The design community has a reasonable understanding of the factors which affect operational energy in buildings and has a variety of computational tools for assessing it. By contrast, the broader environmental consequences of producing and operating buildings are poorly defined. Since operating energy represents the current extent of environmental auditing, a significant advance is to include the energy and emissions associated with the production of construction materials. This paper outlines the key issues associated with environmental assessment of the production and use of materials and presents examples of energy and air pollution audits for four comparable commercial building assemblies with similar thermal resistances. © 1992.
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