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.
Assefa, G.; Glaumann, M.; Malmqvist, T.; Kindembe, B.; Hult, M.; Myhr, U.; Eriksson, O. Environmental assessment of building properties—Where natural and social science meet. The case of Ecoeffect. Build. Environ. 2007, 42, 1458–1464, doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.12.011.
CEN (European Committee for Standardization). European Standard EN 15643-1 Sustainability of Construction Works—Sustainability Assessment of buildings—Part 1: General Framework; CEN: Brussels, Belgium, 2010.
Todd, J.A.; Crawley, D.; Geissler, S.; Lindsey, G. Comparative assessment of environmental performance tools and the role of the Green Building Challenge. Build. Res. Inf. 2001, 29, 324–335, doi:10.1080/09613210110064268.
Sangster, W. Benchmark Study on Green Buildings: Current Policies and Practices in Leading Green Building Nations; Canada Energy and Environmental Industries Branch: Canada, 2006. Available online: http://www.raic.org/architecture_architects/green_architecture/gb-benchmarkstudy.pdf (accessed on 15 January 2013).
Sundkvist, ？.; Eriksson, O.; Glaumann, M.; Bergman, S.; Finnveden, G.; Stenbeck, S.; Wintzell, H. Milj？klassning av Byggnader—Inventering av Metoder och Intressenters Behov (in Swedish); KTH Institutionen f？r samh？llsplanering och milj？: Stockholm, Sweden, 2006.
Myhr, U. Property-Level Environmental Assessment Tools for Outdoor AreasPh.D. Dissertation, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala, Sweden, 2008.
Kajikawa, Y.; Inoue, T.; Ngee Goh, T. Analysis of building environmental assessment frameworks and their implications for sustainable indicators. Sustain. Sci. 2011, 6, 233–246, doi:10.1007/s11625-011-0131-7.
Glaumann, M.; Malmqvist, T.; Wallhagen, M. Selecting environmental assessment tool for buildings. In Proceedings of the 6th World Sustainable Building Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 18–21 October 2011.
Humbert, S.; Abeck, H.; Bali, N.; Horvath, A. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): A critical evaluation by LCA and recommendations for improvement. Int. J. Life Cycle Manag. 2007, 12, 46–57.
Wallhagen, M.; Glaumann, M.; Westerberg, U. What is a “green” building according to different assessment tools? In Proceedings of the World Sustainable Building Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 21–25 September 2008.
DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government). The Code for Sustainable Homes Setting the Standard in Sustainability for New Homes; Communities and Local Government Publications: West Yorkshire, UK, 2008.
CEN (European Committee for Standardization). CEN/TC 350. Available online: http://www.cen.eu/CEN/Sectors/TechnicalCommitteesWorkshops/CENTechnicalCommittees/Pages/WP.aspx?param=481830&title=CEN%2FTC+350 (accessed on 9 January 2013).
CEN. European Standard EN 15643-2, Sustainability of Construction Works—Sustainability Assessment of Buildings—Part 2: Framework for the Assessment of Environmental Performance; CEN: Brussels, Belgium, 2011.
Eriksson, O.; Glaumann, M.; Assefa, G. Life cycle impact assessment—Damage based weighting method for environmental impact assessment. In proceedings of the World Sustainable Building Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 29 September 2005.
In EcoEffect, cost is assessed as life cycle cost for two reference scenarios: The first one because environment-related costs such as energy and waste are rising considerably compared with other costs; and the other because cost relations remain stable throughout the lifetime of the building.
Moberg, ？. Assessment of Media and Communication from a Sustainability PerspectivePh.D. Dissertation, Department of Urban Planning and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, WI, USA, 2010.
Embodied energy—The energy that has been used to produce and service a material or product. The embodied energy calculation includes initial and recurrent embodied energy. Initial embodied energy is used to produce the building material or component. The recurrent energy is embodied in goods and services used in routine maintenance, repair and refurbishment during the operational period.
Pullen, S.; Perkins, A. Energy use in the urban environment and its greenhouse gas implication. In Proceedings of the Transaction of the International Symposium on Energy, Environment and Economics, Victoria, Australia, 20–24 November 1995.
Wallhagen, M.; Glaumann, M.; Malmqvist, T. Basic building life cycle calculations to decrease contribution to climate change—Case study on an office building in Sweden. Build. Environ. 2011, 46, 1863–1871, doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.02.003.
Lee, B.; Trcka, M.; Hensen, J.L.M. Embodied energy of building materials and green building rating systems—A case study of industrial halls. Sustain. Cities Soc. 2011, 1, 67–71, doi:10.1016/j.scs.2011.02.002.