Research Portal

July 1, 2022

A Taxonomy for Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA)

Rodriguez, Barbara X.; Simonen, Kathrina; Huang, Monica; De Wolf, Catherine. (2019). A Taxonomy for Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA). Smart And Sustainable Built Environment, 8(3), 190 – 205.

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of common parameters in existing tools that provide guidance to carry out Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA) and proposes a new taxonomy, a catalogue of parameters, for the definition of the goal and scope (G&S) in WBLCA. Design/methodology/approach A content analysis approach is used to identify, code and analyze parameters in existing WBLCA tools. Finally, a catalogue of parameters is organized into a new taxonomy. Findings In total, 650 distinct parameter names related to the definition of G&S from 16 WBLCAs tools available in North America, Europe and Australia are identified. Building on the analysis of existing taxonomies, a new taxonomy of 54 parameters is proposed in order to describe the G&S of WBLCA. Research limitations/implications The analysis of parameters in WBLCA tools does not include Green Building Rating Systems and is only limited to tools available in English. Practical implications This research is crucial in life cycle assessment (LCA) method harmonization and to serve as a stepping stone to the identification and categorization of parameters that could contribute to WBLCA comparison necessary to meet current global carbon goals. Social implications The proposed taxonomy enables architecture, engineering and construction practitioners to contribute to current WBLCA practice. Originality/value A study of common parameters in existing tools contributes to identifying the type of data that is required to describe buildings and contribute to build a standardized framework for LCA reporting, which would facilitate consistency across future studies and can serve as a checklist for practitioners when conducting the G&S stage of WBLCA.


Content Analysis; Taxonomy; Lca; Lca Tools; Tools For Practitioners; Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment