Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Integrated assessment method for building life cycle environmental and economic performance


life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, environmental load, environmental cost, building design


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool to identify a building’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. However, LCA does have limits in practice because it does not consider the economic aspect of project implementation. In order to promote LCA application, a more comprehensive evaluation of building life cycle environmental and economic performance must be performed. To address these issues, we propose life cycle green cost assessment (LCGCA), a method that combines LCA with life cycle costing (LCC). In LCGCA the building’s environmental loads are converted to environmental costs based on the trading price of CO2 certified emission reductions (CERs). These environmental costs are then included into the building life cycle cost. Subsequently an evaluation index of green net present value (GNPV) for LCGCA can be obtained. A governmental office building in Beijing was studied using LCGCA. Several design options were compared and the sensitivity of the CER price was analyzed. The research also shows that conclusions reached by LCGCA may be different from those of traditional LCC, which does not include environmental costs. The application of LCGCA needs the support of environmental policies. A sound environmental tax mechanism is expected to be established in China soon, which will enable LCGCA to be a useful tool to guide sustainable building design efficiently.


Tsinghua University Press

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