Profiling of the Material Environment and Lifecycle Assessment (LCA)
A particular characteristic of a sustainable building is the potential to substantially minimize the environmental effects it creates. Such interventions include its potential to reduce electricity demand and to release other contaminants (Akadiri, Chinyio, and Olomolaiye 2012, p. 127). Furthermore, the construction should make it possible to recycle resources and entry points. In particular, environmental issues are only integrated into the building project at the point of the assessment (Anderson and Thornback 2012, p. 2; Casini 2016, p. 10; Pargana, Pinheiro, Silvestre and de Brito 2014, p.476). At this stage, the environmental issues are well-aligned with the project objectives. Nevertheless, it rarely happens, and that the environmental problems are dealt with later in the stages of design where the opportunities are given and sometimes reduced to some extent (Ganjidoost and Alkass 2012, p. 603). Just like any other house undergoing refurbishment, the old mill store needs to be assessed for its suitability. Notably, while doing remodeling of the home, the following are looked into: roofs, walls, floors, building services such as the heating, water/damage as well as drainage system (Government of South Australia 2017, p. 2; Li, Zhu, and Zhang 2010, p. 770).
Particularly, all construction products have a lifecycle that affects the environment. The impacts occur since the making of that product to the end of its life (Blengini and Di Carlo 2010, p.871). In construction, the environmental implications begin from the extraction of raw materials to the processing, manufacturing, maintenance, refurbishment, and eventually disposal or the end of life (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013, p. 380; Crawford 2011, p. 15).
The Lifecycle of a Construction Product-Source Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia 2017
Concerning Figure 1, the old mill store is at the refurbishment stage (Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia 2017). Crawford (2011, p. 15) noted that in every phase of a construction project, the critical examination must be taken. In the case of the old store, there is the need for complete renovation since it is being altered into a new structure. First, the architects should assess the building condition to ascertain the cost of likely repairs on the roofs, floors, and walls that will be used in the new community center. The construction requires water, and therefore, there should be its sufficient supply as well as stable electric power tools. Notably, there will be a need for the steel ties, props, scaffold, and beams to stop the further collapse of the building or the roof. Further, more timber is necessary since there will be demarcations taking place in the warehouse such as those separating the kitchen, workshops, and shower facilities (Casini 2016, p. 10).
The environmental impacts are felt at all stages of a product lifecycle as well as LCA (Malmqvist et al. 2011, p.1902). Apparently, LCA is a technique that is used to determine the ecological effects that are released by a product/system in their entire life cycle (Ragheb 2011, p. 12). It involves five primary steps, which are setting a goal and scope, data collection, modelling, analysis, and, finally, critical review based on the ISO 1044 (Means and Guggemos 2015, p. 805). LCA gives generic or proprietary data of the specific building. In this case, the architects have already set the goal, which is to renovate the old store into a community. The next step is to collect information about the needed activities such as the sustainability issues associated with this project. Evidently, there will be wastes resulting from the refurbishment. These residues need to be removed from the site and taken to the dumpsites (Ganjidoost and Alkass 2012, p. 603). As a result, the project requires analysis and budgeting of the cost involved in the completion of the whole infrastructure. Buyle, Braet and Audenaert (2013, p. 385) further noted that the refurbishment must be certified and align to the sustainability protocols. Once the architects have all these information, they compile it into one report. The data derived is communicated through publications so that the public can access them (Khasreen, Banfill and Menzies 2009, p. 678).
The Benefits of Product Declaration and Environmental Certification
In the current world, there have been developments that target to assess the building performance in regards to its impacts on the social and environmental effects (Nemry et al. 2010, p. 976). Most of these schemes are voluntary; nevertheless, there are those that are mandatory (Building Research Establishment (BRE) 2017, p. 2). Clausen (2017, p. 2), noted that there are many benefits associated with environmental product declarations (EPD) certification which certifies with ISO 14025 and EN 15804. The first advantage is that it is applicable internationally and not only in Sweden because it is based on the ISO standards, which ensure acceptability, continuity, and applicability worldwide. The EPD is also adaptable since it accepts all environmental performance preferences, product types, markets, and audiences. It is comprehensive because it does communicate additional information such as quality control, environmental management, and social responsibility (Underwriters Laboratories Inc. 2017). Further, the EPD is comparable to other specific rules of product groups (PCR) enabling comparison of EPD products of different groups (Schmidt 2012, p. 5). Finally, it is credible because it uses scientific principles that are verified independently. EPD shows the results of an LCA and, therefore, the environmental impacts that are likely to occur during the renovation of the old mill (Hardy and Owens 2013, p. 2).
The other significant certifications are BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), which has the UK, International and Refurbishment versions (Zamagni 2012, p. 1). According to Engineers Journal (2017), BREEAM has certified about 561, 200 buildings thus showing the significance of green certification. Among others there is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) that is mostly applied in North America and other parts of the world. There is also the Green Star in Australia, (HQE) Haute Quality Environmental) of Canada, France, and Brazil, as well as Ska Rating that deals with non-domestic fit out (Passer et al. 2015, p. 4). Although using the EPD is not a guarantee that the results will be sustainable, the process gives standardized and consistent information, which allows one to assess the actual impacts through the various life cycles (Environ Dec 2017). Therefore, the constructor will make the informed decision.
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