life-cycle assessment, carbon footprint, buildings
In 2017 the Ministry of the Environment published a roadmap to low-carbon construction. It stated that the whole life carbon assessment of buildings must be incorporated in the building regulations by the mid-2020s. The low-carbon factor is also part of the complete reform of the Land Use and Building Act now in progress.
This publication describes the first version of a method employed in Finland for the whole life carbon assessment of buildings. The method is based on the European Commission’s Level(s) method and European Standards.
A low-carbon building has a low carbon footprint and a big carbon handprint. A carbon footprint analysis covers a building’s entire life cycle. It includes the manufacture and transportation of the products used in a construction project, the worksite, the use and maintenance of the building, its demolition, and recycling.
The carbon handprint analysis incorporates the net benefits of climate impact that would not arise if there were no construction project. These might be the building’s carbon storages and sinks, the extra renewable energy produced during the building’s life cycle, and the benefits gained from the reuse and recycling of the construction products.
The method is intended to be used for the assessment of the carbon footprint and carbon handprint of new buildings and buildings undergoing extensive repairs. After it is tested, the method will be updated.