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Buildings 2015, 5(2), 536-559;

Using Life Cycle Assessment to Inform Decision-Making for Sustainable Buildings

TRANSFORM Research Team, Department of Architectural Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Unit Smart Energy and Built Environment, VITO NV, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Chimay J. Anumba and Elma Durmisevic
Received: 28 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 21 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Because the student residences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel built in 1973 are not adapted to current comfort standards, the university decided to construct new accommodation facilities at the border of the campus. However, besides demolition, there was no strategy on how to deal with the existing ones. In the search for a more sustainable strategy, the university’s administration assigned the TRANSFORM research team to define various design strategies and to assess the long-term environmental consequences in order to select the best strategy by the use of Life Cycle Environmental Assessment. Current Life Cycle Environmental Assessments generally include maintenance, repair, replacement and operational energy consumption during use, but do not include future refurbishments. However, it is likely that their impact cannot be neglected either. Therefore, this article offers a framework which takes future refurbishments into account, in addition to the standard use impacts: initial and end-of-life impact. We report on the construction assemblies, the results of the assessments conducted and the advice provided. The results confirm that the impact of future refurbishments cannot be neglected. In addition, we observed that there were significant environmental savings when transforming the residences compared to new construction, and long-term benefits of a design enabling the reuse of building elements. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle design; Life Cycle Environmental Assessment; refurbishment; case study; design for change life cycle design; Life Cycle Environmental Assessment; refurbishment; case study; design for change

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Vandenbroucke, M.; Galle, W.; De Temmerman, N.; Debacker, W.; Paduart, A. Using Life Cycle Assessment to Inform Decision-Making for Sustainable Buildings. Buildings 2015, 5, 536-559.

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