In addition to performance, budget and aesthetics, design professionals are now being asked to evaluate the environmental burdens of their design choices. Measuring the impacts of buildings, assemblies and products can be complex. Every design decision, from material and product selection to envelope design and construction can have an impact on the environment and the methods used to evaluate those decisions are still not widely understood. This article will address critical issues the design professional should consider as he/she evaluates the environmental impacts of building materials to maximize performance and deliver lasting value.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize how design decisions, from material and product selection to envelope design and construction, can affect environmental impacts of a building.
  • Learn how the life cycle perspective when making design decisions, such as material and product selections, can help create sustainable projects.
  • Identify how critical issues such as land use, human health, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions can impact environmental and functional performance.
  • Understand how life cycle assessment, from production through end-of-life, can play a role in evaluating environmental impacts of design decisions for the structures that are built.