Simple Header

Frequently asked questions about IMPACT

Page Description

Answering FAQs about IMPACT, which allows construction professionals to perform cutting-edge whole building environmental assessments.

Asset Publisher

There are many uses for IMPACT, including:

  • Potential for achieving credits in BREEAM and other schemes

  • Working towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability requirements,

  • Full life-cycle assessment of buildings

  • Calculating carbon footprints

  • Demonstrating value for money

  • Comparing design options

  • Research

The four IMPACT partners own different aspects of IMPACT depending on their involvement in the project.

You can get this product from an IMPACT compliant software developer.

IMPACT is designed to perform cutting-edge whole building environmental assessment anywhere in the world. To enable this, IMPACT-compliant tools are able to work with different IMPACT-compatible life cycle assessment (LCA) datasets, according to the location of the construction project.

When selecting a dataset, BRE advises users to carefully consider the following data quality factors:

  • The environmental indicators available

  • The life stages available

  • Geographic origin

  • The methodology used  and compliance with industry-wide LCA standards

  • Age of the data

  • The level of verification of the data.

At launch, BRE has produced a UK dataset based on UK Trade Association data, the popular Ecoinvent database and a UK energy mix.

While some material production is globalised and is widely applicable, consideration should be given to materials produced on a local basis if the UK dataset is applied in other regions. For these materials the applicability of UK data should be examined and its use highlighted in any results, particularly if they account for a significant weight/mass of the building.

BRE continues to work towards developing high-quality localised datasets through collaboration with other LCA data providers and through the adaption (local compensation) of its high quality UK data. BRE welcome opportunities to assist IMPACT users in selecting the best available data for their projects.

The cost of IMPACT varies according to the specific tool and can be obtained from the respective software developer directly.

IMPACT is a method and dataset that works within 3D computer aided design (CAD) and building information modelling (BIM) tools to report on environmental impacts and life cycle costing.

The time taken to carry out an IMPACT assessment depends on many factors, including the stage, size and complexity of the project, how much information already exists and what outputs the user requires. A guiding principle is that IMPACT tools should be interoperable so that the information in the BIM required by IMPACT comes from or is re-used for other common design workflow tasks like specification, drafting, scheduling and cost control.

IMPACT-compliant tools have the functional capability to assess building services. However, due to a lack of robust and comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) data on building services components, building services are not currently included in the scope of the BRE IMPACT LCA datasets.

Although some manufacturer specific and generic data exists, insufficient data exists to enable all of the components in various complete systems to be assessed. As such, comparisons between systems at the building-level are likely to be flawed.

Attempts to assess building services by estimating the quantity of the principle raw materials that make up the components, like steel or plastics, are common but not considered robust by BRE. This approach is likely to underestimate embodied impacts because only the raw material production related environmental impacts are taken into account. Substantial amounts of process impacts – from manufacturing these highly engineered products – will be missed.

Once BRE has robust building services LCA data that is comprehensive enough to model the most common systems, it will add it to the BRE IMPACT LCA datasets. BRE is working towards this goal and considers it a priority.

For the avoidance of doubt, building services can be included in life cycle costing in IMPACT-compliant tools. The WD IMPACT cost datasets include building services cost data.