Assessment of the variability of the environmental life cycle profiles of a building and its LEED certification score depending on the choice of materials used

Yannick Lessard (Master student, civil and building engineering, USherbrooke

Supervisor: Ben Amor

Co-supervisor: Caroline Frenette

Co-supervisor: Pierre Blanchet























Various green building rating systems (GBRSs) have been proposed to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. However, these GBRSs, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4, are primarily oriented toward a building's use stage energy consumption. Their application in contexts involving a high share of renewable energy, and hence a low‐impact electricity mix, can result in undesirable side effects. 




This project aims to investigate the environmental profiles variability of an existing office building in Quebec (Canada), that is LEED certified and where more than 95% of the electricity consumption mix is renewable. This variability will be caused by the changes of the materials configuration of the building.


This project is based on a five-storey building Silver LEED certified (NC 1.0). It compares the material impacts from a low‐energy context building to material considerations in LEED v4. In addition to their contributions to the building impacts, material impacts are also defined by their potential to change impacts with different material configurations. Life cycle assessment (LCA) impacts were evaluated using Simapro 8.2, the Ecoinvent 3.1 database, and the IMPACT 2002+ method. Then, different configurations, such as Flooring/Ceiling and Exterior walls, and the changes required for the building will be modelled using LCA and the LEED score will also be calculated according to the materials choices performed.



The conclusions drawn from this work will help stakeholders from the buildings sector to have a better understanding of building environmental profiles, and the limitations of LEED v4 in contexts involving a low‐impact energy mix. In addition, this critical assessment can be used to further improve the LEED certification system.