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.