l point for each 5% increment of improvement..)??

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 12 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Alexandra, 1) I would assume not, since USGBC is specifically offering this credit as  pilot credit, which is one of the paths in IDc1. 2) I don't think that would work. There are pilot  credits where thresholds are identified for the purpose of defining the credit parameters, but still only one point is awarded. This would be like getting an EP point, and pilot credits aren't identified as offering EP points.

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MURAT DOĞRU GREEN BUILDING EXPERT ECOBUILD
Jun 16 2012
LEEDuser Member
210 Thumbs Up

Is Athena Impact Estimator Suitable for this Pilot Credit?

Are Athena Impact Estimator is suitable for this pilot credit.
Your sincerely,
Murat

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 12 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Murat, the Athena calculator is one of the accepted  tools for this credit—as noted above on this same page.

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