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Methodological aspects of environmental assessment of buildings
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2949-422X
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The built environment contributes extensively to the overall environmental impact of society. An increasing number of tools have been developed worldwide for comprehensive environmental assessment and rating of buildings in order to make the building sector more sustainable. These tools are expected to drive and facilitate future environmental improvements and market transformation in the sector. This thesis explores different methodological aspects in tool development using experiences from two large Swedish projects, the EcoEffect and ByggaBo tools, which were developed with a high level of stakeholder participation in order to be of practical use in the building sector.

 

The methodological aspects explored and discussed here include an approach for systematic selection of assessment aspects (energy use, indoor air quality, etc.) in tools (Paper 3), and a systematic procedure for selecting practical indicators using theoretical (e.g. validity/environmental relevance) and practical (e.g. costs) criteria (Papers 2 and 3). An approach for simple communication of complex results is presented with examples from 26 multi-family buildings (Paper 4). This approach allows a building’s ‘environmental efficiency’ to be presented in one diagram, without weighting the two distinct assessment areas energy use and indoor environmental quality. Paper 5 discusses the contextual issue of internal use of environmental indicators in property management organisations through reviews of environmental performance evaluation and organisation theory literature and comparisons with actual case studies. The EcoEffect (Paper 1) and the ByggaBo tools are also compared and summarised.

 

The case studies of real buildings and experiences from the EcoEffect and ByggaBo projects allowed data collection, calculation procedures and different practical applications of such tools to be evaluated. Poor data availability sometimes limits assessments, and improved internal routines and database developments in the building sector would allow more reliable environmental assessments.

 

Reviews of numerous indicators in Paper 3 (and 2) and literature revealed that environmental relevance was not a key aspect when current environmental performance indicators and building rating tools were constructed. This thesis suggests that environmental relevance and systematic procedures be prioritised in order to provide robust and trustworthy tools for environmental assessment of buildings.  Recommendations, some of which are generally applicable to other environmental assessments, include selection of environmentally relevant indicators, systematic procedures for handling theoretical and practical considerations in tool development, aggregation and weighting methods, use of a life cycle perspective and inclusion of performance-based rather than feature-based indicators. Since it is likely that the information these tools provide will increasingly be used by authorities, building users, economic incentive providers such as banks, etc., the methodological developments suggested here to strengthen tool rigour are important for future tool development processes.

Abstract [sv]

Utvecklingen av verktyg för miljöbedömning av byggnader är ett område som expanderat kraftigt sedan 1990-talets början. Den ökande medvetenheten om den byggda miljöns omfattande bidrag till samhällets miljöpåverkan i stort har spelat stor roll för denna utveckling. Verktygen förväntas ha en betydelsefull roll i att driva på och underlätta miljöförbättringar och omdaning av marknaden i bygg- och fastighetssektorn. Denna avhandling utforskar olika metodaspekter för verktygsutveckling och bygger på erfarenheterna från två stora svenska metodutvecklingsprojekt för miljöbedömning av byggnader, EcoEffect och ByggaBo:s miljöklassning av byggnader. Båda dessa verktyg togs fram i samarbete med ett stort antal representanter från bygg- och fastighetssektorn, då verktygen syftade till praktisk användning.

 

Ett antal metodaspekter utforskas och diskuteras i avhandlingen. I artikel 3 föreslås och testas ett angreppssätt för systematiskt urval av miljöaspekter som ska bedömas av ett verktyg och dessutom föreslås här och i artikel 2 ett systematiskt tillvägagångssätt för att välja indikatorer för praktiskt användning utifrån både teoretiska (t ex. validitet) och praktiska (t ex. kostnad) kriterier. Ett angreppssätt för att underlätta kommunikation av komplexa miljöbedömningsresultat presenteras genom exempel från 26 flerfamiljshus i artikel 4. Detta angreppssätt möjliggör att redovisa en byggnads ‘miljöeffektivitet’ i ett diagram utan att behöva vikta de två disparata miljöaspekterna energianvändning och innemiljö. Artikel 5 tar upp användning av miljöindikatorer för internt arbete i fastighetsförvaltande organisationer genom litteraturöversikter inom områdena utvärdering av miljöprestanda och organisationsteori samt genom jämförelser med praktiska fallstudier. Verktygen EcoEffect (artikel 1) och nuvarande version av ByggaBo:s miljöklassningssystem sammanfattas också och jämförs i avhandlingen.

