LCA data and management

Nordic countries join forces to improve climate declarations for construction through data gathering

Publiceret 08-03-2023

The Nordic countries are working hard on gathering data on normative Life Cycle Assessment for buildings, as data is essential to follow the decarbonisation of construction. During the next 13 months, scientists across the Nordics will create a common Nordic process for gathering typical LCA data in databases and gather data for existing buildings, bio based products and vegetation.

To create unified or, at least, comparable methods and practices for normative LCA for buildings across the Nordic countries, a common understanding of the establishment and maintenance of databases for environmental assessment of buildings is crucial. Therefore, this project sets out to develop common processes for collection of typical data that ensure comparability and interoperability across various LCA tools, interfaces and services. In addition, the project will collect LCA data on and formulate common Nordic practices for existing buildings, bio based products and vegetation.

The project is led by the Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE), the Natural Resource Institute Finland (LUKE) and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), while additional Nordic scientists follow the project to share their newest knowledge from each country and benefit from the knowledge created throughout the project. Furthermore, representatives from the Nordic authorities will follow the project in order to include it as much as possible in the national work streams for data.

During 2023, the project will summarise its work in four reports focussing on data for existing buildings, bio based products and vegetation as wells as the processes for gathering typical data.

The project includes the following subtasks:

Task 2.1 Collaboration, communication and dissemination activities

  • Ensuring Nordic collaboration, communication and dissemination on LCA data and management

Tasks 2.2 Process for gathering typical data

  • Reviewing European development regarding CE-marking, EPDs, CPR Acquis and other relevant data to ensure interoperability with services, systems and software
  • Developing Nordic processes for collecting and validating typical life cycle data and materials
  • Developing a joint Nordic approach for setting scenarios for life cycle modules B, C and D
  • Defining specific requirements for interoperability of data across various types of LCA tools, interfaces and databases

Task 2.3 Data for existing buildings

  • Discussing and defining data needs and use with old buildings
  • Classifying building types according to building renovation LCA and climate declarations
  • Identifying representative structure types and typical material contents

Task 2.4 Data for bio based products

  • Formulating typical GWP data for bio based products
  • Formulating instructions for the use of carbon data
  • Formulating proposals for defining sustainable forestry

Task 2.5 Data for vegetation

It is necessary to add carbon data of the green areas of the built environment such as yards, parks and street trees to the Nordic construction emission databases. Therefore, the project will:

  • Generically classify trees, shrubs and other relevant building project related vegetation
  • Define life cycle scenarios for typical urban vegetation
  • Estimate carbon emissions over 50 years for selected tree groups
  • Document typical datasets

Data workshops

The project was kicked off at a data workshop in January, which will be followed by another workshop later this year informing about the expected new data and the underlying principles for generating and updating data.

Stay tuned for a date and link to the next workshop.

The larger context: Nordic Harmonisation of LCA's tasks in the Nordic Sustainable Construction programme

This project is only one out of the four tasks Nordic Harmonisation of LCA works with. The tasks of the project are arranged according to their timely relevance for policymaking as well as for building the required competence and capacity in the sector.
The specific objectives deal with timely relevant questions that all have Nordic importance. These include:

  1. The strategic options for Nordic LCA harmonisation, in relation to European Commission´s key initiatives, such as Level(s), revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, Construction Products Regulation, New European Bauhaus and taxonomy for sustainable finance (task 1);
  2. Questions related to the processes of developing and maintaining generic data and scenarios (task 2);
  3. The potential of digital tools and Building Information Models in building LCA (task 3), and
  4. Setting carbon footprint limit values for buildings and follow-up of the decarbonisation of the Nordic buildings stock (task 4).

Read more about the work package on Nordic Harmonisation of LCA here.