A Circular Economy Life Cycle Assessment (CE-LCA) model for building components

A. van Stijn*, L. C. Malabi Eberhardt, B. Wouterszoon Jansen, A. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) in the built environment is vital to reduce resource consumption, emissions and waste generation. To support the development of circular building components, assessment metrics are needed. Previous work identified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as an important method to analyse the environmental performance in a CE context. However, questions arise about how to model and calculate circular buildings components. We develop an LCA model for circular building components in four steps. First, we elaborate on the CE principles and LCA standards to identify requirements and gaps. Second, we adapt LCA standards and propose the ‘Circular Economy Life Cycle Assessment’ (CE-LCA) model. Third, we test the model by assessing an exemplary building component: the Circular Kitchen (CIK). Finally, we evaluate the CE-LCA model with 44 experts. In the CE-LCA model, building components are considered as a composite of parts and materials with different and multiple use cycles; the system boundary is extended to include these cycles, dividing the impacts using a circular allocation approach. The case of the CIK shows that the CE-LCA model supports an ex-ante assessment of circular building components in theoretical context; it makes an important step to support the transition to a circular built environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105683
Number of pages34
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume174
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Allocation
  • assessment method
  • Building component
  • Circular Economy (CE)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Multi-cycling

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