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Sustainability Assessment Framework for Buildings: A User Perspective


Sustainability Assessment Framework for Buildings: A User Perspective

Alfalah, Ghasan (2018) Sustainability Assessment Framework for Buildings: A User Perspective. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the building sector accounts for 32% of global energy consumption, 19% of energy-related CO₂ emissions and 51% of global electricity consumption. Moreover, numerous studies have highlighted that the operational phase is considered to be the most crucial stage in a building’s lifecycle, accounting for 70-90% of a building’s overall impact on the environment. However, over the past few decades, practitioners and researchers have worked together to develop frameworks that enhance and evaluate the sustainability of buildings using different measures and technologies. The majority of these frameworks address sustainability from economic and organizational perspectives. However, considerably less work has focused on assessing and enhancing the sustainability of buildings from the user’s perspective.
The present research aims to develop a new and comprehensive framework that assists users in assessing and updating sustainability from a user’s perspective. The developed methodology consists of four levels: 1) Identify and study the factors that contribute to building sustainability from users’/occupants’ perspectives; 2) Develop a user-based framework to assess and enhance the sustainability of existing buildings; 3) Develop a framework to upgrade conventional buildings into sustainable ones, based on the user’s perspective; and 4) Develop a User-based Sustainability Assessment and Upgrading Tool (USAUT) to assess and enhance the user’s perspective in existing buildings. The research utilized two modeling techniques: Fuzzy Expert Systems and a fuzzy ANP model to determine the overall user perspective scale (OSS) and the weight of each factor and sub-factor. In addition, the Pugh Matrix is utilized and integrated with Genetic Algorithm GA optimization to determine several optimal or near optimal alternatives.
The user’s perspective assessment model was implemented with an actual education building case study in Montreal, Canada (the E.V. building at Concordia University). Collecting data such as the dissatisfaction level based on the users’ perspective, the weight of each factor, sub-factor and on user’s opinions was a crucial step. This was accomplished by utilizing questionnaires and interviews with (100 facility managers (FM) and building experts and 40 users) at Concordia University and its users, while observing the guidelines of Concordia University’s ethics protocols.
Based on the information in the FM’s and building expert’s questionnaires, the OSS differs based on a 5-point Likert scale as trapezoidal fuzzy numbers (TFN) according to each type of building (Industrial, Commercial, Education, and Residential). Within the Education buildings that are represented with the E.V. building as a case study, the research revealed the difference between the user’s perspective weights for the main user’s perspective factors (Thermal comfort and air quality, Aesthetics, Design and flexibility, and Lighting and acoustics). For example, the highest weights among the main four factors were Thermal comfort with 40% and Aesthetics with 22%. In addition, the E.V. building’s users’ s opinions revealed that the E.V. building rates a score of 5.7 as a building sustainability BS, which means that the E.V. building was located in the U zone when the researchers compared it with the OSS, and thus required an immediate user’s perspective upgrade. The factors that do not meet the user’s perspective based on OSS are thermal comfort and lightening and acoustics. To propose options to upgrade these aspects, the users’ perspective upgrade model used three different scenarios (Optimistic, Pessimistic and Average). The model illustrated that the optimal scenario is the optimistic scenario with $180000 and 15000 Hr and which improved the BS from 5.7 to 7 out of 10.
The main contribution of the present research can be presented in two main points: 1) it determines the current users’ perspective of four types of buildings and highlights the weak areas that require more attention from the users’ perspective, and 2) it proposes various rehabilitation alternatives that upgrade the users’ perspective in sustainable buildings as a step towards establishing a comprehensive global sustainability assessment framework for buildings from the user’s perspective.

Divisions:Concordia University > Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science > Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Alfalah, Ghasan
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Building Engineering
Date:27 June 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Haghighat, F. and Zayed, T.
Keywords:Facility Managment, Users Perspective, Sustainable Buildings
ID Code:984390
Deposited On:31 Oct 2018 17:45
Last Modified:01 Sep 2020 00:00


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