Track: A

Date: 29.08.2018

Time: 3:00 – 4:00pm

Room: Brandenburg Gate

Session 2 | Sustainable Innovation in the Building Sector

Presenter: Ivo Mersiowsky, Quiridium GbR

The window industry in Germany is dominated by small and medium-sized companies: while for the small ones in particular consolidation is already progressing, medium-sized companies are undergoing great changes. Prices are under pressure due to increasing window imports from Eastern Europe and Asia. A new generation of executives is taking over responsibility during the next years. Thus, digitisation is an innovation challenge: while it opens up possibilities for new products and services, and also enables process efficiency improvements, there is a risk of overspending and thus further jeopardising competitiveness. In fact, resource efficiency may decrease if customers do not appreciate the utility of product features, while materials and effort spent on developing them increase substantially. Therefore, digitisation needs to align with resource efficiency in order to be successful. In a unique roundtable approach, companies along the value chain of window-making, from raw materials to profile extrusion, window system design and manufacture, and including equipment manufacturers and ERP software vendors, are collaborating on this challenge. Each company conducts a resource efficiency assessment of its own product portfolio and operations. Product and organisational footprints are calculated automatically. Optimisations may include product portfolios and process improvements as well as, ultimately, company strategy. Where improvement potentials are identified in the supply chain, these are leveraged in collaborative pilot projects. A window system developer may work with a fittings manufacturer on lean solutions for smart home applications. Through the innovation forum and feedback into the quality assurance scheme, the entire sector is advancing. This work uses EcoChain as an assessment tool, is conducted under the auspices of the window quality association (RAL-Gütegemeinschaft Kunststoff-Fensterprofilsysteme e.V., GKFP), and is supported by Umwelttechnik Baden-Württemberg.

Presenter: Karina Condeixa, Independent Researcher

Co-Authors: Assed Naked Haddad, Dieter Boer

Climate Changes are closely related to human activities as a result of unbalances between interactions in the anthropogenic system and the natural environment. Material Flow Analysis combined with Life Cycle Assessment (MFA-LCA) has been applied to identify disparities toward a balanced system and sustainability in human activities.
However, the usual lack of statistical data of municipalities results in huge inaccuracy and uncertainty in studies of MFA made with top-down approaches.
Studies in bottom-up approaches, on the other hand, are more accurate; nonetheless, these studies must be made separately bearing in mind the different fields of study.
This work reports updates of a larger MFA-LCA study that had characterized the residential building stock in-use in the city of Rio de Janeiro and had accounted the materials in it. These were done by an analysis of the urban development and extrapolations of the material intensity of typical buildings per variations of constructed area, respectively, through a bottom-up approach.
In this work, a study of life cycle impact assessment was carried out by measuring Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions incorporated in the building stock from the energy consumption by its households. This study was designed to provide the participation of domestic energy consumption to support decision-making for the efficient use of energy in buildings, and reduction of emission of GHG related to this sector for a balanced urban metabolism in the face of climate changes. Trends in energy consumption by its households were surveyed based on statistics and literature, and the resulting GHG emissions were calculated considering the base year of 2010 and the remaining lifetime of the buildings. The GHG emissions were calculated using regional datasets of Mix of energy from Brazil in a Life Cycle Impact Assessment with the IPCC2013 method considering the Global Warming Potential for 100 years (GWP100). A sensitivity analysis compares the variations in the GHG emissions from the average of consumption in winter and summer seasons. Results indicate emissions of 4.E+10 t CO2-Eq, with an annual rate of 7.E+03 t CO2-Eq by m2 of the constructed area in 2010. Based on the trends of energy consumption, changes in systems for water heating, and the use of electronic appliances with high electric efficiency are highly recommended.

The first publication [1] of the study that is the basis for this work:
[1] K. Condeixa, A. Haddad, and D. Boer, “Material Flow Analysis of the Residential Building Stock at the city of Rio de Janeiro,” J. Clean. Prod., vol. 149, pp. 1–19, 2017.

Presenter: Carolin Spirinckx, VITO/EnergyVille

Co-Authors: M. Thuring, L. Damen, A. Passer, M. Röck, K. Allacker, D. Ramon, N. Mirabella

The aim of the PEF4Buildings project, commissioned by the European Commission (EC), is to assess if the PEF method (Product Environmental Footprint) and the latest versions available of the related guidance documents developed in the framework of the Environmental Footprint pilot test phase are applicable at the building level.
As a first step, two PEF studies on new office buildings were performed. The first one is the office building BelOrta of BelOrta CVBA, designed by the architectural firm AR-TE. The second office building assessed in the study is the office BE2226 of Baumschlager & Eberle, Lustenau, Austria. The assessment of this building allows to test the PEF in different contexts, since the BE2226 office is a nearly-zero-energy building.

