23 March 2020

Life cycle assessment WIS has been revised

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Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the best-known tools for assessing the environmental impacts of a product or process over its entire life cycle. It accounts for associated material, energy and waste flows and – assuming that high quality and representative data are fed into the model – offers a credible assessment of the burden placed on the environment.


The timber industry has drawn on LCA to promote the environmental credentials of timber versus other building materials.


TRADA’s Life cycle assessment WIS has been revised with substantial amendments following the abolishment of the Code for Sustainable Homes and revisions to BS EN ISO 14044 and ISO 21930. The section on BREEAM has been amended to include the 2018 New Construction scheme, while there is also an update on similar schemes and the implications for timber.


Changes affect the following:


  • Section amended to take into account the abolishment of the Code for Sustainable Homes as rules on energy efficiency are now incorporated into the Building Regulations.
  • BRE has introduced the Home Quality Mark under the BREEAM family of schemes as a voluntary standard that assesses overall costs, health benefits and the environmental footprint of new homes.
  • Multiple version of BREEAM available: BREEAM UK New Construction, BREEAM International New Construction, BREEAM In-Use, BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out, and BREEAM Communities.


Environmental Profiles

  • Section amended to reflect that, since the introduction of the BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 scheme, applications for Environmental Profiles and Green Guide ratings would not be accepted after 31 March 2019. However, the Green Guide is expected to remain online until 2025 and certified Environmental Profiles will continue to be published on the Green Book Live while they remain valid.


International Building Sustainability Certification Schemes

  • Updates have been made to the following schemes: LEED (US), Green Star (Australia), German Sustainable Building Council (DNGB) system (Germany), Haute Qualite Environnementale (HQE) (France), Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) (Japan), and Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK-BEAM) (Hong Kong).


Implications for timber

  • British Woodworking Federation has adopted the BRE LINA tool to enable the production of life cycle assessment results for its members.
  • Wood for Good has commissioned the development of a lifecycle database with a focus on offering generic life cycle assessment datasets for timber products used in the UK.


PAS 2050

  • Section amended to include new initiatives PAS 2060:2014 Specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality and PAS 2080:2016 Carbon management in infrastructure.


ISO 14067

  • Section amended to replace with 2018 version, which has refined and clarified the carbon footprint of products, but has narrowed in scope.


Support from the European Commission

  • Section amended to include information on the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment’s support of its Environment Footprint initiatives for Product Environmental Footprints and Organisation Environmental Footprints as a way of measuring performance. This approach was tested between 2013 and 2018 with more than 280 volunteering companies and organisations. The results included the development of product environmental footprint category rules and organisation environmental footprint category rules for a range of product groups and sectors.


Members can download a free copy of TRADA’s WIS Life cycle assessment. WIS sheets are available to non-members too – purchase a PDF or a hardcopy at the TRADA Bookshop.