Building life cycle assessments: how to gain a competitive advantage   

Discover why conducting a building lifecycle assessment is crucial in today’s construction landscape. Learn about compliance regulations, competitive advantages, and data-driven approaches to unlock emission reductions.

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With the built environment sector responsible for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s no surprise that real estate organisations are keen to enforce sustainable change. From the rise in Environmental, Social, and Governance policies to the increasing awareness of climate change among the public, the demand for low-carbon and net zero buildings has never been more voiced. In this blog, we delve into the value of building life cycle assessments (LCA), exploring how they not only help reduce carbon emissions but also optimise financial performance and foster competitive advantage in the built environment. 

What is a building life cycle assessment?  

A building life cycle assessment looks at a property’s environmental impact, considering its construction, use, and end-of-life phases. It involves measuring a building’s embodied and operational emissions, taking into account factors like energy use, materials, construction activity, and waste. By leaving no stone unturned, a comprehensive building LCA unpacks emissions data and paves a visible path towards decarbonisation. 

Why conduct a building life cycle assessment?

Staying ahead of potential upcoming policies and regulations by conducting building LCAs is crucial. Although current regulations may not directly address embodied carbon emissions, the momentum for action in this area is steadily growing. Initiatives like the London Plan Policy SI 2 mandates a third-party verified calculation of Whole Life Carbon emissions for each project through a building Life Cycle Assessment. 

Likewise, industry professionals in the UK are advocating for amendments to building regulations, such as the proposed ‘Part Z’, which aims to ensure that embodied carbon is thoroughly measured on all projects. The proposal provides a framework for proactive action and the launch of robust yet ambitious targets to drive compliance and sustainability within the built environment. 

By understanding both embodied and operational carbon, it unlocks opportunities for minimising carbon emissions at every stage, driving sustainable outcomes. During the design and construction phases, LCAs enable architects and builders to select materials and construction methods with lower embodied carbon, therefore reducing the initial carbon footprint of the building. It also informs decisions regarding energy-efficient systems and sustainable practices to minimise ongoing carbon emissions.    

While reducing whole life carbon emissions is paramount, it should not come at the expense of financial viability. Developers can optimise building design, materials, and operational strategies, leading to cost savings over the entire life cycle. Investors are increasingly interested in environmentally sustainable projects, and LCAs provide evidence of a developer’s commitment, making projects more attractive for investment. For contractors, LCAs present an opportunity to differentiate in a competitive market by aligning with the demand for environmentally responsible construction. 

According to analyses by JLL and Greenstreet, sustainable buildings – as measured by sustainability certifications – sell for 20% to 25% more than their less sustainable counterparts, highlighting the value proposition of sustainability in real estate. 

Discover how our Development Certification endorsed by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) can empower you to make impactful, informed decisions for your buildings’ entire lifespan. Our certification goes beyond compliance, ensuring that your buildings not only meet standards but also enhance society, add value to the local community, and contribute to economic prosperity. 

Building LCAs are a vital component of our certification process, enabling you to uncover innovative low-carbon design solutions. By demonstrating your commitment through third-party verification, you can strengthen your property value, increase stakeholder transparency, and maximise revenue potential. 

Get in touch with one of our expert team members today to explore the exciting possibilities for your business. 

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Wednesday 7th August 2024, 12:00pm - 1:00pm