An assessment of the applicability of three international neighbourhood sustainability rating systems to diverse local conditions, with a focus on Nordic case areas

Eeva Säynäjoki, Riikka Kyrö, Jukka Heinonen, Seppo Junnila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

The increasing awareness of the urban environment’s contribution to climate change and other environmental problems has brought about a myriad of commercially available schemes that aim to mitigate detrimental impacts on the environment. These schemes, or rating tools, provide a convenient way to benchmark the eco-efficiency of buildings and, more recently, neighbourhood developments. Furthermore, acting beyond regulatory requirements has become a business strategy for many stakeholders within the construction industry. In general, these tools assess the eco-efficiency of neighbourhoods based on different criteria including urban density, connectivity, site ecology, energy efficiency and water management. The rating tools are often marketed globally. However, different regions of the world vary greatly in terms of climate, legislative, cultural, or ecological conditions, to name but a few examples. For the sake of consistency, factoring in regional variations when implementing the rating tools would be essential. In Finland, some of the criteria included in the tools are already accounted for at the regulatory level, and do not therefore lead to additional eco-efficiency. Meanwhile, other criteria may be impossible to meet due to local conditions. The purpose of this research is to pinpoint prospective issues in implementing international environmental sustainability rating systems in Finland in the context of new residential developments. The results of the study show that some of the mandatory requirements of the referenced international certifications may be unfeasible in Finland. In addition, it may not always be possible to meet some evaluation criteria due to local conditions and irrelevance to local environmental goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Civil Engineering

Keywords

  • BREEAM for Communities
  • CASBEE for Urban Development
  • LEED for Neighborhood Development
  • Local conditions
  • Neighbourhood eco-efficiency
  • Rating tools
  • Sustainable planning and development

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