Bionova Ltd

- Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment Software (LCA)



Whole-building life-cycle assessment is the new major credit in LEED v4. By automating the LCA from your existing design data, you can deliver the MR credits cost-efficiently while enhancing your building design. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) helps you achieve LEED  credits (v4 and v3) and quantifies the environmental impacts of your whole building over it’s lifetime. LCA used to be a complex and strenuous task, but with One Click LCA you can be done in no-time. By automating LCA from your existing design data, you can be done with the assessment in just minutes. This allows you to use the results as a environmental design tool that provides you with key quantitive insights. The robust One Click LCA cloud software also supports various LEED credits with ready-to-use templates, summarized in the table below.

Whole-building life-cycle assessment for LEED v4 (MRc1) and 2009 explained
Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction, Option 4: Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment: 3 base points + optional exemplary and regional priority

In LEED v4, most users will utilize the Option 4: Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment for MRc1, to deliver 3 them base points, an optional exemplary point and a possible regional priority credit, along with the enhanced design LCA provides them with. This credit is available in LEED v4 BD+C and other new construction and major renovation versions, but not in LEED v4 EBOM, ID+C and Homes.

In LEED BD+C v 2009 (or v3), you can follow this process to achieve the MRpc63 Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment credit.

What you need to do to earn the LEED v4 LCA credits

The process requires improving building life-cycle impacts by 10 % compared to a baseline building, using a Life-Cycle Assessment software. The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation,and operating energy performance. The LCA must be calculated for six listed environmental impact categories with three of them, including Global warming potential, demonstrating at minimum a 10% reduction. No category of impacts may increase by more than 5% compared to the baseline design.

Working to achieve LEED-mandated performance improvement

In practice, it helps to think of the baseline building as a building meeting the same function and size, but without all of the clever design choices that make it more efficient. You’ll want to iterate over several design changes rapidly to see what they would mean for your project and compare changes to your baseline project seamlessly. To ensure everything goes smoothly, pick an easy to use LCA software. One Click LCA allows varying  and comparing alternatives in minutes, and helps you develop your baseline design, too. With the additional power of using the LCA as a design tool, an easy to use building LCA software with good support makes this a very attractive credit for LEED projects.

Effortless Whole-Building LCA with One Click LCA

The LCA data used must comply with ISO 14044, which is ensured by LCA software that conforms to LEED v4’s requirements. One Click LCA complies with all LEED requirements and supports all required impact categories, and provides dedicated LEED-specific application to North American as well as International LEED users. The North American version is powered by datasets from U.S. and Canada,  and uses TRACI 2.1. The application provides a fool-proof template that ensures you’ll always follow the LEED template to the letter. There is a bonus, too. If you achieve any improvement over the required credit thresholds in all six impact categories, you are eligible for the exemplary performance credit. In some countries, including Canada, Sweden and many parts in the United States, LCA is also a regional priority credit.

Building product disclosure and optimization: Environmental Product Declaration (MRc2)

LEED v4 also includes two Building product optimization and disclosure credits, the MRc2 and MRc3. This outlines requirements for MRC2. See below the outline for MRc3.

Option 1. Environmental Product Declaration (1 point)
  • The requirement of the credit is to use at least 20 permanently installed building products from at least five different manufacturers that have an environmental product declaration (EPD). Type of the EPD defines it’s weight in calculations. Product-specific EPDs count for one EPD, whereas product-group average EPDs count for a half. Critically reviewed LCA counts for a quarter.
Option 2. Multi-Attribute Optimization (1 point)
  • The requirement is to show that at least 50 % (by cost) of permanently installed building products demonstrate LCA impact reduction in at least 3 impact categories compared to industry average. Alternatively, this may be shown by compliancy with other USGBC approved programs. This option weights the location of sourcing (products extracted, manufactured, purchased closer than 100 miles / 160 km counts as double) and caps structure and enclosure to not more than 30 % of value of compliant building products.
One Click LCA comes with an integrated EPD database

To be able to initially specify, and later to get these credits, you’ll need to go through a vast range of options and locate manufacturers with EPD data and review their impacts. One Click LCA helps you to get this done easily. We have an extensive, local EPD databases directly integrated. What’s more — you may have already chosen the EPDs when conducting the LCA analysis for MRc1 using One Click LCA. From there, you will just need to mark the EPDs you are actually going to use in the building design, to achieve this credit.

Building product disclosure and optimization, Sourcing of raw materials (MRc3)

The credit is concerned with responsible sourcing of the permanently installed products.

Option 1. Raw Material Source and Extraction Reporting (1 point)
  • The requirement of the credit is to use at least 20 building products from at least five different manufacturers that have publicly released a report from their raw material suppliers which include raw material supplier extraction locations, a committment to long-term ecologically responsible land use, a committment to reducing environmental harms from extraction and/or manufacturing processes, and a committment to meeting applicable standards or programs voluntarily that address responsible sourcing criteria. The credit looks for third-party verified corporate sustainability reports which comply with one of the following: GRI, OECD Guidelines, U.N. Global Compact, ISO 26000, or other approved programs. Self-declared reports count for half the value.
Option 2. Leadership Extraction Practices (1 point)
  • The requirement is to show that at least 25 % (by cost) of building products comply with one of the USGBC-nominated responsible extraction criteria, which include: extended producer responsibility (half weighting), bio-based materials, certified-origin wood products, reused materials, recycled content, and other USGBC approved programs. Like MRc2 credit, this option weights the location of sourcing (products extracted, manufactured, purchased closer than 100 miles / 160 km counts as double) and caps structure and enclosure to not more than 30 % of value of compliant buildin products.

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