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Enabling Architectural Design based on Life Cycle Assessment of Materials, Construction and Form

Prof Michael Lauring | Aalborg University, Denmark

Enabling Architectural Design based on Life Cycle Assessment of Materials, Construction and Form

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Designing sustainable architecture requires the integration of a large number of aspects of technical, functional and aesthetic character. If a multitude of aspects are to be handled during the sketching phase where crucial environmental decisions are taken, each aspect's influence on the design strategy must be easy to grasp and different solutions must be easy to calculate in a quick manner. While for instance calculations of energy consumption for heat and ventilation are relatively easy to carry out as simple digital tools are available, life cycle assessment of building materials is much more complicated. Each material represents a lot of data, different environmental impacts are difficult to compare, there are numerous materials represented even in a simple house and on top of that the choice of materials and constructions influences the heat consumption while also being crucial to the visual and tactile outcome of the architectural design. This paper tells of a successful attempt at making a research-based handbook for students and practitioners of architecture, engineering and building construction that describes, calculates and visualizes the above mentioned aspects in order to facilitate the inclusion of life cycle assessment in design and architectural engineering. The work has been published as: Marsh, R; Lauring, M; Petersen, E.H. (2000): Arkitektur og milj�. Form konstruktion materialer - og miljopavirkning. Arhus: Kunstakademiets Arkitektskolens Forlag, 128 pages. Also as: Marsh, R; Lauring, M; Petersen, E.H: Passive solar energy and thermal mass: the implications of environmental analysis, in ARQ - Architectural Research Quarterly, 2001 no 1 volume 5, pp 79-89, Cambridge University Press.