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Energy Saving through promotion of Life Cycle analysis in Building (ENSLIC BUILDING)

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The aim of the ENSLIC BUILDING project was to promote the use of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) in the design phase of new buildings or major refurbishments, by promoting the use of tools to stakeholders (e.g. architects, developers) willing to optimise the environmental performance of buildings. The main output of the project is a set of guidelines, compiled in collaboration with the stakeholders, with a methodology that clarifies the various aspects of LCA, e.g. purpose, benefits, requirements, flexibility and different techniques. The methodology was also applied to real buildings by a number of collaborating stakeholders. 20 documented case studies from the various participating countries were produced, with interesting results that manage to demonstrate well the different kinds of LCA analysis that can be performed and their usefulness. For instance, an interesting finding of some of the case studies is the relative importance of the embodied energy of the materials in the total energy demand of which a building is responsible over its whole life cycle, especially for so-called low energy buildings (i.e. buildings with a low use-related energy demand).


  • Development of guidelines and a simplified methodology for LCA to be used in design and refurbishment of buildings. The guidelines were developed in consultation with clients, architects and other stakeholders within the building sector and these practitioners are currently testing their practical relevance.
  • Demonstrate by means of several case studies on real buildings how LCA can facilitate comparisons of different buildings, showing influence of all variables on a building's life cycle environmental impact. These case studies provide useful examples on the practical application of the guidelines.
  • Promote application of LCA simplified methods to stakeholders who require a means to optimize environmental performance of buildings in a truly sustainable way. Through the case studies, the building sector key actors have been able to increase their knowledge in energy and environmental specifications of different materials and building solutions.

Lessons learned

  • It can be concluded that it might be better to start with a simplified LCA tool in order to overcome some of the existing barriers to increased LCA use. A simplified tool that only calculates e.g. CO2 emissions for part of the life cycle may still engender an understanding of the benefits of LCA and stimulate further interest. The Excel sheet developed within the ENSLIC Guidelines can be used for this purpose.
  • To increase interest, LCA building tools need to be better integrated with existing tools, for example investment calculation tools or CAD tools.
  • The incorporation of LCA methods into the public procurement procedures and /or encourage companies who tender for public contracts to use them, has a significant impact on energy consumption and environmental sustainability of public buildings.

Partners and coordinator

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Fundación CIRCE - Centro de Investigación de Recursos y Consumos Energéticos
c/ Mariano Esquillor Gómez nº 15
50018 Zaragoza
Contact point: 
Elena Calvo
+34 976 76 18 63


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In brief

01/10/2007 to 31/03/2010
Contract number: 

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