Environmental assessment using both financial and physical quantities

  • YEAR
    Treloar, Graham J.
    2007 Conference Papers
    Indicators of sustainable development: space, energy, water, waste


ABSTRACT: ‘Green’ buildings are often claimed to cost no more, however they can have lengthy
financial payback periods. The environmental payback period is arguably more critical for green
buildings, but it must be calculated accurately in an equivalent financial framework. Thirty years worth
of ecological economics research provides some guidance on this. The residential building sector
requires services from the insurance sector as well as the iron and steel sector. Financial inputs have
rarely been quantified in previous embodied energy analyses. After all building materials are quantified
in physical terms, in a process analysis, within the limits of available data, time and cost, there are still
significant gaps in the system boundary that require the use of financial quantities of goods and
services. In this paper, the need for financial and physical quantities of goods and services for the
energy analysis of buildings is demonstrated. Current environmental assessment methods tend to use
physical rather than financial quantities. A method is demonstrated for using input-output data (based
on financial quantities) to fill gaps in a simplified environmental assessment. This innovative technique
overcomes systemic limitations associated with previous methods. This has particular implications for
the future development of sophisticated environmental analysis tools.


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