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Sustainability and performance assessment and benchmarking of buildings - SuPerBuildings

Final Report Summary - SUPERBUILDINGS (Sustainability and performance assessment and benchmarking of buildings - Superbuildings)

Executive summary:

The main objectives of SUPERBUILDINGS were as follows:
1) to develop the potential of sustainability assessment and benchmarking methods in progress towards sustainable built environment,
2) to develop indicators for assessing the environmental, social and economic performance of buildings,
3) to develop criteria for the benchmarking of sustainable buildings (SBs),
4) to develop recommendations for the use of indicators in different stages of building process and in steering,
5) to disseminate the results for standardisation bodies, policy makers and construction professionals and encourage the development of SB services.

The focus was to develop understanding about assessment methods and performance levels paying special attention on the validity of indicators and the comparability of assessment results. Validity determines whether the indicator truly measures what it was intended to measure or how truthful the results are. The outcomes of the research work suggest that a top-down approach should be followed in the selection of indicators in order to ensure the validity of sustainability assessments. Two main criteria for individual indicators are: Sustainability indicators of buildings must indicate an issue of concern of sustainable development; buildings must have a significant impact on that issue of concern.

The goal of the project was not to develop a uniform assessment system with a defined list of indicators but the aim was to support the further development of existing systems. The discussion focused on indicators for which there are still lack of information about different factors (e.g. carbon footprint) or methodological issues (e.g. land use) and on indicators that are missing at the moment (e.g. in the field of economics). SUPERBUILDINGS selected the following indicators: 1) Rational use of water, 2) Consumption of non-renewable primary energy, 3) Land use, 4) Global warming potential, 5) Construction and demolition waste generation, 6) Water pollution due to material leaching, 7) Hygro-thermal comfort, 8) Visual comfort, 9) Indoor air quality, 10) Cultural heritage, 11) Aesthetic quality, 12) Life cycle costs, 13) Long term stability of value.

The project showed that there is a lot of – especially local – understanding about the typical and best performance values of different building regarding certain sustainability indicators. However, much work is still needed to improve understanding of benchmarks and also to develop good processes for the determination of benchmarks. The possible sources for benchmark values depend on the type of the benchmark and can be outlined as follows: a) Target values: political targets, technical optimums, economic optimum; b) Best practice value: best practice, upper quartile; c) Reference value: median value; d) Limit value: legal minimum, prescriptive minimum.

SUPERBUILDINGS studied the effective use of sustainability indicators in different stages of building processes. The description of the process and the recommendations were given for the following stages: 1) customer briefing for SB, 2) programming for SB, 3) bidding for SB, 4) design for SB, 5) implementation for SB, 6) use and maintenance for SB.

The project studied the ability of BIM to provide the needed input information in order to calculate the indicator values. The BIM is a concept that represents a way of working based on integrated exchange via ICT solutions. To allow such exchanges, a specific open standardized language has been developed (IFC). The work results show that many of the indicators are already supported by the IFC4 but there are still some gaps. The combined use of IFC4 and Information Delivery Manual (IDM) provides the right tools to ensure the technical and semantic integration of SUPERBUILDINGS indicators to the BIM.

SUPERBUILDINGS defined that an effective steering mechanism a) has an impact on its focus area, b) has support from the citizens and building owners, c) is feasible because tools needed in assessment and verification are available and accessible for all who need those and because guidelines and instructions needed are clear. The project dealt with the following types of instruments: 1) normative control and regulatory instruments, 2) informative control and regulatory instruments, 3) economic and market-based instruments, 4) fiscal instruments and incentives, 5) support and information, 6) municipal steering. SB indicators are mature enough and should be actively be brought to guide all life cycle phases of buildings. The following recommendations were formulated: Comprehensive understanding about the goal, Guidelines for planning and design, A wider scope for regulatory instruments, Development of municipal support and building supervising processes, Development of substantiation processes in performance based procurement, Further economic support for the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Project Context and Objectives:
The main objectives of the SUPERBUILDINGS project were as follows:
- To develop a common understanding about the potential of sustainability assessment and benchmarking methods in progress towards sustainable built environment
- To develop indicators for assessing the environmental, social and economic performance of buildings
- To develop criteria for the benchmarking and labelling of sustainable buildings (SBs)
- To develop recommendations and solutions for the use of the system in different stages of building process and in steering and building regulation
- To disseminate the results for standardisation bodies, policy makers and construction professionals and encourage the development of new sustainable building services

The premise of the project was that it is possible to
- develop a logical structure for the sustainability assessment of buildings considering the environmental, economic and social performance of buildings;
- define core indicators for SBs;
- effectively use indicators in building processes;
- use sustainability indicators as an instrument of SB building steering
and thus promote design and construction for sustainable built environment.

The project is divided into the following 8 work packages:
1) WP 1 Management of consortium
2) WP 2 Establishment of the common starting point for the project
3) WP 3 Potential of SB benchmarking systems
4) WP 4 Assessment of sustainability performance of buildings
5) WP 5 Performance levels and benchmarking criteria
6) WP 6 Recommendations for effective exploitation
7) WP 7 Piloting
8) WP 8 Dissemination

SUPERBUILDINGS project developed and selected sustainability indicators for buildings; improved the understanding about performance levels considering new and existing buildings, different building types and different national and local requirements; developed methods for the assessment and benchmarking of SBs; and made recommendations for the effective use of benchmarking systems as instruments of steering and in different stages of building projects. The framework for the assessment of environmental, social and economic performance is being developed within CEN and ISO. SUPERBUILDINGS considered the output of the standardisation processes and focused on the development of the validity of SB indicators, comparability of assessment results, benchmarking criteria and the usability of project also provided recommendations for the improvement of standards.

