Evaluating the sustainability of the Flemish residential construction sector : methodology for simplified designsEvaluating the sustainability of the Flemish residential construction sector : methodology for simplified designs
Faculty of Applied Economics
International journal of energy and environment
6(2012):4, p. 462-469
University of Antwerp
Last decades there is a growing awareness for enhancing the sustainability of our society, either in research, policy and industry. This evolution has also affected the construction sector with a growing awareness to reduce environmental burdens. This paper starts with a description of tools to examine sustainability on a scientific basis considering the entire life cycle of buildings, like Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). Despite some inherent limitations, these instruments are useful to indicate hotspots of environmental burdens and indicate potential improvements. From current academic case studies some overall trends can be derived: the dominance of the use phase, the growing importance of other life cycle phases, as energy efficiency of buildings increases, and the negligibility of transportation. This knowledge will provide a basis for a new project to evaluate sustainability of the Flemish residential construction sector. First, an evaluation will be made of the current practice by collaborating with project developers, since they work with more standardized designs. The main topic will be modeling simplified standard designs, which are representative for the Flemish context. In this model, there will be worked with distributions instead of deterministic values, to improve the reliability of the results. Then, the results will be used to formulate possible improvements, both for the individual companies as for the current and future policy and subsidies.