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Comparing the biodiversity impacts of building materials


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Nolan, GB, Hamilton, MG and Brown, M 2009 , 'Comparing the biodiversity impacts of building materials' , Architectural Science Review, vol. 52, no. 4 , pp. 261-269 , doi: 10.3763/asre.2009.0012.

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Australia’s legislated sustainability requirements have largely been restricted to the building’s projected operational energy and water use efficiency. However, the BCA is likely to include other environmental concerns in the future and that life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies will be used to shape the regulations. Biodiversity is one aspect of a sustainable natural environment affected by the construction of buildings and the manufacture of building materials in Australia. However, the complexity of biodiversity impact assessment and the lack of a meaningful surrogate or indicator for biodiversity impacts has made meaningful discussion on construction’s impact on biodiversity difficult. This paper reports on part of a multidisciplinary study that sought to propose methods for comparing the biodiversity impacts of different land uses in the life cycle assessment of buildings and building materials. It summarizes the biodiversity impact assessment methods used in recent studies, outlines the major concepts of biodiversity management, expands on the temporal, spatial and other factors that need to be considered when comparing the biodiversity impacts of renewable and non-renewable materials in LCA, and proposes means by which this can be done. It concludes with three qualitative examples of the methods in actions.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Nolan, GB and Hamilton, MG and Brown, M
Keywords: Building materials, comparative biodiversity impacts, LCA, Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Analysis
Journal or Publication Title: Architectural Science Review
ISSN: 0003-8628
DOI / ID Number: 10.3763/asre.2009.0012
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