Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

embodied energy Related Abstracts

8 Embodied Energy in Concrete and Structural Masonry on Typical Brazilian Buildings

Authors: Marco A. S. González, Marlova P. Kulakowski, Luciano G. Breitenbach, Felipe Kirch


The AEC sector has an expressive environmental responsibility. Actually, most building materials have severe environmental impacts along their production cycle. Professionals enrolled in building design may choice the materials and techniques with less impact among the viable options. This work presents a study about embodied energy in materials of two typical Brazilian constructive alternatives. The construction options considered are reinforced concrete structure and structural masonry. The study was developed for the region of São Leopoldo, southern Brazil. Results indicated that the energy embodied in these two constructive systems is approximately 1.72 GJ•m-2 and 1.26 GJ•m-2, respectively. It may be concluded that the embodied energy is lower in the structural masonry system, with a reduction around to 1/4 in relation to the traditional option. The results can be used to help design decisions.

Keywords: Sustainability, civil construction, embodied energy, Brazil

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7 Impact of Design Choices on the Life Cycle Energy of Modern Buildings

Authors: Mahsa Karimpour, Martin Belusko, Frank Bruno, Ke Xing


Traditionally the embodied energy of design choices which reduce operational energy were assumed to have a negligible impact on the life cycle energy of buildings. However with new buildings having considerably lower operational energy, the significance of embodied energy increases. A life cycle assessment of a population of house designs was conducted in a mild and mixed climate zone. It was determined not only that embodied energy dominates life cycle energy, but that the impact on embodied of design choices was of equal significance to the impact on operational energy.

Keywords: embodied energy, building life cycle energy, energy design measures, low energy buildings

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6 Climate Change Impact Due to Timber Product Imports in the UK

Authors: Juan A. Ferriz-Papi, Allan L. Nantel, Talib E. Butt


Buildings are thought to consume about 50% of the total energy in the UK. The use stage in a building life cycle has the largest energy consumption, although different assessments are showing that the construction can equal several years of maintenance and operations. The selection of materials with lower embodied energy is very important to reduce this consumption. For this reason, timber is one adequate material due to its low embodied energy and the capacity to be used as carbon storage. The use of timber in the construction industry is very significant. Sawn wood, for example, is one of the top 5 construction materials consumed in the UK according to National Statistics. Embodied energy for building products considers the energy consumed in extraction and production stages. However, it is not the same consideration if this product is produced locally as when considering the resource produced further afield. Transport is a very relevant matter that profoundly influences in the results of embodied energy. The case of timber use in the UK is important because the balance between imports and exports is far negative, industry consuming more imported timber than produced. Nearly 80% of sawn softwood used in construction is imported. The imports-exports deficit for sawn wood accounted for more than 180 million pounds during the first four-month period of 2016. More than 85% of these imports come from Europe (83% from the EU). The aim of this study is to analyze climate change impact due to transport for timber products consumed in the UK. An approximate estimation of energy consumed and carbon emissions are calculated considering the timber product’s import origin. The results are compared to the total consumption of each product, estimating the impact of transport on the final embodied energy and carbon emissions. The analysis of these results can help deduce that one big challenge for climate change is the reduction of external dependency, with the associated improvement of internal production of timber products. A study of different types of timber products produced in the UK and abroad is developed to understand the possibilities for this country to improve sustainability and self-management. Reuse and recycle possibilities are also considered.

Keywords: Climate Change, Transport, Timber, Co2 Emissions, embodied energy

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5 Adaptable Buildings for More Sustainable Housing: Energy Life Cycle Analysis

Authors: Rafael Santos Fischer, Aloísio Leoni Schmid, Amanda Dalla-Bonna


The life cycle analysis and the energy life cycle analysis are useful design support tools when sustainability becomes imperative. The final phase of buildings life cycle is probably the least known, on which less knowledge is available. In the Brazilian building industry, the lifespan of a building design rarely is treated as a definite design parameter. There is rather a common sense attitude to take any building demands as permanent, and to take for granted that buildings solutions are durable and solid. Housing, being a permanent issue in any society, presents a real challenge to the choice of a design lifespan. In Brazilian history, there was a contrast of the native solutions of collective, non-durable houses built by several nomadic tribes, and the stone and masonry buildings introduced by the sedentary Portuguese conquerors. Durable buildings are commonly associated with welfare. However, social dynamics makes traditional families of both parents and children be just one of several possible arrangements. In addition, a more liberal attitude towards family leads to an increase in the number of people living in alternative arrangements. Japan is an example of country where houses have been made intentionally ephemeral since the half of 20th century. The present article presents the development of a flexible housing design solution on the basis of the Design Science Research approach. A comparison in terms of energy life cycle shows how flexibility and dematerialization may point at a feasible future for housing policies in Brazil.

