Building life cycle assessment is getting more and more attention within the topic of environmental impact caused by the built environment. Although more and more research focus on the embodied impact of buildings, the investigation of the operational energy use still needs attention. The majority of the building stock still does not comply with the nearly zero energy requirements. Also, in case of retrofitting, when most of the embodied impact is already spent on the existing structures (and so immutable), the importance of the operational energy rises. There are several methods to calculate the energy performance of buildings covering the range from simplified seasonal methods to detailed hourly energy simulations. Not only the accuracy of the calculations, but the computational time can be significantly different within the methods. The latter is especially important in case of optimization, when there is limited time to perform one calculation. Our research shows that the use of different calculation techniques can lead to different optima for environmental impacts in case of retrofitting. In this paper we compare these calculation methods with focus on computational time, accuracy and applicability to environmental optimization of buildings. We present the results in a case study of the retrofitting of a middle-sized apartment house in Hungary.
The degree of soil pollutants in the Dunaújváros area has been monitored regularly at 10 sampling points of the town from the upper 0–20 cm and lower 20–40 cm layers of the soils. The quantity of some organic (PAH, TPH) and inorganic (toxic metal) pollutants were determined by GC-MS and ICP analyzation. Microbial status, such as the total cultivable bacteria (CFU) and total catabolic enzyme activity, measured by fluorescein diacetate analysis (FDA) were also estimated. The area of the industrial town could be divided into more and less contaminated regions, although the measured pollutants were far below the estimated permissible limits. However, at some of the more polluted soils even triple amounts of contaminants could be measured compared to the lesscontaminated sites. Among inorganics the Zn microelement reached the highest levels (average is about 100 mg·kg−1 soil), which could be related to the heavy industrial activity. A positive correlation appeared among the organic and inorganic pollutants and also between the pollutants and the measured enzymatic values. The enhanced FDA activity was found at the most contaminated sites preceding the potential “loss of function” on a long-term basis. The fast and reliable microbial parameter could be suggested as further regular monitoring tool.