 

Genom ett antal fallstudier av verkliga byggnader och erfarenheterna från EcoEffect- och ByggaBo-projekten utvärderas frågor som insamling av indata, beräkningsmetoder och olika praktiska tillämpningar i avhandlingen. Dålig tillgång på indata begränsar ibland möjligheterna att göra miljöbedömningar. Förbättrade interna rutiner samt utveckling av nya typer av databaser inom bygg- och fastighetssektorn kommer med största sannolikhet att underlätta miljöbedömningar i framtiden.

 

Granskning av ett stort antal miljöindikatorer i artikel 3 (och 2) och litteratur på området visade att när miljöindikatorer och miljöklassningsmetoder tagits fram, har miljörelevansen hos dessa sällan haft högsta prioritet. Ett övergripande mål för denna avhandling har därför varit att bidra med rekommendationer som kan stärka miljörelevansen och trovärdigheten hos liknande indikatorer och verktyg. Några av de angreppssätt som föreslås är tillämpliga mer generellt också för andra typer av miljöbedömningar; t ex. hur miljörelevanta miljöindikatorer kan väljas, hur både teoretiska och praktiska överväganden kan hanteras på ett systematiskt sätt vid liknande verktygsutveckling, angreppssätt för viktning och aggregering av resultat samt användning av ett livscykelperspektiv. Vid miljöbedömning av byggnader bör också funktionsbaserade indikatorer i första hand väljas snarare än sådana som baseras på specifika tekniska utföranden. En trolig utveckling är att nya typer av användare i större utsträckning kommer att efterfråga den information som miljöbedömningsverktyg för byggnader kan tillhandahålla. Det kan handla om t ex. myndigheter, husköpare och ekonomiska incitamentsgivare såsom banker. Av denna anledning är de frågor som rör metodutveckling och tas upp i avhandlingen, klart betydelsefulla för att stärka noggrannhet, robusthet och trovärdighet i framtida utveckling av miljöbedömningsverktyg för byggnader.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2008. , 99 p.
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2008-10
Keyword [en]
environmental assessment, buildings, tool, environmental performance, property management
National Category
Architectural Engineering Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9742ISBN: 978-91-7415-183-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9742DiVA: diva2:127328
Public defence
2008-12-19, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Miljöklassning av byggnaderEcoEffect - miljövärdering av byggnaderMiljöstyrning med miljöindikatorer i fastighetsförvaltning
Note
QC 20100601Available from: 2008-12-08 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2011-09-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Environmental assessment of building properties - where natural and social sciences meet: the case of EcoEffect
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental assessment of building properties - where natural and social sciences meet: the case of EcoEffect
Show others...
2007 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 42, no 3, 1458-1464 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The EcoEffect method of assessing external and internal impacts of building properties is briefly described. The external impacts of manufacturing and transport of the building materials, the generation of power and heat consumed during the operation phase are assessed using life-cycle methodology. Emissions and waste; natural resource depletion and toxic substances in building materials are accounted for. Here methodologies from natural sciences are employed. The internal impacts involve the assessment of the risk for discomfort and ill-being due to features and properties of both the indoor environment and outdoor environment within the boundary of the building properties. This risk is calculated based on data and information from questionnaires; measurements and inspection where methodologies mainly from social sciences are used. Life-cycle costs covering investment and utilities costs as well as maintenance costs summed up over the lifetime of the building are also calculated.

The result presentation offers extensive layers of diagrams and data tables ranging from an aggregated diagram of environmental efficiency to quantitative indicators of different aspects and factors. Environmental efficiency provides a relative measure of the internal quality of a building property in relation to its external impact vis-à-vis its performance relative to other building properties.

Keyword
Environmental assessment; Building property; Life-cycle assessment; EcoEffect; Indoor environment; Outdoor environment
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-1189 (URN)10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.12.011 (DOI)000243121000049 ()2-s2.0-33751216211 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2008-07-04 Created: 2008-07-04 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Selecting problem-related environmental indicators for housing management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Selecting problem-related environmental indicators for housing management
2006 (English)In: Building Research & Information, ISSN 0961-3218, E-ISSN 1466-4321, Vol. 34, no 4, 321-333 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The performance of environmental management systems is difficult to evaluate due to insufficient methods for measuring their environmental impacts. A procedure is proposed that contains more environmentally relevant indicators for assessing environmental impacts. In addition, theoretical and practical criteria are suggested for evaluating the relevance of different indicators. This scheme was applied to the housing-management sector with the aim of finding more problem-related indicators. Data from three existing Swedish housing estates were collected and indicators calculated for three environmental aspects: energy use, household waste treatment and embedded toxic substances/materials. The results show that problem-related environmental indicators can be used in the housing sector to measure energy consumption and, to a certain extent, household waste treatment. Finding indicators for embedded toxic substances was found to be more problematic, but an example for further discussion is presented.