State-of-the-art
The project collected information about the availability of sustainability indicators and assessment methods in order to make conclusions about the needs for the further development and harmonisation. CEN and ISO standards are based on a life-cycle analysis based approach supplemented by additional environmental and technical information. The current standards focus on environmental performance assessment, though methods for the assessment of social performance are under development. The SBA and UNEP initiatives focus on a much narrower set of metrics than included in the standards. LEnSE project identified 31 environmental, social and economic issues. The current Perfection project focuses on setting up a framework and a set of indicators for the overall quality of the indoor environment of buildings. Eleven national building evaluation tools were reviewed and analysed with regard to the availability of sustainability indicators and assessment methods and their degree of common understanding.

Overview of issues and indicators within the building evaluation tools considered by the partners as missing or to be (further) developed.

Environmental indicators Economic indicators Social indicators
- LCA indicators:
- photochemical ozone creation potential
- abiotic depletion
- biotic depletion
- human toxicity
- eco-toxicity
- materials
- use of wood
- Ecological value of the site:
- landscape degradation
- evaluation of site ecology
- ecological footprint
- Waste and radioactive waste
- Needs for irrigation • Lifecycle costs
- Flexibility/adaptability • User related indicators:
- consideration of user's needs
- individual lifestyles and preferences
- usability
- Protection from domestic accidents
- Space efficiency
- Building aesthetics and context
Overview of most covered issues and indicators within the building evaluation tools.
Environmental indicators Economic indicators Social indicators
- Primary energy consumption
- Minimise water consumption
- Materials
- Waste production during the use phase
- Global warming potential
- Ecological value of the site • Building adaptability
- Ease of maintenance • Indoor air quality
- Provision of safe and adequate bicycle lanes and facilities
- Visual comfort
- Thermal comfort
- Acoustic comfort
- Access to public services and amenities
- Access for users with physical impairments
- Access to public transport

All analyzed tools have performance rating scale at indicator and building levels. However, considering the lack of some indicators, the further development of both performance levels and benchmarking criteria is also required. Most of these tools have a single global score as the result of a total aggregation process with weighting factors. Most of them are based on a four-level aggregation scheme. The consistency of the final set of criteria and the establishment of rules that clearly define weighting factors based on rational arguments and intermediate levels of aggregation should be further developed.

Barriers and drivers
SUPERBUILDINGS studied barriers and drivers for sustainable building and stakeholder needs with regard to assessment methods. The study of literature summarised the research results concerning the barriers and potentials of sustainable building. The biggest challenges concern the following sections: Steering and regulations, Demand and the role of owners, Tendering and procurement processes, Availability of integrated methods, Cooperation and networking. The target groups of the interviews were the members of the project groups (research group, stakeholders' group, network group) and participants of two sustainable building conferences. The results indicated that in general sustainability assessments are at present very important for architects and designers, building authorities and planning authorities. On the other hand, it seems to be currently of low importance for insurers, banking sector and community representatives.

Development of indicators
The goal of the project was not to develop a uniform assessment system with a defined list of indicators but the aim was to support the further development of existing systems. The discussion focused on indicators for which there are still lack of information about different factors (e.g. carbon footprint) or methodological issues (e.g. land use) and on indicators that are missing at the moment (e.g. in the field of economics). SUPERBUILDINGS selected the following indicators: 1) Rational use of water, 2) Consumption of non-renewable primary energy, 3) Land use, 4) Global warming potential, 5) Construction and demolition waste generation, 6) Water pollution due to material leaching, 7) Hygro-thermal comfort, 8) Visual comfort, 9) Indoor air quality, 10) Cultural heritage, 11) Aesthetic quality, 12) Life cycle costs, 13) Long term stability of value.

Performance levels and benchmarking
One of the objectives of SUPERBUILDINGS was to develop knowledge on typical performance levels. Seven key indicators were selected for that purpose, and these were the objects of an inventory of accurate and actual data, based on statistical studies, regulation standards, voluntary schemes, or even case studies, across seven European countries: Land Use, Energy Consumption, Greenhouse gas emissions , Water Consumption, Waste production, Hygro-thermal comfort, and Indoor Air Quality.

SUPERBUILDINGS project showed that there is a lot of – especially local – understanding about the typical and best performance values of different building regarding certain sustainability indicators. However, much work is still needed to improve understanding of benchmarks and also to develop good processes for the determination of benchmarks. The typology of benchmarks can be combined with values from appropriate sources. The possible sources for benchmark values depend on the type of the benchmark and can be outlined as follows: a) Target values: political targets, technical optimums, economic optimum; b) Best practice value: best practice, upper quartile; c) Reference value: median value; d) Limit value: legal minimum, prescriptive minimum.

Sustainable building processes
The effective use of SB assessment and benchmarking systems in different phases of building processes requires the availability of needed information, communication and information flows between different actors of the process, and possibility also new services, new roles and new actors. The recommendations for the use of sustainability indicators in building processes were developed through a series of workshops with experts. The description of the process and the recommendations were given for the following stages: 1) customer briefing for SB, 2) programming for SB, 3) bidding for SB, 4) design for SB, 5) implementation for SB, 6) use and maintenance for SB.

BIM
The sustainability indicators that were developed by the consortium were checked against their potential integration to BIM. This means to answer three questions: 1) does the BIM be able to provide the needed input information in order to calculate the value of the indicators? 2) does the BIM be rich enough to have already concepts well suited to support the indicators (definitions and corresponding values)? 3) is-it enough to ensure consistency of information?

