Sustainability Assessment

The main objective of this research project on sustainability assessment is to identify the opportunities that digital fabrication can provide for sustainable construction. These opportunities are identified by assessing different construction projects employing digital fabrication methods. Some of the assessed projects are at the scale of the lab prototypes while others are projects at the building scale. From all these case studies we identified general trends or fundamental processes involved. We use the Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) method (ISO 2006) in order to evaluate the environmental impact. In most projects, the focus is on the production phase, including data from the energy and resources demand to produce the materials and robotic infrastructure, energy demand during on-site construction and waste produced during production (EN 15978 modules: A1–A3, A5). The LCA method is applied to compare the difference in environmental impacts between digital fabrication and conventional construction and to understand for which type of projects digital fabrication brings environmental benefits. The social aspect is briefly questioned through a potential understanding of what could be the organisation structure of a construction project with the use of digital fabrication. The collaborative work in this project consists of studying construction projects developed within the NCCR Digital Fabrication for research development. The interdisciplinary character of the projects and the development of demonstrators (e.g. dfab house) facilitates the understanding of digital fabrication processes to perform the analysis of environmental and social aspects.

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

Main Collaborators: Isolda Agustí Juan

Extended Collaborators: Norman Hack, Dr. Timothy Wangler


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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