Keyword
building stock, environmental impacts, environmental indicators, environmental management system, facility management, housing, Sweden
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-2008 (URN)10.1080/09613210600733658 (DOI)000239626700003 ()
Available from: 2008-06-17 Created: 2008-06-17 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Environmental rating methods: selecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) aspects and indicators
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental rating methods: selecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) aspects and indicators
2008 (English)In: Building Research & Information, ISSN 0961-3218, E-ISSN 1466-4321, Vol. 36, no 5, 466-485 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is often unclear whether environmental rating methods for buildings assess the most significant environmental aspects or if other considerations lie behind the choice of assessment aspects in specific methods. In the development of a comprehensive Swedish environmental rating method for buildings, a number of approaches for selecting environmental aspects in a method were tested. These include basing the selection on the severity and extent of problems, on official objectives, on mandatory rules, and on current practice. Once aspects, or rather building-related health problems, are selected, possible indicators for monitoring these problems can be tested with regard to theoretical and practical criteria in order to understand better the strengths and limitations of different indicators. The analyses in the paper are limited to indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and thus cover extensive reviews of current IEQ methods, Swedish objectives, and legislation as well as the severity and extent of IEQ problems. The results show that depending on the chosen approach, different numbers of aspects turn out to be significant. The approaches for prioritizing aspects suggested here can be used, preferably in combination. An aspect can be seen as motivated for inclusion in a method if many of the approaches suggest its significance.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2008
Keyword
building assessment, environmental assessment, environmental indicators, indoor environmental quality, building characteristics, environmental performance, environmental rating, health, noise
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9738 (URN)10.1080/09613210802075841 (DOI)000258452400006 ()2-s2.0-49549113612 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Miljöklassning av byggnader
Note
QC 20100602Available from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Environmental efficiency in residential buildings: A simplified communication approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental efficiency in residential buildings: A simplified communication approach
2009 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 44, no 5, 937-947 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For all actors involved with planning, developing and managing buildings, the environmental impact relating to energy use and the quality of the indoor environment are both aspects of major concern. It is crucial that a reduction in the environmental impact of a building is not achieved through compromising the indoor environment. This paper presents a method to assess user satisfaction related to the indoor environment and the environmental impact related to the energy use of the building, i.e. the environmental efficiency of the building. This environmental efficiency comprises two indices that are calculated separately but displayed in the same diagram to facilitate communication of complex information. This approach forms part of the Swedish life cycle based environmental assessment tool for buildings, EcoEffect. The present paper presents and exemplifies the environmental efficiency of buildings using data from 26 Swedish multi-family residential buildings and proposes a number of reference values. The concept can be used as an overarching objective for environmental management of a property firm’s building stock or for evaluating targets set in the planning process for a new building. It can also be used for environmental rating of buildings, which would probably increase the communication value further. The aggregated indices are rough but proportionately straightforward to calculate and easily communicated. In addition, they address the environmental impacts of buildings in a much more comprehensive way than the current practice.

 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2009
Keyword
indoor environment, energy use, environmental efficiency, building assessment, assessment method
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9740 (URN)10.1016/j.buildenv.2008.06.025 (DOI)000263703500011 ()2-s2.0-58849123116 (Scopus ID)
Projects
EcoEffect - Miljövärdering av byggnaderMiljöklassning av byggnader
Note
QC 20100602Available from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. Managing Stakeholders or the Environment?: The Challenge of Relating Indicators in Practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing Stakeholders or the Environment?: The Challenge of Relating Indicators in Practice
2008 (English)In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 16, no 1, 27-37 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many organizations present their environmental work in the form of annual reports and use the indicators in them for follow-up. However, internal communication and management is needed for environmental improvements. The indicators found in reports may be suitable for external communication, but are they also suitable internally and operationally?

This article reviews the existing literature on environmental indicators.  With the help of an operational approach, from organisation theory, and a life-cycle approach, indicators are analysed. The analysis shows that formulating indicators for internal management is not an easy task; available guidelines are of little help. It is concluded that the environment can be managed internally by relating indicators. Therefore, an additional set of indicators for internal management and a wider responsibility for the life cycle are recommended. The analysis and recommendations are illustrated with examples drawn from the field of property management.

Keyword
Environmental performance, life-cycle perspective, internal management, organisation theory, property management, indicators
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9741 (URN)10.1002/csr.180 (DOI)000207836500003 ()2-s2.0-60249092698 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Miljöstyrning med miljöindikatorer i fastighetsförvaltning
Note
QC 20100602 Updated from submitted to published. QC 20120118Available from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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