The BIM is an approach, which represents a way of working based on integrated exchange via ICT solutions. To allow such exchanges, a specific open standardized language has been developed - Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). Al the construction elements that are needed to determine the value of the indicators are already present in the IFC. In its recent update (IFC4) this language has been greatly enriched especially with regards to sustainable assessment. The work results show that many of the indicators are already supported by the IFC4. There are still some gaps as some indicators are not supported and some others are weakly supported. However, it is not enough to ensure the consistency of the information among the various exchanges and over the phases of a construction project. There is also a need for a formalised description of the assessment processes. In order to perform such task and in order to keep the link with the BIM and the IFC, a dedicated methodology has been developed by the BuildingSmart association. This method based on the production of interchange manuals is called IDM (Information Delivery Manual). The combined use of IFC4 and IDM provides the right tools to ensure the technical and semantic integration of SUPERBUILDINGS indicators to the BIM.

Steering
SUPERBUILDINGS defined that an effective steering mechanism a) has an impact on its focus area, b) has support from the citizens and building owners, c) is feasible because tools needed in assessment and verification are available and accessible for all who need those and because guidelines and instructions needed are clear. The project dealt with the following types of instruments of steering: 1) Normative control and regulatory instruments, 2) Informative control and regulatory instruments, 3) Economic and market-based instruments, 4) Fiscal instruments and incentives, 5) Support and information, 6) Municipal steering, Steering actions in city planning and land use.

The researchers of steering instruments seldom recommend a single method but often a combination of methods is recommended. Many researchers emphasize the importance of regulatory methods. However, they also suggest the use of these in the combination of awareness raising campaigns and economic incentives. The true impact of the voluntary methods on the impacts of buildings on sustainable development has remained quite low. The reasons for this may be that the methods are often used in limited market segments and the required performance levels may not be ambitious. There is a need to understand and explain the linkage between property value and issues of sustainable development in order to promote the wide use of methods. There is also a need to get more knowledge about the real and desired performance levels of buildings in order to show real benchmarks for those who aim at the development of sustainability of buildings. When considering new policies and policy instruments it is important to assess the position of different stakeholders with regard to such policies and instruments. A good support from relevant stakeholders contributes to the effectiveness of policy instruments. Indicators of sustainable design and construction SB assessment systems are mature enough and should be actively be brought to guide all life cycle phases of buildings.

Future prospects
It is estimated that the demand for results of a sustainability assessment of buildings will grow even more in the coming years. Both voluntary processes as well as policy steering and municipal steering instruments need sustainability assessment methods and indicators. The project summarised that possible reasons for an increased need for assessment results and assessment tools are seen in:
- the concern about greenhouse gases and the knowledge about construction sector's potential in the reduction of GHGs may lead to the further development of regulatory and fiscal instruments;
- the intention of the public sector to become a role model, leading to an integration of sustainability aspects into the procurement process;
- the intention of cities to search for significant savings in energy consumption and GHGs, which may lead the increased consideration of sustainability aspects in building supervising processes;
- an integration of sustainability aspects into the analysis and management of large building stocks (portfolio analysis and portfolio management concerning both private and public owners and developers), leading to a demand for different system variants for the use phase (sustainability assessment – in use);
- an integration of sustainability aspects into the risk analysis and valuation, leading to a demand for disaggregated assessment results;
- the integration of sustainability aspects into the establishment of conditions for the financing and insurance of buildings leads to a demand from banks and insurance companies;
- companies want to integrate information on the sustainability of their corporate offices and building stocks into the sustainability report and need information;
- sustainable property funds give emphasis on a positive sustainability assessment as a condition for the purchase of objects;
- an integration of sustainability aspects into planning and architectural competitions, leading to the question of suitability of rating systems for early stages of planning;
- an integration into the planning process, which must lead to a development of new approaches;
- sustainable buildings increase the user satisfaction and productivity.

Project Results:
SUPERBUILDINGS project developed and selected sustainability indicators for buildings; improved the understanding about performance levels considering new and existing buildings, different building types and different national and local requirements; developed methods for the assessment and benchmarking of SBs; and made recommendations for the effective use of benchmarking systems as instruments of steering and in different stages of building projects. The framework for the assessment of environmental, social and economic performance is being developed within CEN and ISO. SUPERBUILDINGS considered the output of the standardisation processes and focused on the development of the validity of SB indicators, comparability of assessment results, benchmarking criteria and the usability of project also provided recommendations for the improvement of standards.

Existing sustainability assessment systems

SUPERBUILDINGS collected information about the content and characteristics of the current assessment systems. The work consisted of a review of pertinent European and international initiatives and standardization activities, as well as existing national building evaluation tools.


The review of European and International initiatives and standardisation activities revealed that CEN and ISO standards start from a common life-cycle analysis based approach, supplemented with additional environmental and technical information. However, the standards only fully address environmental performance assessment, while currently work is continuing to address more fully the social performance of buildings. The SBA and UNEP initiatives focus on a much narrower set of metrics than included in the standards. Within the LEnSE project, 31 environmental, social and economic issues are identified and an assessment method is developed, starting from a review of existing evaluation tools and standardisation and harmonisation activities. Finally, the Perfection project focuses on setting up a framework and a set of indicators concerning the overall quality of the indoor environment of buildings. The review of national sustainable building evaluation tools was mainly based on the information provided by the SUPERBUILDINGS' partners with the help of the questionnaire.

In order to be able to draw the above conclusions based on the information received (list of indicators and description of corresponding evaluation methods from 11 tools) a broad table of issues that could potentially be covered by existing tools was made. For each national tool, the indicators were then classified in that table (each indicator under the issue(s) it covers). This enabled to identify issues that are not, little or well covered by existing tools and, for issues that are covered by more than one tool, a comparison of evaluation methods could be made.

The list of issues that served as framework for the analysis was mainly based on the issues covered by LEnSE, ISO 21929-1 and to make it as exhaustive as possible it was also completed with additional issues encountered in the reviewed tools but which did not fit into the originally established framework.


