This study presents a tool that has been developed to measure and subsequently improve the sustainability performance of a building over its entire life-cycle while still at the conceptual design stage. This forecasting tool is called GREENOMETER-7.
GREENOMETER-7 is a LCA tool and it evaluates the projected building at two levels: micro- and macro-assessment. The micro-assessment level provides in-depth analysis of the building products, components, and operations; however, the macro-assessment level measures the sustainability performance of the building as a whole and covers areas that are not applicable at the product or component level. Both levels consist of categories and indicators. The micro-assessment level has 12 categories that fall into the following major areas: energy, water and wastewater, resources, contaminants, and economics. The macro-assessment level of GREENOMETER-7 has 7 categories. They are location, land use and land value, stormwater, heat-island and landscaping, water and wastewater, energy, resources, and environmental indoor quality (EIQ). The tool uses a 7-degree scale (0 to 6) to express sustainability performance, where 0 means extremely unsustainable, 3 means neutral and 6 means highly sustainable. The output is a score from 0 to 6 for the micro- and macro-assessment levels as well as for their categories and indicators.
The micro-assessment level has three phases: inventory, impact assessment and interpretation. The inventory phase has two steps: hierarchy-analysis and “N” determination. The impact assessment phase has two steps: profiling and synthesis. Also, the interpretation phase has two steps: ranking and valuation (weighting). On the other hand, the macro-assessment level has two phases: inventory and interpretation. The inventory phase has two steps: macro-survey and macro-profile. The interpretation phase has two steps: ranking and valuation (weighting).
The LEED scoring system is the predominant green building rating system in the United States. USGBC is in the process of incorporating life cycle assessment (LCA) into LEED. GREENOMETER-7 can be utilized to justify LEED credits and for forecasting the LEED certification level of the building at the conceptual design stage. By utilizing the tool to justify LEED credits it also ensures incorporating LCA into LEED.
A case study has been conducted to demonstrate the application of the tool. A proposed one-story residential building in Columbus, Ohio was selected for this case study. Both the micro- and macro-assessment levels have been conducted. The tool has been also used to forecast the LEED certification level of the projected building.