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Basic building life cycle calculations to decrease contribution to climate change: Case study on an office building in Sweden
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2949-422X
2011 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 46, no 10, 1863-1871 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examined whether simplified life cycle-based calculations of climate change contributions can provide better decision support for building design. Contributions to climate change from a newly built office building in Gavle, Sweden, were studied from a life cycle perspective as a basis for improvements. A basic climate and energy calculation tool for buildings developed in the European project ENSLIC was used. The study also examined the relative impacts from building material production and building operation, as well as the relative importance of the impact contributions from these two life cycle stages at various conditions. The ENSLIC tool calculates operational energy use and contributions to climate change of a number of optional improvement measures. Twelve relevant improvement measures were tested. The most important measures proved to be changing to CO2 free electricity, changing construction slabs from concrete to wood, using windows with better U-values, insulating the building better and installing low-energy lighting and white goods. Introduction of these measures was estimated to reduce the total contribution to climate change by nearly 50% compared with the original building and the operational energy use by nearly 20% (from 100 to 81 kWh/m(2) yr). Almost every building is unique and situated in a specific context. Making simple analyses of different construction options showed to be useful and gave some unexpected results which were difficult to foresee from a general design experience. This process acts as an introduction to life cycle thinking and highlights the consequence of different material choices

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 46, no 10, 1863-1871 p.
Keyword [en]
Building design, Climate change, CO(2) emissions, Life cycle tool, Energy use, Materials impact
National Category
Building Technologies Other Environmental Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-36877DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.02.003ISI: 000292223900001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79956355058OAI: diva2:431594
QC 20110721Available from: 2011-07-21 Created: 2011-07-18 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental Assessment Tools for Neighbourhoods and Buildings in relation to Environment, Architecture, and Architects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Assessment Tools for Neighbourhoods and Buildings in relation to Environment, Architecture, and Architects
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores Neighbourhood and Building Environmental Assessment Tools’ (NBEATs’) function as assessment tools and decision support, and their relation to environment, architecture and architects. This is done by analysing, testing, and discussing a number of NBEATs (LEED-NC, Code for Sustainable Homes, EcoEffect, LEED-ND, BREEAM-C, and ENSLIC-tool), their manuals and use. Moreover, professionals’ (architects’) self-rated opinions regarding use and knowledge of NBEATs and environmental aspects are surveyed.

Similarities and differences in NBEATs are found regarding: content, structure, weighting and indicators used. Indicators distinguished as procedure, performance and feature are used to varying extents to assess social, environmental and technical aspects. NBEATs relation to environmental sustainability has limitations due to: non-transparency, tradable indicators, relative measures, low criteria levels, limited life cycle perspective, and exclusion of relevant environmental aspects, such as embedded toxic substances, nutrient cycles, land use change, and ecosystem services. Ratings and architecture are influenced by NBEATs in varying ways. Higher criteria levels would probably increase their impact on architecture. Thus more research regarding NBEATs and links to architectural design, theory and practice is welcomed.

There is limited use of NBEATs as decision support in early design phases such as in architectural competitions. Architects rate the importance of environmental aspects high, but few rate their skill in handling environmental aspects high. This calls for increasing knowledge and know-how of environmental strategies and solutions among architects and adaptation of NBEATs to early design processes. The values NBEATs reflect and the values we want them to create is also important. To support ‘environmental’ architecture, an increased socio-eco-technological system perspective is put forward, and other measures besides NBEATs are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 112 p.
architects, architecture, buildings, environment, environmental assessment tools, environmental sustainability, neighbourhoods
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192939 (URN)978-91-7729-123-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-21, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)

QC 20160926

Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-23 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved

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