The fact that an issue is covered by most tools, indicates that it is generally considered as important and relevant. Those issues are thus potential core indicators. Finally, regarding the issues covered by many tools, the assessment methods used in the different tools were compared. This showed that there is a need for harmonization. The most important differences between the tools relate to:
- the use of qualitative versus quantitative indicators
- performance based indicators versus indicators based on an evaluation with the help of a checklist of measures (assessment of building features, which are never the same for all tools)
- system boundaries considered (e.g. CO2 only for the use phase or also for materials)
- level of detail and number of sub-indicators.

For environmental issues the core indicators identified by the partners are already covered by most of the analysed tools. However, this is not the case with regard to economic indicators.
Additional issues that were identified as issues to be further developed (proposed by at least one partner) are:
- local depletion caused by exploitation of primary surface resources (e.g. gravel),
- LCA impact from using different types of wood (from sustainably managed forests or not),
- protection from domestic accidents,
- space efficiency,
- building aesthetics and context.

Finally, regarding the issues covered by many tools, the assessment methods used in the different tools were compared. This showed that there is a need for harmonization. The most important differences between the tools relate to:
- the use of qualitative versus quantitative indicators
- performance based indicators versus indicators based on an evaluation with a checklist of measures (assessment of building features, which are never the same for all tools)
- system boundaries considered (e.g. CO2 only for the use phase or also for materials)
- level of detail and number of sub-indicators.


Barriers and drivers for sustainable building

SUPERBUILDINGS carried out a study about barriers and drivers for sustainable building (SB). The study was a review of literature mainly found in academic journals. The results were published in Häkkinen and Belloni (2011 Building research and information). The results are summarised here as a background. On the basis of the study, the following outline was developed for the barriers of SB:
- Steering mechanisms
- Economics
- Client understanding
- Process
- Procurement and tendering
- Timing
- Cooperation and networking
- Underpinning knowledge
- Knowledge and common language
- Availability of methods and tools
- Innovation

Top-down approach

Part of the aim of the SUPERBUILDINGS project is the development and establishment of principles for the design of new systems or further development of existing systems for describing, measuring and reporting the sustainability of buildings and facilities. These principles may be applicable both during the planning stage of new buildings or at the time of delivery for demonstrating the quality of a property to third parties as well as in the evaluation and upgrading of existing buildings. In any case, it should be ensured that all aspects of sustainability and sustainable development are taken into account. For this reason, a systematic approach is needed that results among others in an appropriate structure of assessment systems.

The reason for dealing with this issue is the fact that although numerous sustainability rating systems already exist in EU, many countries face the question of whether and how to develop and apply a customized assessment system that suit the regional characteristics.

From the beginning, the working team of SUPERBUILDINGS agreed not to add another sustainability system to the numerous existing ones. Instead, the principles for the design and development of assessment systems should be worked out, discussed and made publicly available. However, it is assumed that a number of rating systems are confronted with the tasks of revision and further development. This should be supported by SUPERBUILDINGS project. As a result of SUPERBUILDINGS, a contribution to the content-related approach of existing systems is achieved, while at the same time their independence and identity is preserved.

The summary of the results was published in 2012:
New trends in sustainability assessment systems – based on top-down approach and stakeholders needs. Authors: Thomas Lützkendorf, Petr Hajek, Antonin Lupisek, Andrea Immendörfer, Sylviane Nibel and Tarja Häkkinen. 2012. International Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development. Abstract: Worldwide interest in future-proof buildings is growing, leading to increased demand for suitable methods and systems for assessing and communicating the sustainability of buildings. The number of stakeholders interested in sustainability assessment results as a basis for decision-making is growing. Ultimately, in order to bring about greater sustainability, stakeholders need to understand their potential impacts, but can only do so if this potential is clearly communicated to them through the system structure and through a language and in a format that suits their needs. Numerous systems exist, though these do not always meet the above requirements, do not always address all aspects of sustainability, may have certain methodological issues and may cause confusion through their sheer number.

Development of indicators

The focus was directed not only on quantitative indicators but also on qualitative indicators. The topics Land use, Architectural quality, and Cultural heritage were paid attention to. The focus of the work was on the following issues: validity, reliability, comparability, assessment method in design and operation, quantitative and qualitative methods, applicability. The general subjects of concern identified in SUPERBUILDINGS are as follows:


The work focused on the development of the validity of indicators and the data reliability for each key indicator. The objective was to develop and select appropriate measurement methods for each key indicator in order to enable the reliable assessment of performance levels. In order to achieve good data validity and reliability, the measurement methods have been developed and described in detail. This required that the project developed a deep understanding about the effect of different factors on the final assessment results. The project adopted the indicators and measurement methods for which there is a good common understanding and developed solutions for those indicators and measurement methods for which there was lack of knowledge and common understanding. It contains the following sections:
- Indicator definition
- Validity (with explanation and justification)
- Object of assessment
- Characterization
- Assessment in design and operation
- Comparability
- Sources of information.

The following indicators were selected:
- Rational use of water
- Consumption of non-renewable primary energy
- Land use
- Global warming potential
- Construction and demolition waste generation
- Water pollution due to material leaching
- Indoor thermal environment - Hygro-thermal comfort
- Visual comfort
- Indoor air quality
- Cultural heritage
- Aesthetic quality
- Life cycle costs
- Long term stability of value

These indicators were either selected, or improved or developed, and documented through a structured format. They cover the 3 pillars of sustainable development, but not all the related issues. Some are of particular interest and include added-value because they have been newly developed, as land use, eco-mobility potential, cultural heritage, aesthetic quality, long term stability of economic value, integrated design.

