Carbon design bottlenecks: An empirical taxonomy of the challenges integrating carbon data in the architecture practice

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Abstract

With the growing demand for sustainable accountability, the European Directive 2014/24/EU (EU 2014) pushes architects to deliver Building Information Models (BIM) as a part of procurement processes for public buildings. In the Netherlands, BIM model data is relevant to the building permitting process, which involves an environmental performance calculation (MPG). This assessment takes into consideration the embodied carbon of materials in a building. Although this analysis is performed by a qualified expert in late design phases, architects benefit from integrating carbon data in early design decision-making. Design methods supported by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) values are needed before involving expert collaborators, and not only when applying for a building permit.

The existing carbon assessment tools require detailed data from BIM models, which are often not available at early design phases. Simplified tools have been discussed in theory, and explored in their potential applications, however, there lacks scientific literature discussing the hurdles designers face in their attempt to create such tools in practice, for their internal use throughout early design phases.

This paper focuses on the architecture professional practice and design methods supported by digital and computational technologies, regarding embodied carbon data. It investigates the challenges in integrating embodied carbon data in the design workflow, through the development of a digital tool made by designers, for designers. This paper conducts an empirical investigation within a Rotterdam-based architecture office, with a broad portfolio in BIM usage and public building projects, to identify and categorize the factors affecting carbon data integration into the design workflow. It proposes a taxonomy of challenges within the architecture office, to better communicate the designer’s needs to the data providers and software developers with architects as a target user. Amongst the bottlenecks encountered are: access to data (data inclusiveness), data literacy and connecting data usage with design decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2024 ACSA 112th Annual Meeting Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationVolume I
Place of PublicationVancouver, BC
PublisherACSA Press
Pages203-212
Number of pages10
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Event2024 ACSA 112th Annual Meeting: Disrupters on the Edge - Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 14 Mar 202416 Mar 2024
https://www.acsa-arch.org/conference/112th-annual-meeting/

Conference

Conference2024 ACSA 112th Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityVancouver
Period14/03/2416/03/24
Internet address

Keywords

  • Architecture Professional Practice
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Digital Technology
  • Architectural Education

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