The challenge of integrating Life Cycle Assessment in the building design process - A systematic literature review of BIM-LCA workflows

Tajda Potrč Obrecht*, Martin Röck, Endrit Hoxha, Alexander Passer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in JournalResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


To foster sustainable development in construction sectors, environmental impacts need to be reduced dramatically. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) technique is the most firmly established methodology used to quantify these environmental impacts and, therefore, has been applied with increasing frequency to assess the environmental performance of buildings. To effectively improve a building's environmental performance, an integration of LCA in the design process is required. This can be achieved by coupling LCA with digital design tools, e.g., Building Information Modelling (BIM). To identify the pro and cons of streamlining the integration of LCA and BIM, a comprehensive Systematic Literature Review (SLR) was performed. We identified more than 50 relevant BIM-LCA case studies and analyzed the applied BIM-LCA workflows in detail. In most of the studies reviewed, the LCA has been applied in an early design stage. The authors primarily used LCA tools and manual or semi-automatic methods to exchange data between BIM models. In most cases, contemporary BIM-LCA workflows utilized conventional spreadsheets (e.g., Excel worksheets). However, the results of the analysis show that an automated link between LCA and BIM can be achieved if certain challenges are overcome. By automating exchange of information between BIM and LCA tools and improving the reliability of this process, the LCA application can be streamlined in design practice and, hence, the necessary improvements of the environmental performance of buildings can be supported.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032024
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020
EventWorld Sustainable Built Environment - Beyond 2020, WSBE 2020 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 2 Nov 20204 Nov 2020


ConferenceWorld Sustainable Built Environment - Beyond 2020, WSBE 2020
SponsorAutodesk Construction Cloud, Bona, Construction Industry Council, et al., HKGBC, Skanska

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was performed as a part of the IEA EBC Annex 72 ( Sub-Task 2 activity. The authors thank the experts who provided (directly or indirectly) useful input and for providing sources of information. The Austrian contribution is financially supported by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), IEA Research Cooperation via the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) Grant #864142.

Publisher Copyright:
© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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