Five topics were selected for more close studies. Manuscripts for journal articles were prepared on the basis of these studies. The following Abstracts summarise the research outcomes:

AESTHETIC QUALITY AS AN ASPECT OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS
Author: Carmen Antuña
Architectural quality - aesthetic quality has been developed by SUPERBUILDINGS as a quality indicator through four sub-indicators:
- Architectural quality in the design stage (design competition, considering alternative design options)
- Architectural quality in the tender stage (as obligation on the contractor)
- "Educated" decision making (as part of a design competition, considering alternative design options)
- Public art in/on/around buildings (mandatory inclusion of art work)

As it appears, this way of defining aesthetic quality concentrates mainly on the process (particularly in the case of the first three sub-indicators mentioned above) but as good as it may be, following a certain process does not guarantee in itself high aesthetic quality.

LAND USE AS AN ASPECT OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDING
Authors: Tarja Häkkinen, Tuomas Helin, Carmen Antuña, Susanne Supper, Nicoleta Schiopu, Sylviane Nibel.

This study discusses the validity and usability of land use as an aspect of sustainable building. Buildings have an effect on land use both because of the extraction and processing of raw materials and disposal of wastes and because buildings occupy land during their entire service life. In addition, location of buildings has an effect on the need of networks – such as traffic networks – and their land use. Land use related indicators are typically included in the European voluntary assessment systems of sustainable buildings. ISO 21929-1 defines two land use indicators for buildings: soil sealing and land use change. However, there is neither consensus nor harmonised method to assess this issue. As an example, land use was not included in CEN/TC350 EN 15978:2011 due to lack of agreement on a calculation method.

BUILDING PERFORMANCE RELATED INDICATORS AS SOCIAL INDICATORS OF BUILDINGS
Author: Tarja Häkkinen

Social indicators try to indicate people's wellbeing on societal level. Social issues are also dealt with on product level; social life cycle assesses social and socio-economic impacts of products along the value chain with the help of organization and process attributes.

COMFORT ASSESSMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS: COMPARISON OF SIMPLIFIED AND DETAILED HUMAN THERMAL SENSATION METHODS
Authors: Riikka Holopainen, Pekka Tuomaala, Patxi Hernandez, Tarja Häkkinen Kalevi Piira, Jouko Piippo.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DIFFERENT FACTORS ON GHG EMISSIONS OF BUILDINGS
Authors: Antti Ruuska, Tarja Häkkinen

The objective of the research was to create improved understanding about the significance of different factors on the overall GHG emissions of buildings. Especially the research studied the significance of building materials. The significance was studied by assessing the share of building materials related GHG emissions from the total GHG emissions and by assessing the range of variation. The research was done with the help of a study of literature and with the help of a parametric case study. The parametric study assessed the possible range of variation.

The role of building materials is increasing due to several factors:
- Energy efficient buildings use less operational energy and cause less GHG emissions over their lifetimes; the relative importance of GHG emissions of materials increase
- Buildings are becoming more energy efficient; the GHG emissions from material production may increase in absolute terms (more materials)
- Use of renewable energy is expected to lead to less GHG emissions from energy production; the relative importance of GHG emissions of materials increase
The study showed that the share of embodied CO2 may be significant compared to the total CF of a building. A gradual approach should be developed for the design process to consider the embodied carbon. The proposed stages are as follows:
- Ground works
- Frame
- Supplementary structures
- HVAC

Significant issues regarding the significance of building materials include the following:
- Quality of building site (stabilization)
- Weight of the frame
- Surfaces, windows, doors, furniture, fittings (renovation)
- Material related processes
- HVAC (cooling, solar energy).
To be submitted to International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment
Performance levels and benchmarking criteria

SUPERBUILDINGS developed information about the performance levels and benchmarking criteria for sustainable buildings. Seven key indicators were selected for that purpose, and these were the objects of an inventory of accurate and actual data, based on statistical studies, regulation standards, voluntary schemes, or even case studies, across seven European countries: Land Use, Energy Consumption, Greenhouse gas emissions , Water Consumption, Waste production, Hygro-thermal comfort, and Indoor Air Quality.

SUPERBUILDINGS project showed that there is a lot of – especially local – understanding about the typical and best performance values of different building regarding certain sustainability indicators. However, much work is still needed to improve understanding of benchmarks and also to develop good processes for the determination of benchmarks.

Among other things, important lessons that can be drawn from this work are the followings:
- SUPERBUILDINGS project has drawn a map of Key Performance Indicator around European countries. The work showed that there is a lack of comparability due to differences within national calculation methods (different boundaries, definitions of reference units like the floor area; consideration of local requirements about buildings and local concerns),
- There is a lack of accurate data concerning typical performance values for life cycle Indicators of buildings currently considered in terms of sustainability. This issue can be explained by the current paradigm shift: assessment systems evolve from one indicator – especially energy - to a multi-criteria vision and from the use stage to a lifecycle approach.

Recommendations for the use of sustainable building assessment and benchmarking systems in different phases of building process

SUPERBUILDINGS developed recommendations for the use of the sustainable building assessment and benchmarking systems and sustainability indicators in different stages of the building processes. The work focused on the possibilities to make effectively use of the systems in sustainable building target setting, design for sustainable buildings, procurement and investment.

Interpret sustainability objectives to the programme

2B Bidding for sustainable building Setting sustainability requirements for the different bidding processes (direct selection, reference based selection, negotiated selection, competitive selection, etc.).
Enable suppliers' sustainability competence to improve the plan

3 Design for sustainable building The main issues presented in the building programme and specifications include goals for sustainable construction and summary objectives. The most important design decisions for sustainable building are made in this phase.
Assess the sustainability and make design decisions

4 Implementation for sustainable building Implementation is carried out in accordance to the building programme and specifications, and system design which states the target levels and assessment results of sustainable building.

Monitor and manage changes

5 Use, monitoring and maintenance for sustainable building Sustainable use, monitoring and maintenance are managed by plans and instructions from the previous phase which include performance targets.
Monitoring and act respectively, communicate

The abovementioned recommendations were defined for each of the sub-phases considered within these main six phases. The overall process was described with the help of process maps. An example is given in the following:

The main stages were described (see an example in the following) and the information and recommendations were given for each sub-phase with the help of the following outline: Actors involved, sustainability principles, core indicators, assessment tools, assessment methods, background information needed.

