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Framework for Detailed Comparison of Building Environmental Assessment Tools
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms). Högskolan i Gävle, Avdelningen för bygg- energi- och miljöteknik.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms). University of Gävle, Sweden.
University of Gävle, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5661-2917
University of Gävle, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Buildings, ISSN 2075-5309, E-ISSN 2075-5309, Vol. 3, no 1, 39-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding how Building Environmental Assessments Tools (BEATs) measure and define “environmental” building is of great interest to many stakeholders, but it is difficult to understand how BEATs relate to each other, as well as to make detailed and systematic tool comparisons. A framework for comparing BEATs is presented in the following which facilitates an understanding and comparison of similarities and differences in terms of structure, content, aggregation, and scope. The framework was tested by comparing three distinctly different assessment tools; LEED-NC v3, Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), and EcoEffect. Illustrations of the hierarchical structure of the tools gave a clear overview of their structural differences. When using the framework, the analysis showed that all three tools treat issues related to the main assessment categories: Energy and Pollution, Indoor Environment, and Materials and Waste. However, the environmental issues addressed, and the parameters defining the object of study, differ and, subsequently, so do rating, results, categories, issues, input data, aggregation methodology, and weighting. This means that BEATs measure “environmental” building differently and push “environmental” design in different directions. Therefore, tool comparisons are important, and the framework can be used to make these comparisons in a more detailed and systematic way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel, Switzerland: MDPI AG , 2013. Vol. 3, no 1, 39-60 p.
Keyword [sv]
framework, green building design, sustainable building, environmental assessment tool, LEED, code for sustainable homes, ecoeffect
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology Architectural Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192938DOI: 10.3390/buildings3010039OAI: diva2:973907

QC 20160929

Available from: 2013-02-26 Created: 2016-09-23 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental Assessment Tools for Neighbourhoods and Buildings in relation to Environment, Architecture, and Architects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Assessment Tools for Neighbourhoods and Buildings in relation to Environment, Architecture, and Architects
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores Neighbourhood and Building Environmental Assessment Tools’ (NBEATs’) function as assessment tools and decision support, and their relation to environment, architecture and architects. This is done by analysing, testing, and discussing a number of NBEATs (LEED-NC, Code for Sustainable Homes, EcoEffect, LEED-ND, BREEAM-C, and ENSLIC-tool), their manuals and use. Moreover, professionals’ (architects’) self-rated opinions regarding use and knowledge of NBEATs and environmental aspects are surveyed.

Similarities and differences in NBEATs are found regarding: content, structure, weighting and indicators used. Indicators distinguished as procedure, performance and feature are used to varying extents to assess social, environmental and technical aspects. NBEATs relation to environmental sustainability has limitations due to: non-transparency, tradable indicators, relative measures, low criteria levels, limited life cycle perspective, and exclusion of relevant environmental aspects, such as embedded toxic substances, nutrient cycles, land use change, and ecosystem services. Ratings and architecture are influenced by NBEATs in varying ways. Higher criteria levels would probably increase their impact on architecture. Thus more research regarding NBEATs and links to architectural design, theory and practice is welcomed.

There is limited use of NBEATs as decision support in early design phases such as in architectural competitions. Architects rate the importance of environmental aspects high, but few rate their skill in handling environmental aspects high. This calls for increasing knowledge and know-how of environmental strategies and solutions among architects and adaptation of NBEATs to early design processes. The values NBEATs reflect and the values we want them to create is also important. To support ‘environmental’ architecture, an increased socio-eco-technological system perspective is put forward, and other measures besides NBEATs are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 112 p.
architects, architecture, buildings, environment, environmental assessment tools, environmental sustainability, neighbourhoods
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192939 (URN)978-91-7729-123-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-21, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)

QC 20160926

Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-23 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Wallhagen, MaritaGlaumann, MauritzEriksson, Ola
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