BLP LCC for sustainability: online toolkit modelling capital costs,operational costs,embodied and running energy costs and CO2 emissions for dwellings

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: UCL Energy Institute


The UK is committed to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and has defined a process based on 5-yearly carbon budgets to meet this aim. Despite domestic buildings being responsible for 27% of the UK's GHG emissions, current approaches to refurbishing homes are unable to deliver the speed and depth of emission reductions needed to meet these targets. The Great British Refurb has therefore been proposed at a cost of around 400BN. This represents the largest construction industry challenge in British history and is vital if the UK is to play its part in tackling climate change. Practitioners will need appropriate tools to help meet the government targets. The proposed work will generate one such new tool to help achieve these targets at least cost. The main route to impact is outlined in the TSB proposal i.e. via the development of software for use by construction clients, professional advisors and constructors looking to optimise housing construction solutions in respect of life cycle costs, energy costs and CO2 emissions when building new or refurbishing existing dwellings. The toolkit provides a means to evaluate construction which meet sustainability benchmarks based on life cycle costs, energy and sustainability metrics to demonstrate value for money. The toolkit promotes optimisation of cost and energy at all stages of the construction process (manufacturing, design, construction, maintenance and retrofit) for the ultimate benefit of the end user and more broadly for society. The research will directly benefit the UK government, local authorities, Housing Associations the construction industry and above all householders and their families. In addition to the direct implementation of the research into software for use on real projects it is very likely that the results of the research will also be useful to help develop government policy. In particular, UCL currently has a framework agreement with the Department of Communities and Local Government to undertake research to support the development of Part L of the Building Regulations. The incorporation of embodied and running cost energy will enable rapid sensitivity tests to be undertaken to help determine the appropriate levels of energy efficiencey for future Building Regulations (2013 and 2016).


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Description Two case studies carried out in the course of the development of the project have demonstrated that the Butterfly tool provides a robust and efficient means to compare differing constructions in the context of cost and carbon impacts over the life cycle. In terms of demonstrations the ability to provide a comparator demonstrating the impact of changes on component parts and the ability to provide a single value comparator have been acknowledged as a key USP.

A link with CAD/BIM interface (Bentley) directly to Butterfly Data and calculator which provided greater flexibility and accuracy on the calculation of quantities then required for the operational and embodied energy calculations.
Monetisation of carbon impact using carbon value data and calculations to give a single value comparator for end user ease of use and understanding.

Alignment of coding and calculations to emerging CEN TC 350 sustainability of buildings standards for environmental and economic sustainability thus ensuring the "future proofing" of the tool in respect of compliance requirements.
Exploitation Route The UCL Energy Institute has achieved the objectives set out by the project steering group. It has developed a SAP module, which calculates operational energy values, costs and carbon emissions for a given period for new and existing dwellings and adjusts in response to user inputs and modifications. This module has been integrated to the 'Butterfly' low carbon design and decision tool. Throughout this process we have gained valuable experience as well as a valued tool that can be utilised in the future, e.g. applied to other databases and locations.
Sectors Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description Two case studies carried out in the course of the development of the project have demonstrated that the Butterfly tool provides a robust and efficient means to compare differing constructions in the context of cost and carbon impacts over the life cycle. The original exploitation plan was predicated on demand being stimulated by a) UK commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission (80% by 2050) and b) the Great British Refurb. The Butterfly toolkit would provide a transparent and rigorous means to assess the life cycle costs associated with construction options for reduction in life cycle carbon emissions from both operational and embodied energy sources at any stage of the project life cycle. The initial target market is Registered Social Landlords and their professional advisors and construction companies. The exploitation plan is based on modules being made available for a licence fee.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services