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How can Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) help projects seeking LEED certification and ESG strategies?

Matheus Cardoso • 12/5/2023

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used as a design tool to understand environmental impacts related to materials and transportation, maintenance and end-of-life.

The objective of this article, developed in partnership with Cerclos, is to show how this study helps projects understand all emissions according to the choice of materials used during construction and their direct impact on LEED certification and ESG strategies.

How does the tool relate to LEED?
Its main objective is to demonstrate the impacts by comparing the initial project with the proposed one, and identifying opportunities for improvements. In this way, analyze the project's environmental performance throughout its life cycle, and calculate the reduction in Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is the main impact indicator, among other important indicators highlighted by the standard.

In this way, meeting the credit Material and Resouces - Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction - Option 4. Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment. Scoring varies according to the LEED rating system, with the most common being New Construction (1-4 points) and Core & Shell (1-5 points).

How does the tool help with ESG?
The tool can also be used to quantify carbon emissions relating to scope 1, 2 and 3 of the project under analysis, with a difference for detailed calculation of scope 3 (Supply Chain) where the highest emissions from a building or construction project are found. infrastructure.

The use of LCA to quantify emissions has been widely adopted internationally for the construction sector due to its methodology for capturing impacts through life cycle stages.

In addition to calculating emissions to complement sustainability reports aligned with ESG practices, the tool presents analyzes of where the greatest impacts are, enabling the simulation of improvements to reduce them with the purpose of achieving decarbonization goals such as Net Zero. This way, the results can be used for reports such as GRI, GRESB, CDP and other frameworks linked to the disclosure of carbon emissions.

Opportunity for logistics warehouses
Logistics warehouses have a good opportunity in relation to the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) developed and have already shown that they can obtain excellent environmental performance in relation to initial projects, especially in improvements included in the project. Some of these improvements are:

• Fiber for the concrete floor replacing steel;
• CPIII cement with the addition of slag to the concrete;
• Fiberglass thermal insulation through Saint Gobain's environmental product declaration;
• Metal roof covering and rebar steel with high amount of recycled content.

Caio Alencar, representative of Cerclos in Brazil, explains that with these improvements, warehouses can achieve up to 37% reduction in emissions when compared to the initial project and current market practice: ''The improvements in reducing impacts are quite significant, and can result in up to 4 points towards LEED certification'', he says.

LCA results and models are also important information for performance reference for future projects, and continuous search for impact reduction and construction efficiency.

Click here and check out a good example of how Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can help with LEED certification.

Benefits of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

• Provides Cushman & Wakefield clients with project and portfolio emissions management platform
• Market innovation tool for civil construction and Real Estate
• Minimizes the risk of invested capital by identifying the project improvement strategies that have the greatest relevance in reducing environmental impact
• Ensures high quality of information and results through the LCA methodology, and provides technical evidence for ESG reports and emissions inventories

Cushman & Wakefield and Cerclos, a combination of expertise
The partnership with Cerclos aims to bring even more expertise to our Project Development Services (PDS) teams by including ACV in all projects as part of consultancy, LEED certification and ESG corporate governance.

Diego Batista, Project Coordinator at Cushman & Wakefield, says that the entire management of the process of collecting information, documents and monthly monitoring until the conclusion of the Life Cycle Analysis studies is carried out by Cushman & Wakefield.

Are you interested? Contact us and find out how our sustainability consultancy can help you.

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