Holistic sustainability assessment
Through their involvement in two major EPSRC projects (Metrics Models and Toolkits for Whole Life Sustainable Urban Development (SUE-MoT), and SURegen - Integrated Decision Support System for Sustainable Urban Regeneration – a digital workbench for regeneration agents and their stakeholders) staff of WLC Ltd have developed novel approaches to sustainability assessment which are considerably simpler than conventional approaches, but which integrate the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. The integrated sustainability assessment benchmarking tool will allow the user to assess sustainability performance of buildings in a more simple and holistic way and provide more cost-effective ways of assessing and benchmarking the sustainability performance of buildings. It will also provide the means of efficiently analysing sustainability performance in order to find the best whole life sustainable design solution of a building. We therefore have a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of sustainability, and the potential pitfalls associated with sustainability assessment. The application of sustainability assessment in practice benefits from this unique research background, and allows us to deploy novel tools such as Full Cost Accounting.
The Integrated Sustainability Assessment Toolkit is designed to assess simply and systematically the whole life sustainability of a building in all three dimensions of sustainability simultaneously. The tool is a product of a £1.5m EPSRC funded research project which inter alia rigorously identified the nineteen most important sustainability impacts of buildings. After requiring users to specify and prioritise their values, the system specifies what software packages may be most suitable for carrying out the assessments, and expresses their aggregated output either as a radar chart, as a sustainability signature or as traffic lights. It also incorporates a knowledge capture and management system so that a user can learn from the experience of others.
Our staff are familiar with both BREEAM and CEEQUAL. They are therefore well qualified to undertake conventional sustainability assessments at different stages of a project’s life cycle from cradle to grave.
During 2013 and 2014, WLC Ltd led an EU Commission through the UK National Agency to transfer our expertise in this area to five European countries as part of a €400,000 transfer of innovation initiative.