Competition programme The competition programme (coming from 2A) should state what the client wants. This results in a document from which the rest of the process continues.

Designing the proposal At this stage the higher level sustainability targets (CFP, GHG, etc.) of the building begin to turn into more detailed design selections by the design team.

Design Build team selection criteria Design Build team selection criteria are defined on the basis of programme goals. Criteria are requirements of sustainable building knowledge and references described with the help of metrics regarding sustainability issues (considering both design values as well as operational values). The starting point is performance thinking, where the owner presents performance goals including environmental and economic viewpoints without limiting design solutions.

Note: Selection of the appropriate delivery system depends on the competence of the client and the project nature. When the client has the competence (e.g. earlier experience on similar projects), the sustainable solution could be designed by the client (Design Bid Build or Construction Management).

SUPERBUILDINGS has tried to increase the usability and mobilization of sustainable building benchmarking systems considering that the primary reason for promoting the use of these systems is the desire to promote sustainable building stock and sustainable built environment. The premise was that the principles of sustainable performance of buildings and the knowledge about the desired performance levels should be known in all stages of building projects. In order to achieve significant impacts, building maintenance and refurbishment are extremely important stages to be considered. Effective tools should support sustainable building and consideration of different aspects of sustainable performance.

Recommendations for the integration of sustainable building assessment and benchmarking methods with BIMs

SUPERBUILDINGS developed recommendations concerning the integration of sustainable building assessment and benchmarking systems with the different stages of Building Information Models. The project introduced the notion of BIM and the underlying concepts (integration, interoperability) and presented the characteristics of the IFC language, its object oriented structure and its mechanisms to attached properties and objects via the use of relationships. Finally 20 indicators (resulting from work carried out in previous work packages) were examined against the Industry Foundation Classes which is the open language used to exchange and retrieve data from the BIM. The correspondences between these indicators and the IFC concepts were identified when existing.

Simplified representation of the subset structure addressed by Sustainable Assessment.

How the integration to BIM should happen:
To use Building Information Modelling effectively and for benefit to be unlocked, the level of understanding among partners involved in the same construction process and project needs significant improvement. For this to happen, there must be a common understanding of the building processes and of the information that is needed for and results from their execution.

In order to do that these practices have to be turned into shared/agreed processes. The first step is to define the different processes that are relevant in the sustainable building assessment across life cycle building. The aim is to have a set of processes described in a uniform way, to be used for sustainable assessment. Actors, sequence of actions, type of data and checks on data should become visible to support the sustainable building assessment practices.

There are several tools and approaches providing method for formalising exchange and processes among partners. IDM (Information Delivery Manual) is one of these solutions that allow the formal and accurate description of processes among actors and tools interacting around a BIM.

Case studies

One of the attention points in the development of Sustainable Building Assessment (SBA) and benchmarking systems is the usability by different construction professionals, in different stages of the building process and for different types of buildings. Therefore, in order to confront the SUPERBUILDINGS research work with these different perspectives, pilot test cases were carried out within the project by industrial members and SME's of the consortium. The general objective of those test cases was to test the results from and make recommendations to WP4 (indicators and measuring methods for Sustainable building assessment) and WP5 (benchmarking). But apart from those general objectives, each of the pilots also approached their selected test case(s) with specific objectives related to their respective domain of expertise:
- IAO: Institute for Industrial Engineering (Germany): data base services and information management tools for SBA
- YIT Kiinteistötekniikka Oy (Finland): Energy management
- VINCI Construction France : Target setting and monitoring in construction projects
- Werner Sobek (WS) Stuttgart GmbH?Co (Germany): integrated design
- W/E consultants (Netherlands): Consultation for local governments (policy implementation)
The general conclusions and recommendations derived from the case studies are then summarized by topic in the following sections:
- Sustainable building indicators
- The process of sustainable building assessment
- Comparability and benchmarking of sustainable building assessment results

Institution Main field of expertise Specific objectives Selected case studies
Fraunhofer IAO Institute for Industrial engineering, Germany Data base services and information management tools - Study role and needs of information management tools as enablers of common use of SBA ZVE-Center for Virtual Engineering
- Research and Office Building
- 3600m2
- (planned) completion: end of 2011
- Supported by latest standards of information management tools and methods
- DGNB certified
Architect: Asplan (Kaiserlautern) in cooperation with UN Studio (Amsterdam)
Werner Sobek (WS) Stuttgart GmbH, Germany) Integrated design - Give recommendations on the planning of integrated design in certification schemes
- Study the applicability of the SBA criteria in the different stages of the building process D10
- Residential building
- 150m2
- Completed in 2010
- Triple Zero® concept
- Successful example of integral planning

Architect: Werner Sobek, Stuttgart/Germany
YIT Kiinteistötekniikka Oy (Finland)
Building services (HVAC) – energy management - Study the possibilities of using information received by means of Building Automation Systems (BAS) for the assessment of environmental indicators
- In the long run use this information for the comparison and benchmarking of YIT buildings around Europe as well as target setting for new buildings
2 sets of in-use students housing buildings:
Set A (5 buildings):
- 15423m2
- Completed in 2010
Set B (11 buildings)
- 17638m2
- Completed in 1977-1978
VINCI Construction France General contractor - Test the use of a comprehensive set of sustainability indicators in real building projects
- pilot the use of sustainability indicators from the viewpoint of target setting and monitoring
Ensta Campus
- new students housing
- 2275m2
- Planned date of completion : end of 2011
- the building is also a pilot site for OXYGEN assessment versus HQE certification

