To foster sustainable development, the environmental impacts of the construction sector need to be reduced substantially. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the established methodology for the quantification of environmental impacts, and therefore has been increasingly applied to assess the environmental performance of buildings. By coupling LCAs with digital design tools, e.g., building information modeling (BIM), the identification of environmental hotspots and their mitigation is possible during the design process. The objective of the study is to identify the current integration approaches, and determine the pros and cons of the integration process from different viewpoints, namely, technical, informational, organizational and functional issues. Therefore, a comprehensive systematic literature review (SLR) was performed. We identified 60 relevant BIM-LCA case studies and analyzed the applied BIM-LCA workflows in detail. A total of 16 of the reviewed studies applied LCA during the early design stage. These studies used a manual or semiautomatic data exchange between the BIM models and LCA tools. In most cases, contemporary BIM-LCA workflows utilized conventional spreadsheets (e.g., Excel sheets in 16 cases). However, the analysis shows that an automated link between LCA and BIM can be achieved when overcoming the technical, organizational and informational issues discussed in the paper. This could enable the streamlining of LCA applications in design practice, and thus support the necessary improvements in the environmental performance of buildings.
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