Meta-analysis and harmonization of North American whole building LCAs

Main Presenter:    Benjamin Lacroix 

Co-Authors:   Ben Amor                                               

The building industry accounts for more than one fourth of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the most significant sectors in terms of environmental impact. Numerous LCAs have recently been carried out on a variety of buildings in North America. The results of these analyses vary according to the physical characteristics of the buildings and the parameters and methods used for the LCA modelling. Given this variability in results, it is difficult to draw an overall picture of the building industry’s environmental impact from the results. In order to reduce the variability, this research objective is to propose a methodology based on meta-analysis and harmonization of building LCAs. The meta-analysis gather results from building LCA cases in North America. The resulting database is separated according to the building type and supplementary information is added: the physical characteristics of the building and the parameters of the analyses. The harmonization will
consider the parameters that have the greatest influence on the variability of the results such as the lifespan, the life cycle impact assessment method and the energy mix. Harmonization will first be carried out individually for each parameter. Harmonized results will be compared based on their statistics (means and standard deviations) to assess the relative effectiveness of the work. Using this methodology, LCA results for North American buildings will be harmonized with the Canadian context. This study will help to improve the estimation of the potential environmental impact of Canada’s building stock. The statistical data will be made available to professionals in the building sector and can be used as a benchmark to guide the preliminary design of future Canadian buildings and to frame future regulations to decarbonize the building sector.

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