Architect: Hubert GODET
W/E consultants (the Netherlands) SBA in the framework of municipal building policy contribute to a better understanding of:
- CO2 footprints (embodied vs operational)
- Methodological issues related to land use indicators
- Use of CO2 footprint and land use indicators in the context of municipal policy
Sport en jeugdcluster Engelen
- Municipality of 's Hertogenbosch sport and youth center
- 2200m2
- Completed in 2011
- SBA with GPR building

Architect: Kuin en Kuin
Methodological issues related to renovation and depreciation of building parts Appollo house
- Renovation of an office building in Amsterdam
- 14.000 m2
- Planned date of completion: end of 2011
Architect: Fokkema -Partners

As each member approached the test case from his own views and perspectives and with specific objectives, the methods and procedures for testing and evaluating the indicators developed within SUPERBUILDINGS project were very different for the six case studies. The following sections give a short overview on the general approach of each case study as well as some general recommendations concerning usability, availability of data of SBA indicators and how those can influence the performance of the building.

Conclusion:
The case studies show the usability of the indicators developed within SUPERBUILDINGS, but also provide valuable feedback on how to enhance SBA process, benchmarking and comparability of results.

The case study on information management systems concludes that the needed information management systems for SBA are already available; however, the linkage and connection of those tools could be enhanced. Indeed, as shown also by the case study on integrated design, industry wide standards for workflows, communication, information and data exchange, as well as data formatting would improve the SB assessment and construction process.

Future prospects

The project also analysed the general future prospects regarding the use of sustainability indicators. It is estimated that the demand for results of a sustainability assessment of buildings will grow even more in the coming years. Both voluntary processes as well as policy steering and municipal steering instruments need sustainability assessment methods and indicators.

Regarding future prospectives, the project made the following conclusions about research needs:
- Further development of assessment systems
There is a further development of assessment methods and principles in two directions. On the one hand there is finally the transition from systems that focus mainly on the issues of environment and health protection to systems that take into account the issues of sustainability in their full breadth and depth. At the same time, a transition from predominantly qualitative assessment systems to predominantly quantitative assessment systems takes place. Concurrently, the state of the international and particularly European standardization has been evolved.
- Development of early design phases
The most important decisions regarding SB building are done in planning districts and in early stages of design (new building / renovation, location, main functions and volume). Important architectural choices (size, shape and orientation, and the main construction materials) – are done in the preliminary design phase. In the past, the sustainability assessment was mostly used for marketing purposes. Now the situation has changed. More tools are needed for the design phase. Also tools that use simplified input are needed for early stages of design.
- Development of benchmarks
The willingness to consider the sustainability aspects from the beginning of building and renovation projects emphasizes the need for knowledge about benchmarks. Targets should be set for all relevant aspects with building level indicators. Although the current standards support the assessment and comparison of buildings, the standards, however, provide no information on benchmarks. There is a great need for the further setting-up and development (tightening) of benchmarks. As SUPERBUILDINGS project has shown there is a lot of – especially local – understanding about the typical and best performance values of different building regarding certain sustainability indicators. However, much work is still needed to improve understanding of benchmarks and also to develop good processes for the determination of benchmarks.

Potential Impact:

The goal of the SUPERBUILDINGS project was not to develop a uniform assessment system with a defined list of indicators. The aim was to support the further development of existing systems. The discussion focused on indicators for which there are still lack of information of different factors (e.g. CF) or methodological issues (e.g. land use) or indicators that are missing at the moment (e.g. in the field of economics). Therefore, the indicators that are analysed in the final report are not considered as a core list of indicators, but as a list of discussed and processed indicators.

The foreseen impact of the project is that it helps to widen the focus on GHGs.

To significantly speed the renovation rate of existing building stock, both mandatory and voluntary steering processes will be needed. As the owners of big portfolios face the need to accelerate renovation processes that improve the energy performance and reduce the GHGs of the stock, they will need comprehensive methods with the help of which essential aspects – including environmental, economic and social aspects – can be simultaneously considered.

The project outcomes help to select appropriate indicators and make comprehensive assessments.

From the view point of effective steering mechanisms it is of utmost importance that the guidelines are clear and the tools needed in assessment and verification of results are available and accessible for all who need those in different stages of building processes. The adoption of further sustainability aspects to be part of control, regulatory and fiscal instruments and subsidies emphasizes the need of quantitative assessment methods and indicators and their accurate description on the basis of commonly agreed principles. The outcomes of SUPERBUILDINGS support the adoption of further sustainability aspects to be part of control, regulatory and fiscal instruments and subsidies.

Comprehensive understanding about the goal
The definition of sustainable building covers the essential performance aspects considering environmental, economic and environmental aspects. If the European countries gradually agree that these aspects actually represent the essential performance aspects of buildings, we may gradually also come to the point where the same structuring could be used in the highest level of steering. In a situation like this, the building acts would give basic principles, building regulations and codes would give minimum requirements and guidelines and sustainability assessment systems would give indicators and methods for assessment and benchmarking by using the same outline for the aspects of building performance.

Recommendation
On the highest level of steering (meaning building laws and regulations) a comprehensive understanding about sustainable building could be adopted as a general outline and basic requirement for the overall quality of buildings.

Wider scope for energy regulatory instruments
The domain of control and regulatory steering instruments of sustainable building has much focused on the regulation of energy performance of buildings. The Directive on energy performance of buildings (2002/91/EC and its recast 2010/31/EU2010) is the main legislative instrument at EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. Under this Directive, the Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings. The recast energy performance directive sets a target for all new buildings to be 'nearly zero-energy buildings' by 2020.

Recommendation
The scope of the energy regulatory steering should be widened to cover life cycle based GHGs in addition to primary energy. In addition, building materials should be taken into account when GHGs are assessed. An improved assessment method which considers the complexity of energy supply technologies should be developed to support the measurement and the comparability of assessment results.

