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Life cycle assessment of carbon neutral buildings


As the need to adapt to climate change becomes more pressing, policy-makers, businesses and other stakeholders are looking for innovative approaches to mitigate the operational and embodied part of the greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Substitution of wood is potentially a solution to reduce the carbon impact. Some nuances in life cycle assessment (LCA) such as end-of-life scenarios, the influence of system size, and even the different methodological approaches must be evaluated in the full life cycle of the building. The objective is to evaluate scenarios and identify those that promote carbon storage in the perspective of the full life cycle of the building and zero emission building. The research questions will be to know under which conditions buildings are carbon neutral, if they fix carbon or if they emit carbon according to different assumptions and scenarios. 

To meet the objective, the student will first learn about the full life-cycle assessment, operational and embodied impacts, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The student will establish a review of the LCA methods identified for each of the buildings studied and perform a parametric analysis under end-of-life scenarios for each system. The student will test the methodologies to do the LCA and suggest improvements, according to the current IPCC recommendations. The student can investigate the impact of the system boundaries between the buildings and the forest activities. The analyses must allow for the traceability of biogenic carbon in wood products throughout their life cycle. Biogenic carbon traceability tools must be identified, including those connected to Building Information Modelling (BIM). Finally, the student will conduct real case LCA studies of buildings undergoing transformation.

The project is connected to the IEA EBC Annex 89: Ways to the implementation of whole life cycle base net zero greenhouse gas emission of buildings: Implementing net zero emission buildings. The PhD student will take part in the collaborative meeting and is expected to contribute to the group from the Canadian perspective. 

Required knowledge

- Knowledge of life cycle assessment of construction materials
- Interest in Building Information Modelling (BIM), traceability tools and developing a case study
- Ability to work independently and in diverse teams
- Ability to write and read in English, speaking in English and French is an asset 
- Motivation and interest to communicate on social media
- Full-time availability

The complete posting is available at this url :



Desired program of studies


Research domains

Sustainable Development, the Circular Economy and Environmental Issues, Infrastructure and the Built Environment, Innovative Materials and Advanced Manufacturing


The project is funded by a doctoral grant from the Mitacs Acceleration program.  Complementary funding is also available from other organizations in due course.

Additional information

Partner involved : Le groupe AGECO    

Starting: May 1st 2023 or September 23 2023