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New Building Material Property Set for Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainability Calculations

Emoke Csikos


Building Life Cycle Assessment calculations require validated input


In previous Archicad versions, Building Material properties provided by Graphisoft as template content were outdated. Their source was not indicated so these values couldn’t be used for downstream building lifecycle calculations as validated input.

Updated Building Material property sets and values


Starting with version 26, Archicad provides up-to-date Building Material property sets and values for its out-of-the-box Building Materials, based on data published in the German ÖKOBAUDAT database.
Use these validated properties to document embedded energy and CO2 footprint data for building life cycle analysis and sustainability reports.


The new Building Material properties are in the Environmental Property Group:




Environmental building material property descriptions


Hover over the name of the property to read a description.

The last property in the group is the Data Source, which is a link that takes you to the page of the selected Building Material in the ÖKOBAUDAT database.




The table below contains the same descriptions of the properties:

Property name


Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Global Warming Potential: the insulating effect of greenhouse gases (GHG) - CO2 and methane - in the atmosphere preventing the earth losing heat gained from the sun. As global temperatures rise, it is expected to cause climatic disturbance, desertification, rising sea levels and the spread of disease.

Unit: kg CO2 eq.

Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)

Ozone Depletion Potential: depletion of the ozone layer (O3) in the atmosphere caused by the emission of chemical foaming and cleaning agents allows the passage of greater levels of UV from the sun, causing skin cancer, damage to the immune system, and reduction in crop yields.

Unit: kg R11 eq.

Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP)

Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential: Creation of ozone in the presence of sunlight, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. Ozone leads to chemical smog that affects human health, food crops, and the ecosystem in general. The effects vary according to geography and climate and are especially problematic in heavily urbanized areas with existing pollution.

Unit: kg Ethene eq.

Acidification Potential (AP)

Acidification Potential: emissions, such as Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from manufacturing processes, result in acid rain, which harms soil, water supplies, human and animal organisms, and the ecosystem.

Unit: kg SO2 eq.

Eutrophication Potential (EP)

Eutrophication Potential: increased concentrations of nitrates and phosphates can encourage excessive growth of algae and reduce oxygen levels. This increases mortality in aquatic fauna and flora, leads to loss of species dependent on low-nutrient environments, reduces biodiversity, and has knock-on effects on non-aquatic animals and humans.

Unit: kg Phosphate eq.

Abiotic Depletion Potential (for non-fossil resources) (ADPE)

Abiotic Depletion Potential for non-fossil resources: the over-extraction of minerals and other non-living, non-renewable materials that can lead to exhaustion of natural resources.

Unit: kg Sb eq.

Abiotic Depletion Potential (for fossil resources) (ADPF)

Abiotic Depletion Potential for fossil resources: The over-extraction of fossil fuels including all fossil resources.

Unit: MJ

Data source

Building life cycle assessment data sheet in the ÖKOBAUDAT database


These Building Material properties correspond with the EN 15804 sustainability standard, whose indicators are required in EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) for construction products.


What are Environmental Product Declarations and Life Cycle Assessments?


Every product has its own life cycle. Careful assessment of the life cycle can tell you a lot about the product’s impact on the environment. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) looks at all stages of a product’s life: raw material extraction and processing, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, use, repair and maintenance, disposal, or recycling.
EPDs are a form of life cycle assessment and are the standard way of quantifying the impact of a product or system on the environment.

Benefits of an Environmental Product Declaration


Clients, developers, and designers use EPDs and LCAs to select products that have the lowest impact on the environment. An architect who understands the entire life cycle of building materials can help create a more sustainable building industry.


Relying on the environmental Building Material properties helps architects select materials for their projects that have a lower impact on the environment.

Reliable embedded energy and CO2 footprint data


Archicad users receive validated and reliable embedded energy and CO2 footprint data for Building Materials and can use it confidently for building life cycle analysis and sustainability reports.


Learn about all the new collaboration features of Archicad 26:


To learn more about all the new features of Archicad 26, read this article.



So when you upgrade a file from 25 to 26 do you have to go through and replace like with like building materials in the attribute manager or will the existing building materials have extra data sets added to them and you will have to copy paste the data?  Or is Graphisoft going to help write some python scripts to automatically update the additional data to existing building materials?  It is nice that you are adding this data classes and the data but we have been calling for a complete overhaul of the attribute manager to allow for better data management and this update just proves why it more important than ever for the attribute manager updates to be fast-tracked.  Talk in the community is that the update to the attribute manager will be done over three releases.  That means each year we will be forced into some downtime to update existing projects to ensure data compliance.  This is not only necessary for the actual building materials or what ever the next part that will be released but for all favourites that have been created any associated properties, any python scripts that have been written and any library objects that have been created.  That is a lot of reworking of existing files that will be still in production each time a version rolls over.  Please, please rethink this slow roll-out of the attribute manager.


Really great update! Have you considered adding the units within the properties so that it would be possible to do a life cycle assessment directly from a 3D-model? 

I guess you can map the life cycle data to a property or use the life cycle data directly either in the functions window to do calculations or in the python script editor to do the same.  In a similar way to producing cost estimates you need to understand the recipe or formula to generate the desired result.  The rest is just programming.

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