Retrofit : Retrofit Volume 2 Issue 1 2013
12 • RETROFIT AUSTRALIA • VOLUME 2 NUMBER 1 2013 | Procurement grids in a 12-storey commercial office building could power the office lighting in the building for a year. Along with these savings came the reduction of large volumes of toxics emitted at the smelter, like fluorine compounds that continue to threaten both the inhabitants and the vineyards in the Hunter Valley and in the vicinity of other aluminium smelters. How many other similar instances of easily substituted gains like this can we find if we study options carefully with LCA? By the way, steel ceiling grids are less expensive, putting paid to the idea that sustainable solutions are always more expensive. There are many sustainable products out there that are less expensive, or as cost- effective, as business as usual (BAU) products; sometimes, they might actually even be BAU products. The only information missing is the LCA data to prove their green credentials. LCA is increasingly being used across the industry as a result of recent projects like the Building Products Innovation Council's (BPIC) Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Development program that, over the last five years or so, has developed LCI for 10 major building sector supply chains and the Australian Life Cycle Society's AusLCI database project, adding to data availability. As a result of these programs, more and more manufacturers have made LCA-based data available to enable building owners' green procurement decisions to be made on WOL criteria. Other similar progams include: • the Urban Development Institute's (UDIA) EnviroDevelopment program (which is engaged in certifying everything from a 15,000-dwelling greenfield development to inner-city office buildings, and which has LCA- based materials credits) • the LCA-based alternative compliance pathway for the Materials sections in Green Star, launched in 2012 by the GBCA • the introduction in 2010 of Global GreenTagCertTM, an LCA-based ecolabel that rates products' whole- of-sustainability performance and now has over 350 products certified. To facilitate this increase in the uptake of LCA, ALCAS is formulating with NZLCA an Australasian Environmental Product Declaration Scheme to improve the portability of reporting results between product EPDs, as well as beginning an LCA Assessor Certification program. In July this year, ALCAS will be holding its biannual conference at Manly in Sydney. LCA-based product information will become not only more accessible, but also much more likely to be used within the construction sector into the future. As more and more new buildings occupy the 'high-end' sustainability or LCA-assessed building space, how long will it take for the market attractiveness of retrofitted buildings to have to measure up to the same standards or be marked down by the market? David Baggs is President of the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS). He is an award-winning chartered architect, sustainability consultant and life cycle practitioner with over 30 years' experience in green buildings and products. He is also Program Director of the Global GreenTagCertTM Certification program.
Retrofit Volume 1 Issue 2 2012
Retrofit Volume 2 Issue 2 2013