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Buildings  2013 

Framework for Detailed Comparison of Building Environmental Assessment Tools

DOI: 10.3390/buildings3010039

Keywords: green building design, sustainable building, environmental assessment tool, LEED, code for sustainable homes, ecoeffect

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Abstract:

Understanding how Building Environmental Assessments Tools (BEATs) measure and define “environmental” building is of great interest to many stakeholders, but it is difficult to understand how BEATs relate to each other, as well as to make detailed and systematic tool comparisons. A framework for comparing BEATs is presented in the following which facilitates an understanding and comparison of similarities and differences in terms of structure, content, aggregation, and scope. The framework was tested by comparing three distinctly different assessment tools; LEED-NC v3, Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), and EcoEffect. Illustrations of the hierarchical structure of the tools gave a clear overview of their structural differences. When using the framework, the analysis showed that all three tools treat issues related to the main assessment categories: Energy and Pollution, Indoor Environment, and Materials and Waste. However, the environmental issues addressed, and the parameters defining the object of study, differ and, subsequently, so do rating, results, categories, issues, input data, aggregation methodology, and weighting. This means that BEATs measure “environmental” building differently and push “environmental” design in different directions. Therefore, tool comparisons are important, and the framework can be used to make these comparisons in a more detailed and systematic way.

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