Keywords:Life Cycle Assessment, LCA software programs, façade design, environmental impact
Façades impact the environmental performance of a building by their passive contribution to operational energy demand and by embodied energy and emissions during each life cycle phase. LCA is a method widely used to quantify the environmental contribution. The use of LCA software programs in façade planning can guide design decisions and contribute to environmental optimisation.
A large amount of LCA software programs have been developed so far, all of which differ in their focus and requirements. This paper aims to address these differences and investigate the capability and suitability of these programs for façade design. It is structured in four sections. The first part introduces LCA in the building and façade design context. The second part introduces categories to understand the different capabilities of LCA software products. Hereafter, eleven products are evaluated based on these categories. The fourth part focuses on the suitability of software products for simple or complex façades.
The study concludes that there are different software choices available for almost every level of user knowledge. While Gabi, Simapro, and Umberto require users to work to a high level of proficiency, software programs like eLCA, CAALA, and 360 Optimi do not require much user knowledge over LCA, but provide a range of other opportunities.