Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on developing scenarios to improve the environmental profile of new buildings in the Flemish/Belgian context. The study takes into account current energy regulation and investigates the influence of energy scenarios and building type on the environmental profile. A life cycle energy assessment (LCEA) and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) were carried out for all scenarios, supplemented by a screening life cycle costing (LCC). The results indicate the importance of the compactness of a building, with the best results identified for the terraced scenario. The results are due to the reduced use of materials and, to a smaller extent, a reduction in energy consumption (smaller exposed surface). The results of the energy scenarios show a discrepancy between the LCEA and LCIA. According to the LCEA, passive scenarios are always preferable, but the LCIA results suggest two ways to reach a similar environmental profile. Firstly, by providing a level of insulation based on current regulations complemented with advanced technical services, and, alternatively, by increasing the level of insulation along with standard services. The results of the LCC show a similar trend to those of the LCIA. The results therefore suggest that there are multiple ways to improve the environmental profile of new buildings. Nevertheless, the choice of impact assessment method can have a strong influence on the results.
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