Development of municipal support and building supervising processes
Informative steering and support is needed in order to accelerate the refurbishment and retrofitting of existing building stock towards sustainable buildings. The ability of planning authorities and building permit authorities to provide more supportive guidance and consultation for designers and builders in building projects would probably facilitate the finding and utilization of better refurbishment and retrofitting solutions. More support is needed in order to accelerate the use of advanced solutions beneficial from the view point of energy performance and overall sustainability.

Recommendation
Such process indicators and guidelines should be developed which help local building authorities and building supervisors to give support and instructions for sustainable building planning and design. Guidelines are needed for consultation / cooperative steering; guidelines are needed for processes that help local building authorities to address different kinds of effective methods and tools for the design process and to follow performance based approach. These methods and tools should then support designers to consider sustainability aspects along the whole design process. Good examples of successive processes are available in some countries. The development of new kind of service models for building authorities that would help to add the use of consultation steering is recommended.

Development of procurement and verification processes
The use of performance based procurement model is a natural choice in sustainable building where the target performance is assessed with the help of a verification process. The definition of required verification is as important as specifying the design / construction criteria. A new type of contract for public private partnership is needed. In sustainable building processes requirements are set for the final result on the bases of sustainability requirements. Clear rules are needed for the process. The process description should explain how SB indicators are used in the setting and verification of requirements. These kinds of processes should especially be developed for public procurement.

Main dissemination activities

The main dissemination activities of SUPERBUILDINGS are as follows:
- the establishment of the SUPERBUILDINGS network group and the delivery of information of the project outcomes to the network group
- surveys and interviews carried out in the beginning of the project. Needs of different stakeholder groups were asked. At the same time information about the project objectives and preliminary results were presented.
- participation to several relevant seminars and workshops, presentation of SUPERBUILDINGS outcomes and face-to-face discussions together with participants
- organisation of and participation in special forums of SB11 and SB13
- organisation of the network group meeting in Porto in 2012
- organisation of the final conference in Brussels in 2012
- the communication of the project outcomes and events with the help of the social media
- all partners communicated the activities and outcomes of the project nationally for their partners and clients in the connection different kinds of meetings and seminars. Internationally and European wide discussion was especially going on together with ENCORD, ACE and other organisations.

Special Forum in SB13
SUPERBUILDINGS will also participate to the Special Forum - OPEN HOUSE - Towards a common European view on Sustainability of Buildings:
- Organiser: Fraunhofer IBP. Date: 24.04.2013 from 16:00 – 17:30
- Session Chair: Vincent Peyramale (Fraunhofer IBP)
- Speakers
Life Cycle Costing- Proposal for organisation of information based on the feedback of the European project OPEN HOUSE, Bruno Ziegler, EDF, France
Development of a European LCA rating methodology for OPEN HOUSE , Johannes Gantner, Fraunhofer IBP, Germany
Investigation on the differences between LEED, BREEAM and OPEN HOUSE assessment systems by means of two Hungarian case studies, Zsofia Belafi, ABUD Ltd., Hungary
Testing OPEN HOUSE methodology in former YU countries, Marjana Zavrl, Building and Civil engineering institute ZRMK, Slovenia
SUPERBUILDINGS, Tarja Häkkinen, VTT, Finland

Network group meeting
The open workshop of the Network Group was held within the Building Sustainability Assessment 2012 conference in 25th May 2012 Porto, Portugal. The workshop entitled Recommendations for next generation of assessment systems has been widely announced by the SUPERBUILDINGS newsletter, on the conference website, at LinkedIn and also by direct e-mailing. The interest of the participants was really high and the room was full to the last seat.

Final conference
The Final workshop of the SUPERBUILDINGS project took place in Brussels 18th December 2012. The 59 registered attendees were representatives of various stakeholders in sustainable building: architects and designers, academic and research bodies, representatives of professional organizations, producers of building components, construction companies and officers from DGs ENTER and ENV. The consortium of SUPERBUILDINGS got whole day to present to the audience the most important results of the project. The feedback from various representatives ranging from professional organisation of architects to the representatives of the European Commission shared words of appreciation of the project's outcomes.

Awareness raising package – final report
The project's main results and findings were compiled to the final report which has been made available as the awareness raising package of the project:
Sustainability and performance assessment and benchmarking of building. Final report. Espoo 2012. 409 p. + App. 64 p. VTT Technology [No.72]. ISBN 978-9-1-38-7908-2
1. Introduction
2. Current assessment systems and conclusions about needs of development
3. Barriers and drivers for sustainable building
4. Top-down approach
5. Description and explanation of the selected indicators and related measurement and assessment
methods with special focus on reliability, comparability and compatibility
6. Performance levels of buildings
7. Developing benchmarking criteria for sustainable buildings
8. Recommendations about the use of sustainability indicators in building processes
9. Recommendations about the use of indicators in Building Information Modelling
10. Integration sustainable building benchmarking methods with steering mechanisms
11. SUPERBUILDINGS summary and future prospects
The final report also includes the summary of OpenHouse project.

Overall communication
The overall communication of project took place with the help of face-to-face meetings together with stakeholders, communication through social networks, participation in relevant meetings, workshops and seminars and presentation of SUPERBUILDINGS results in those occasions, carrying out interviews and surveys among stakeholders, establishment of the network group, establishment and maintenance of the external web site, presenting projects key findings in newsletters and making those available for the network group, arrangement of network group meeting, and arrangement of the final seminar. During the organization of the final seminar extensive communication with stakeholders took place during the invitation process. An important communication route among the scientific community is writing and publishing articles. 6 manuscripts of scientific articles were prepared and sent as manuscripts to refereed journals. One of the articles was published before the end of 2012.

List of Websites:
http://cic.vtt.fi/SUPERBUILDINGS/

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