Life Cycle Assessments of Circular Economy in the Built Environment—A Scoping Review

Sarah Cecilie Andersen*, Harpa Birgisdóttir, Morten Birkved

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Abstract

The Circular Economy (CE) is gaining traction throughout all industries and nations globally. However, despite several attempts, no one-off solutions for assessing the benefits and pitfalls of CE have been established, and neither have any measures with which to determine decisions. In line with this general observation, the Built Environment (BE) is no different. A tendency is observed in which, for the assessment of the environmental impacts of CE, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been deemed suitable. This paper presents a scoping review, using the PRISMA statement extension for scoping reviews, documenting how LCA has been applied for assessment of CE in the BE. The review covers a broad scope of literature, scoping the landscape, and delimits it into publications where CE strategy has been defined explicitly and described as a CE investigation. Among the LCAs applied, the dominant system boundary choice is the attributional approach. The authors open the discussion on whether this is actually suitable for answering the questions posed in the CE paradigm. From the review, and the discussion, the conclusion suggests that there is no dominant procedure in applying LCA of CE in the BE, even despite commonly developed LCA standards for the BE. Few studies also present the consideration to reconsider the applied LCA, as CE puts new questions (and thereby a potentially greater system boundary, as CE may imply greater societal consequences) that do not necessarily fit into the linear LCA framework currently applied in the BE.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer6887
TidsskriftSustainability
Vol/bind14
Udgave nummer11
Antal sider31
ISSN2071-1050
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 5. jun. 2022

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