RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
An Approach for Calculating the Environmental External Costs of the Belgian Building Sector
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2012
© 2012 by Yale University
Journal of Industrial Ecology
Volume 16, Issue 5, pages 710–721, October 2012
How to Cite
Allacker, K. and De Nocker, L. (2012), An Approach for Calculating the Environmental External Costs of the Belgian Building Sector. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 16: 710–721. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2011.00456.x
- Issue published online: 3 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2012
- damage function;
- industrial ecology;
- life cycle assessment (LCA);
- marginal abatement cost;
This article describes an approach developed to estimate the environmental external costs of the Belgian building sector. Several existing methods and related data sets for determining the monetary value of environmental impacts were reviewed and compared in light of their relevance to an impact assessment of the construction sector. This study concludes that the methods available consider different impacts and differ substantially in monetary values for identical impacts. A harmonized and transparent method is recommended to improve the feasibility and acceptance of internalizing external costs; agreement on the impacts to be assessed and their external costs based on current insights is important. Here, a new method is proposed for a life cycle impact assessment-based valuation of environmental external costs for application to the Belgian building sector. To enable a comprehensive assessment, it became clear that solely considering “key” pollutants is insufficient.
Although this article focuses on the development and not on the implementation of the method proposed, implementation revealed that the life cycle environmental external cost of new buildings (meeting current insulation standards or better) is relatively small compared to the life cycle financial cost.