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Construction is an important economic sector in terms of GDP (9% of EU GDP); employment (18 million jobs in the EU); GHG emissions (45%); and steel and cement consumption (50 and 100%, respectively). Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a general-purpose methodology, which is commonly applied to construction, i.e. to buildings and civil engineering infrastructure. Construction features give a particular flavor to LCA, because of the broad diversity of construction artifacts, the huge mass of materials involved that need to be included in a circular economy approach, the variety of materials contributing to a building, long lifetimes, the overwhelming importance of the use-phase and the major importance of energy use and GHG emissions. An example of LCA deals with an office building with a steel and a concrete variant. The steel building exhibits slightly lower impacts then the concrete one. In the future, the construction sector will mostly erect zero- or positive-energy buildings. LCA results will exhibit a smaller, almost negligible use-phase. This will relaunch competition in material choice. Specific tools are available for construction: Environmental Product Declaration (EPDs) focus on the materials phases of LCA, while Green Building Rating Tools (GBRTs) explore “beyond LCA” issues and tackle subtle concepts such as comfort, health and the social value of construction.

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