Based on the validation of an Eco-Efficiency framework, the architecture for an Eco-rating tool was developed. The tool integrates an assessment of quantitative and qualitative criteria for many environmental indicators, at the product and building component level to allow up to 3 buildings to be compared side by side.
The Eco Rating Tool tackles the sustainability issues impacting on people, the community and the planet, including signposts on how to close the three gaps in construction: Performance, Affordability and Environmental Impacts.
The tool can integrate an assessment of quantitative and qualitative criteria for many environmental indicators at the product and building component level. Underpinned by authoritative sources of information, a single score life-cycle answer will provide for an assessment and comparison. The tool will allow buildings to be compared side by side and is focused on ensuring it has Building Information Modelling (BIM) utility.
The quantitative indicators currently use Product data inputs from EN 15804 Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The tool will integrate the product data so that they can be built into building elements (e.g., an external wall) with links to the product level. The tool will also facilitate a Building level assessment by bringing together the building elements for an assessment of a whole building project. Links at this level connect back to the element level to ensure tool fidelity for any alterations and adjustments during product selection.
Qualitative indicators have been included for completeness as the EPD data is not available for all products, least of all, for sustainable products. For example, toxicity to human health impacts is scant or missing.
The qualitative indicators will cover:
The weighting of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is based on an Eco-Efficient Design and Build integrated framework, which includes a ‘Virtuous circle for change and continuous life-cycle improvement’ judgement tool.
The quantitative indicators are normalised and equal to the average impact of 1 EU citizen in 1 year (people emission equivalent). The quantitative indicator assessment scoring has some similarities to the BRE Eco-point approach. However, the tool has a wider and more realistic holistic consideration of all sustainable and health implications.
In sum, the tool allows the Self-Sustaining Building Programme to assist projects with the selection of the sustainable products and building components for an optimal life-cycle sustainable design and build. This includes best ‘integrated’ technologies for location, site and building type ensuring a circular economy approach.