Sustainability Assessment

Our main objective is to identify opportunities and risks for sustainability derived from the implementation of digital fabrication techniques in construction. We identify these key sustainability criteria by assessing different digitally fabricated construction projects and comparing them with counterparts from conventional construction. The final goal of the project is to redirect the identified criteria into guidelines for the optimisation of digital fabrication during the design process.

We evaluated the environmental potentials and challenges of digital fabrication using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework (ISO 2006). The first analyses studied the production phase to understand which processes have higher impact. We extended the evaluation to the service life to study the environmental implications of multifunctional structures. Finally, we evaluated the end of life of digitally fabricated structures to study the risks of structures with hybrid materials. We also analysed the socio-economic potential of digital fabrication through a productivity evaluation. We used the CYCLONE simulation technique to conduct a quantitative comparison of time and costs between digital fabrication and conventional construction.

The collaborative aspect of this project is that we study construction projects developed within the NCCR Digital Fabrication. The interdisciplinary nature of the projects studying large-scale demonstrators such as those at DFAB HOUSE facilitates the understanding and analysis of environmental and socio-economic aspects of digital fabrication processes.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Guillaume HabertProf. Fabio GramazioProf. Matthias KohlerProf. Dr. Robert J. Flatt

Main Collaborators: Isolda Agustí Juan

Extended Collaborators: Andrei Jipa, Markus Giftthaler, Timothy Sandy, Norman Hack, Dr. Timothy Wangler

External Collaborators: Dr. Alexander Hollberg, Dr. Borja García de Soto


Agustí-Juan, Isolda, and Guillaume Habert. 2016. “Environmental Design Guidelines for Digital Fabrication.” Journal of Cleaner Production 142, 2780–91.

Agustí-Juan, Isolda, and Guillaume Habert. 2016. “An Environmental Perspective on Digital Fabrication in Architecture and Construction” In Proceedings of 21st International Conference of the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, CAADRIA 2016, 797–806. Melbourne, Australia.

Agustí-Juan, Isolda, and Guillaume Habert. 2016. “Environmental Implications and Opportunities of Digital Fabrication.” In Proceedings of Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Regional Conference. Zurich, Switzerland)

Agustí-Juan, Isolda, Sharon Zingg, and Guillaume Habert. Submitted. “End-of-Life Consideration for Hybrid Material Systems.” Accepted for the 14th International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components, Gent, Belgium, 29–31 May, 2017.

Agustí-Juan, Isolda, Florian Müller, Norman Hack, Timothy Wangler, and Guillaume Habert. “Potential Benefits of Digital Fabrication for Complex Structures: Environmental Assessment of a Robotically Fabricated Concrete Wall.” In Journal of Cleaner Production 154, 330-340.

Agustí-Juan, Isolda, and Guillaume Habert. 2015. “Environmental assessment of Digital Fabrication: contribution of IT design to the overall life cycle impacts.” CIB W78 Conference 2015,Eindhoven, Netherlands

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