D: Economic and ecological aspects

D02 – Life cycle engineering of adaptive skins and structures

The project D02 expands the research work of projects A, B and C and is to include systematically environmental requirements such as resource consumption.

The starting point for the work in D02 is the life cycle assessment method. So far, construction products have been statically and deterministically assessed. The dynamics of adaptive buildings or subsystems have not or only partially been considered in the life cycle assessment yet.

The aim of the project D02 is to develop a systematic methodology for the life cycle engineering of adaptive skins and structures as well as a life cycle oriented product planning and product evaluation methodology. Within the framework of D02, suitable data sets should be developed to be able to create dynamic LCA models.

From this, the following research questions are derived:

  • How can effects of (active) changes and system effects be represented in existing perspectives by dynamic LCA models?
  • Which evaluation methods are suitable for dealing with dynamics and the multifunctionality of products and systems?
  • Which data structure is suitable for recording life cycle-related data?
  • Which methodology is suitable for the dynamic mapping of energy, material requirements and environmental impacts?

In order to create a reliable evaluation basis for adaptive systems, D02 aims to provide consistent LCA data. However, a suitable data structure was developed, specific data sets compiled and implemented in dynamic life cycle assessment models. The generated data and results were prepared and used for the development and design in the planning and development phases.

Timeline of project D02

The methodology developed in D02 provides a well-founded basis for dynamically mapping energy and material requirements as well as environmental impacts of adaptive buildings over their life cycle. As a result irregular, little or unpredictable occurrences are taken into account.

A systemic view of the development of adaptive skins and structures is central to the project D02. For example, the impact of adaptive systems in buildings on resource consumption and the life cycle assessment or the shift of environmental impacts from production to use or dismantling must be taken into account. The life cycle assessment in project D02 is based on both mass and energy balances of the production of the required materials and the energy required for the operation of adaptive systems in the building. For this, it is necessary to consider the entire life cycle. A resulting main result of the first funding phase of the SFB1244 is the development of the ActUate methodology (Estimation of life cycle related environmental impacts in the planning process of adaptive buildings).

Project D02 intersects with projects A, B and C. The result is a transfer of the environmental impacts of over the life cycle into key performance indicators in order to make them usable in the technical development process. Among other things, it has already been found in various studies that the mass reduction of adaptive structures enables significant savings in environmental impact.

A. Ostertag, F. Schlegl, A. Gienger, J. Wagner, M. Dazer, B. Bertsche, S. Albrecht, P. Leistner, C. Tarín und O. Sawodny. „Reliable Design of Adaptive Load-bearing Structures with Focus on Sustainability“. In: Proc. of the European Safety and Reliability Conf. and the Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conf. (akzeptiert) 2020]

Depending on the cause (e.g. wind, sun, snow, earthquake etc.), the loads on adaptive buildings are associated with different probabilities of occurrence, forces and durations, which consequently require a dependent actuation requirement. In the next funding period, therefore, the increasing relevance of the use phase is to be addressed and the increasing amount and variety of information with varying quality and varying values is to be taken into account in the planning phase. To map these relationships, the Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) is applied as a methodological guideline and combined with the method of life cycle assessment to form a new approach.

Principal investigators

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Philip Leistner, Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics
  • Dr.-Ing. Stefan Albrecht, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP


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