Give five reasons the tool would be useful for green building analysis.
Data that can be obtained from a tool like Athena may be used to generate energy and emission results. The results are then submitted to a GB tool which in turn generates a score that is directly related to material choices. The Canadian green building challenge team has been using this process since 1998.
The GB tool uses a crude calculator in order to have embodied effects. Furthermore, it uses the same input data which is used by those without access to ATHENA or any similar tool. The limitation of this approach is that it is regional sensitive, and it is important to tackle these studies in a regional context (Crawford, 2011).
In spite of this, the approach of using the crude calculator gives the users some information about the environmental consequences about their choices.
The tool efficiently uses energy, water and other resources. It ensures that the available resources are not wasted and that they can be used for other processes in the future. It means that the environment is conserved and that there is little wastage.
The tool helps to protect the employees’ health and to improve the productivity of the employee.
It helps to reduce waste pollution and the degradation of the environment. It helps in maintaining the environment and the company gaining more support from its members. It is important that every tool aims to preserve the environment and has the needed measurements and precautions in mind to reduce environmental pollution.
• List what you believe is the limitations of the tool.
LCI Data Availability
Data obtained from LCI is very expensive and is, usually, kept confidential by manufacturers who undertake those studies. There is a problem of ensuring that data collected from different materials are not organized by one organization or a body that uses the same protocol. However, this issue can be resolved by creating a publicly available LCI databases in various nations. For instance, in North America, the United States LCI database is a public research partnership that is dedicated to creating access from the public (Finnveden, et al., 2009). The manufacturers and the researchers and the developers of the tools assessment systems are able to predict the database to produce the complete LCAs for various procedures with complete assurance that the important LCI data is correct and without having to repeat LCI studies for common procedures such as the production of energy and basic transportation. The ATHENA Institute undertook the first phase of the project in association with Franklin Associates, Ltd. and Sylvatic, with funding from several federal departments of the government through NREL which is the national renewable energy laboratory. The phase for collecting data is now on-going and the NREL has been given the responsibility for dissemination in the long-term, maintenance of the database and expansion of the same. There is currently an international project which is dealing with issues of availability of data and its ability to compare across the international border. Government and research organizations around the world are also making efforts in developing characterization and other impact assessment issues.
The development of appropriate references to investigate and approve of the importance of the LCA tools have not been easily explained. When the ATHENA tool is used to give the LCA inputs into the GB tool, the rising cases have to be built and separately compared for each building in a very costly and time consuming process. It has proved possible for the Green Challenge Process but probably would be unacceptable for a system such as LEED that has to work in the context of a commercial market. As much as the use of the LCA tools may cause a reduction in the assessment costs, the constraint regarding reference must first be challenged (Horne, 2009).
• Explain the role of the ISO 14000 standard in the selected LCA tool.
ISO 14001:2004 sets out the benchmarks for managing the environment and can be approved as well. While ISO 14000 does not state the points needed for the environment management system, it does give a framework that each organization can adhere to in order to come up with an effective management system. It can be used by any organization. Using ISO 14001:2004 can provides assurance to all the company’s stakeholders and employees that the environment is well taken care of.
The benefits of using ISO 14001:2004 can include:
• Reduced cost of waste management because it is a certified system that is using improved methods and systems. There are easier ways of reducing waste and releasing the waste into the environment safely.
• Savings in consumption of energy and materials. For any tool to be certified, it needs to have passed various tests for it to be recognized. Therefore, the role of ISO certification provides a platform for the savings in consumption for energy and materials (Crawford, 2011).
• Lower distribution costs ensure that it is much cheaper to be used by any contractor. Lower distribution costs make it favorable among the users. They can only attain this through certification.
• Improved corporate image among regulators, customers and the public having a universally accepted increases the credibility of the tool and improves the usability as well.
Crawford, R. (2011). Life Cycle Assessment in the Built Environment,. London: Taylor and Francis.
Finnveden, G., Hauschild, M., Ekvall, T., Guinee, J., Heijungs, R., Hellweg, S., . . . Suh, S. (2009). Recent Developments in Life Cycle Assessments. Journal of Environmental Management, 1-21.
Horne, R. (2009). "LCA: Principles, Practice and Prospects". Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.