A parametric tool to quantify the life cycle embodied environmental flows of built assets

  • YEAR
    Stephan, Andre
    Prideaux, Fabian
    Crawford, Robert H
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


The construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure assets are the main drivers of raw material extraction and are responsible for significant embodied environmental flows such as energy and water use as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It is critical to empower actors of the built environment with advanced tools to quantify the life cycle environmental performance of different designs to inform design decisions. This paper presents one such parametric tool, EPiC Grasshopper, developed as a plugin for the Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper 3D environment. EPiC Grasshopper is a bottom-up parametric tool that operationalises the Environmental Performance in Construction (EPiC) Database of hybrid environmental coefficients for construction materials. The paper presents the architecture of EPiC Grasshopper, verifies its calculations and validates its output by comparing its application to a case study house in Australia to figures from a previous study. Results validate the plugin and show minor variations of the total life cycle embodied energy (-2%) at a whole building level as well as very minor variations in the contribution of each material to the total life cycle embodied energy, as compared to the figures from the previous study (maximum 1.7% of variation). The visualisation of results directly within the Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper 3D environment is also showcased. Future research includes demonstrating the parametric aspect of EPiC Grasshopper and developing more advanced functionalities. This will enable actors of the built environment to include life cycle embodied environmental performance directly into their workflows in a streamlined yet advanced manner.

Keywords: EPiC Grasshopper; bottom-up; embodied carbon; model.


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