In a second step, a possible approach to benchmark office buildings and to define classes of performance is developed. The approach is developed based on the findings of the PEF study on two new office buildings, the PEF Guidance and a dedicated desk research, and covers issues like how to define the reference building, how to define system boundaries, how many reference buildings should be defined and how to handle this range of different options.

A third step of this study was devoted to the assessment at the building level, and more specifically how to link the assessment of the environmental performance of construction products to the assessment of a building by using the PEF method. The assessment starts from the results of the PEF study on two new office buildings, but is extended to other possible European building typologies.
In this framework two 1-day workshops with stakeholders were organised. At the first workshop (July 5th, 2017, Brussels) the draft results of the PEF assessments of the office buildings were presented. At the second workshop (January 29th, 2018, Brussels) the draft results of the desk research on benchmarking and performance classes of office buildings and of the assessment at the building level that links the environmental performance of construction products with the building assessment by using the PEF method were presented, followed by an interactive discussion with the stakeholders.
During the Life Cycle Innovation Conference (LCIC 2018), we will present the main outcome of this project and share the latest results of additional assessments of using PEF for assessing the environmental performance at building level.

Allacker, K. et al., 2013. Environmental profile of building elements D. Wille, ed., Stationsstraat 110, 2800 Mechelen: OVAM.
Dodd, N., Garbarino, E., & Gama Caldas, M. (2017). Level(s) – A common EU framework of core sustainability indicators for office and residential buildings – Parts 1 and 2: Introduction to Level(s) and how it works (Draft Beta v1.0), (August), 1–68. Retrieved from
EC, 2013. 2013/179/EU:Commission Recommendation of 9 April 2013 on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations, Available at:
EC, 2016. Guidance for the implementation of the EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) during the Environmental Footprint (EF) pilot phase, Available at:
Passer, A. et al., 2015. Environmental product declarations entering the building sector: critical reflections based on 5 to 10 years experience in different European countries. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 20(9), pp.1199–1212. Available at:

Presenter: Glaucia Santos Buchmann, BASF

The demand for sustainable products in the paint market has been steadily growing and is pushing the whole production chain to offer solutions following this scenario. The reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO) and the substitution of raw materials of fossil origin by vegetable in the formulations of paints are some of the practices increasing among this sector to meet the environmental sustainability pillar. In this work, the environmental impact profiles of two water-based architectural paints were compared applying the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Firstly, two generic non-commercial formulas of standard paint (ABNT NBR 15079) were developed: “Paint-A” with conventional raw materials and “Paint- B” containing some alternative raw materials, which would hypothetically contribute to a better environmental performance of the final product. Then both formulas were reproduced in the laboratory and the samples of the paints were submitted to technical performance tests. With the data obtained, the reference flows were determined to fulfill the functional unit defined by covering 36 m2 of interior masonry wall by a minimum period of 4 years (ABN NBR 15575-1). The LCA has four phases: goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, environmental impact assessment and interpretation. After goal and scope definition, a comprehensive data collection was carried to enable the Inventory Analysis (LCI). Afterwards, the life cycle of the paints was modeled and analyzed in the SimaPro 8.2 software and in the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phase the ReCiPe Midpoint (H) v.1.12 method was selected. Within seven impact categories analyzed, “Paint-B” presented a reduced environmental impact profile compared to “Paint-A”: Climate Change (-18.6%), Photochemical Oxidants Formation (-19%), Human Toxicity (-18.5%), Ecotoxicity (- 30.5%), Fossil Resources Depletion (18.8%), Mineral Resources Depletion (-21.4%) and Water Resources Depletion (-18.7%). The results of the study strengthen the importance of LCA as an effective tool for measuring the environmental performance of paints, enabling sustainable innovation at this industry sector. However, the lack of availability of primary process data throughout the paint production chain makes it difficult to carry out studies and compromises the accuracy of the results. It is also relevant to highlight that the product and process lifecycle perspective was included as a requirement of the new version of the ISO 14001 standard, which is a matter of concern to the entire value chain, so it is worth considering the application of LCA in the paints industry.

©2024 Forum for Sustainability through Life Cycle Innovation e.V. | Contact Us | Legal Info


If you would like to get in touch with us, please feel free to send us a message. Thank you very much in advance.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our newsletter and stay up-to-date on everything happening in the life cycle community! We'll send you 3-4 newsletters per year
Subscribe Now!

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account