Feature Article

Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment: Taking the Measure of a Green Building

Why we will never understand the true impact of our buildings-and how we should try to anyway

April 29, 2013

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”
– G.E.P. Box

Net-zero energy use is a difficult goal for most buildings—but it wasn’t nearly enough for the designers of the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia. First conceived of in 1999 as a regenerative design project, CIRS was targeting net-positive operational energy, carbon, and water quality as well as net-positive embodied carbon.