Breezehouse - A Greener Building. Credit:: James Watts and CNET.
Phaedra Svec, an associate in the Elements division of BNIM Architects is featured in an article on Greener Buildings discussing the seven steps she created as an interim alternative to life cycle assessment in the building industry since a comprehensive tool is not yet available.
So many variables come in to play when looking at a building's life cycle, and there just isn't an appropriate LCA tool yet for the building industry in Svec's opinion. Thus, in the absence of a quick and effective LCA tool, she developed the seven-step material filter, featured in the article by Sarah Fister Gale, for evaluating and comparing the life cycle of building materials. It helps ask the right questions, as Svec explains. She also says, "every material -- no matter how green -- has an environmental consequence. It's about comparison, and choosing the material with the least impact." The steps are (see the full article for an explanation of each):
1. Energy and water used in the building
2. Environmental and Human Health Systems
3. Occupant Wellbeing
4. Durability, Performance & Maintenance
5. Recycled Content
6. Resource Limitation
7. Waste Management
Take a look at the article here to see how each of these steps can be considered in the design phase of a building. The steps are described as a series of narrowing filters, with the first criteria (energy and water used in the building) representing the largest impact a material choice has, and as you work your way down the impacts get smaller. Via:: Greener Buildings. Image Credit:: CNET.