Buildings LCA and digitalization: Designers' toolbox based on a survey

R. Di Bari*, R. Horn, S. Bruhn, N. Alaux, M. Ruschi Mendes Saade, B. Soust-Verdaguer, T. Potrč Obrecht, A. Hollberg, H. Birgisdottír, A. Passer, R. Frischknecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In a context of digitalization and increasing quality requirements, the building sector is facing an increasing level of complexity regarding its design process. This results in a growing number of involved actors from different domains, a multitude of tasks to be completed and a higher degree of needed expertise. New buildings are also required to reach higher performances in terms of environmental quality. To that regard, the exploitation of the full potential of digital tools can facilitate the integration of environmental aspects in the planning process, limit productivity shortcomings and reduce environmental impacts, which can result from an unaware decision making. Building environmental assessment can be performed through several Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)-based tools. “Pure calculation” tools quantify final buildings' environmental potential, while “complex tools” additionally support decision making during the planning process. It is often difficult to choose the best suitable tool, which strongly depends on the user's needs. Within the IEA EBC Annex 72, a survey was realized with the main objective of creating a comprehensive overview of the existing tools dedicated to buildings LCA. The questionnaire included the usability, functionality, compliance, data reliability and interoperability of the analysed tools. Lastly, based on the survey outcomes and their critical assessment, a procedure for the identification and selection of a tool has been proposed based on user's needs. As a result, this work outlines main features of currently available building LCA tools, for which there is a harmonized status in terms of usability and overall applied LCA methodology. Despite the need for more automatized workflows, tools' embedding is mostly not yet applicable in system chains or limited to a restricted number of tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012092
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSustainable Built Environment D-A-CH Conference 2022 - Built environment within Planetary Boundaries: sbe22 berlin - Natural Building Lab constructive design and climate adaptive architecture TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 20 Sep 202223 Sep 2022


  • Building
  • Digitalisation
  • LCA Tools
  • Life Cycle Assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Buildings LCA and digitalization: Designers' toolbox based on a survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this