Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 2008)
BRE Environmental Profiles: Past, Present, and Future
Environmental conservation and the impact that the construction industry has on the environment have risen to the fore as a principle against which materials, products, specifications, and whole building fabric must be considered. The reasoning for this is sound, with the industry being responsible for the manufacture and use of hundreds of millions of tons of materials annually. At a national level in the UK alone the construction products sector is responsible for around 10 % [DEFRA statistics, 2000] of all carbon emissions. Against this background, the sector is remarkably well placed to build from work already done to develop standardized Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approaches and to apply them to construction scenarios. As a result, the practice is now well established and has gained a growing momentum across all construction stakeholders, from clients to product suppliers.
This paper examines BRE’s experience in the field having originally developed an LCA approach called the “Environmental Profiles methodology” and used it to create an information database, specification tools, and a proprietary product certification scheme. The next phase of development is critical to the continuing success of these programs.