Sustainability tools for the assessment of construction materials and buildings
The construction industry, being the backbone of the European economy, has played a significant influential role in the development of the energy strategy of Europe and is also anticipated to be an important contributor in its successful implementation. Holistic sustainability assessment tools that are able to evaluate and optimise the environmental performance of construction materials and buildings are considered a key for the development of advanced building designs and use of sustainable building materials and elements and green energy- efficient systems that will raise high the sustainability level of the European built environment. The aim of this work is to present the current legislation addressing the construction industry, as well as the state-of-the- art Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools that are used for the sustainability assessment and optimisation of construction materials and buildings. In view of that, the standardised LCA methodology, and the approach of EcoHestia, a comphrehensive building sustainability assessment tool, are discussed. Through the employment of EcoHestia, the environmental impact of a case study building is defined, also providing a detailed breakdown of the contribution of each construction material in the overall environmental performance of the building. The analysis of the results has not only determined on the construction materials of the building that are most harmful to the natural resources and the environment, but also showcased the effectiveness and added value of utilizing this approach in moving forward towards a more sustainable green building sector.
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