What are the stages of a building's life span?
Understanding a building’s lifecycle
The article represents subjective opinions of Hines, the sponsor of the investment vehicles offered by Hines Securities. Other market participants may reasonably have differing opinions.
The life of a building includes many phases from initial development to renovations, and eventual decommissioning. Every phase uses energy that creates carbon emissions that Hines believes should be actively evaluated and reduced.
To organize and track a building’s carbon impact, its life span can be broken into different stages. Each stage represents a different timeframe in a building’s life cycle, from beginning to end, and is associated with varying levels of carbon emissions. These stages are described in detail in European Standards (EN) 15978 and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 14040:
- Product Stage: Raw material extraction, transportation, and manufacture into building materials or products
- Construction Stage: Transportation of building components and their construction or installation
- Embodied Use Stage: Upkeep of building components, including maintenance and replacement, along with renovations
- Operational Use Stage: Energy and water consumption due to building operations
- End-of-Life Stage: Demolition of building and disposal of waste
- Considerations Outside System Boundary: Recovery of building components and their reuse or recycle along with sequestration
All of these stages, with the exception of Operational Use, contribute to the total embodied carbon impact of a building. For many, the initial Product Stage is the largest contributor to total carbon emissions. In some instances, this stage can represent up to three quarters or more of the embodied carbon impact.
To make the greatest impact on emissions, Hines believes it is best to activate carbon reductions throughout the active life of a property. Learn more in the Hines Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide.