Review of visualising LCA results in the design process of buildings

alexander Hollberg, bendik kiss, martin Rock, Bernadette Soust-Verdaguer , Aoife Houlihan Wiberg, Sebastian Lasvaux, Alina Galimshina, Guillaume Habert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is increasingly used for decision-making in the design process of buildings and neighbourhoods. Therefore, visualisation of LCA results to support interpretation and decision-making becomes more important. The number of building LCA tools and the published literature has increased substantially in recent years. Most of them include some type of visualisation. However, there are currently no clear guidelines and no harmonised way of presenting LCA results. In this paper, we review the current state of the art in visualising LCA results to provide a structured overview. Furthermore, we discuss recent and potential future developments. The review results show a great variety in visualisation options. By matching them with common LCA goals we provide a structured basis for future developments. Case studies combining different kinds of visualisations within the design environment, interactive dashboards, and immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, show a big potential for facilitating the interpretation of LCA results and collaborative design processes. The overview and recommendations presented in this paper provide a basis for future development of intuitive and design-integrated visualisation of LCA results to support decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107530
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume190
Early online date29 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Integrated design processes have been proposed to enable the design and implementation of sustainable buildings in practice, supporting communication and the exchange of relevant information amongst the various stakeholders [90]. This is true for all kinds of building projects, but especially important for the development of net zero emission buildings and neighbourhoods. The complexity rises as ever more stakeholders are involved in handling both ?top down? neighbourhood level data as well as ?bottom up? building and material level information. Considering aspects such as GHG emissions as KPIs is still new and challenging for many policy makers and building design professionals, not to mention citizens, who also need to be included early in participatory, integrated design processes [91]. A more recent approach to support these processes is the use of immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR). The potential of using VR to enable users to explore and interact with real design projects was investigated by Houlihan Wiberg et al. [36]. Fig. 7 shows examples of visualisations applied in the virtual environment for presenting information such as a) performance in relation to benchmarks, b) airplane icons as a type of pictorial unit chart, and c) a colour code to visualise the impact of building elements. As such, these visualisation types do not differentiate from the visualisations used on screens or paper. According to Houlihan Wiberg et al. [36], VR offers a more intuitive means to interpret the performance of a building or neighbourhood design and is an invaluable tool to engage users with no prior scientific knowledge. Furthermore, VR provides a means to overcome traditional interdisciplinary barriers by improving communication. These results are in line with Juraschek et al. [92] who emphasize the potential of VR in communicating LCA results and bridging the gap between LCA experts and non-experts.We would like to thank the following institutions for supporting this research: Swiss Federal Office of Energy, project ?Design-integrated Life Cycle Assessment using BIM (BIM-LCA)? [SI/501811-01]; National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary, project ?Optimisation of buildings and building elements from life cycle and building physics perspective based on complex numeric modelling? [FK 128663] and the BME Water Sciences & Disaster Prevention TKP2020 IE grant of NKFIH Hungary (BME IE-VIZ TKP2020); Spanish Ministry for Science, project ?Development of a unified tool for the quantification and reduction of environmental, social and economic impacts of life cycle buildings in Building Information Modelling platforms (BIM)? [BIA2017-84830-R]; Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (FME ZEN), ZEN partners, the Norwegian Research Council, and the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Ulster University, UK. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of The Fraunhofer Singapore Centre at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for hosting the NTNU Master students during their research stay. Martin R?ck's contribution is financially supported through a DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) [2019/1]. We would furthermore like to thank all colleagues in the IEA EBC Annex 72 for the discussions and their valuable feedback.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the following institutions for supporting this research: Swiss Federal Office of Energy , project “Design-integrated Life Cycle Assessment using BIM (BIM-LCA)” [ SI/501811-01 ]; National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary , project “Optimisation of buildings and building elements from life cycle and building physics perspective based on complex numeric modelling” [ FK 128663 ] and the BME Water Sciences & Disaster Prevention TKP2020 IE grant of NKFIH Hungary ( BME IE-VIZ TKP2020 ); Spanish Ministry for Science , project “Development of a unified tool for the quantification and reduction of environmental, social and economic impacts of life cycle buildings in Building Information Modelling platforms (BIM)” [ BIA2017-84830-R ]; Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (FME ZEN) , ZEN partners , the Norwegian Research Council , and the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Ulster University, UK. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of The Fraunhofer Singapore Centre at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for hosting the NTNU Master students during their research stay. Martin Röck's contribution is financially supported through a DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) [2019/1]. We would furthermore like to thank all colleagues in the IEA EBC Annex 72 for the discussions and their valuable feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Buildings
  • Design
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Visualisation

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