Keywords: Adaptability, Social Housing, embodied energy, adaptable building, life cyclce analysis

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4 The Eco-Efficient Construction: A Review of Embodied Energy in Building Materials

Authors: Francesca Scalisi, Cesare Sposito


The building construction industry consumes a large amount of resources and energy, both during construction (embodied energy) and during the operational phase (operating energy). This paper presents a review of the literature on low carbon and low embodied energy materials in buildings. The embodied energy comprises the energy consumed during the extraction, processing, transportation, construction, and demolition of building materials. While designing a nearly zero energy building, it is necessary to choose and use materials, components, and technologies that allow to reduce the consumption of energy and also to reduce the emissions in the atmosphere during all the Life Cycle Assessment phases. The appropriate choice of building materials can contribute decisively to reduce the energy consumption of the building sector. The increasing worries for the environmental impact of construction materials are witnessed by a lot of studies. The mentioned worries have brought again the attention towards natural materials. The use of more sustainable construction materials and construction techniques represent a major contribution to the eco-efficiency of the construction industry and thus to a more sustainable development.

Keywords: Architecture, Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment, embodied energy, embodied carbon, material construction

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3 Urban Rehabilitation Assessment: Buildings' Integrity and Embodied Energy

Authors: Joana Mourão


Transition to a low carbon economy requires changes in consumption and production patterns, including the improvement of existing buildings’ environmental performance. Urban rehabilitation is a top policy priority in Europe, creating an opportunity to increase this performance. However, urban rehabilitation comprises different typologies of interventions with distinct levels of consideration for cultural urban heritage values and for environmental values, thus with different impacts. Cities rely on both material and non-material forms of heritage that are deep-rooted and resilient. One of the most relevant parts of that urban heritage is the historical pre-industrial housing stock, with an extensive presence in many European cities, as Lisbon. This stock is rehabilitated and transformed at the framework of urban management and local governance traditions, as well as the framework of the global economy, and in that context, faces opportunities and threats that need evaluation and control. The scope of this article is to define methodological bases and research lines for the assessment of impacts that urban rehabilitation initiatives set on the vulnerable and historical pre-industrial urban housing stock, considering it as an environmental and cultural unreplaceable material value and resource. As a framework, this article reviews the concepts of urban regeneration, urban renewal, current buildings conservation and refurbishment, and energy refurbishment of buildings, seeking to define key typologies of urban rehabilitation that represent different approaches to the urban fabric, in terms of scope, actors, and priorities. Moreover, main types of interventions - basing on a case-study in a XVIII century neighborhood in Lisbon - are defined and analyzed in terms of the elements lost in each type of intervention, and relating those to urbanistic, architectonic and constructive values of urban heritage, as well as to environmental and energy efficiency. Further, the article overviews environmental cultural heritage assessment and life-cycle assessment tools, selecting relevant and feasible impact assessment criteria for urban buildings rehabilitation regulation, focusing on multi-level urban heritage integrity. Urbanistic, architectonic, constructive and energetic integrity are studied as criteria for impact assessment and specific indicators are proposed. The role of these criteria in sustainable urban management is discussed. Throughout this article, the key challenges for urban rehabilitation planning and management, concerning urban built heritage as a resource for sustainability, are discussed and clarified.

Keywords: embodied energy, urban rehabilitation, impact assessment criteria, buildings integrity

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2 An Approach towards Designing an Energy Efficient Building through Embodied Energy Assessment: A Case of Apartment Building in Composite Climate

Authors: Ambalika Ekka


In today’s world, the growing demand for urban built forms has resulted in the production and consumption of building materials i.e. embodied energy in building construction, leading to pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Therefore, new buildings will offer a unique opportunity to implement more energy efficient building without compromising on building performance of the building. Embodied energy of building materials forms major contribution to embodied energy in buildings. The paper results in an approach towards designing an energy efficient apartment building through embodied energy assessment. This paper discusses the trend of residential development in Rourkela, which includes three case studies of the contemporary houses, followed by architectural elements, number of storeys, predominant material use and plot sizes using primary data. It results in identification of predominant material used and other characteristics in urban area. Further, the embodied energy coefficients of various dominant building materials and alternative materials manufactured in Indian Industry is taken in consideration from secondary source i.e. literature study. The paper analyses the embodied energy by estimating materials and operational energy of proposed building followed by altering the specifications of the materials based on the building components i.e. walls, flooring, windows, insulation and roof through res build India software and comparison of different options is assessed with consideration of sustainable parameters. This paper results that autoclaved aerated concrete block only reaches the energy performance Index benchmark i.e. 69.35 kWh/m2 yr i.e. by saving 4% of operational energy and as embodied energy has no particular index, out of all materials it has the highest EE 23206202.43  MJ.

Keywords: Building materials, Energy Efficient, embodied energy, EPI

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1 Multi-Objective Discrete Optimization of External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems in Terms of Thermal and Embodied Energy Performance

Authors: Berfin Yildiz


These days, increasing global warming effects, limited amount of energy resources, etc., necessitates the awareness that must be present in every profession group. The architecture and construction sectors are responsible for both the embodied and operational energy of the materials. This responsibility has led designers to seek alternative solutions for energy-efficient material selection. The choice of energy-efficient material requires consideration of the entire life cycle, including the building's production, use, and disposal energy. The aim of this study is to investigate the method of material selection of external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS). Embodied and in-use energy values of material alternatives were used for the evaluation in this study. The operational energy is calculated according to the u-value calculation method defined in the TS 825 (Thermal Insulation Requirements) standard for Turkey, and the embodied energy is calculated based on the manufacturer's Energy Performance Declaration (EPD). ETICS consists of a wall, adhesive, insulation, lining, mechanical, mesh, and exterior finishing materials. In this study, lining, mechanical, and mesh materials were ignored because EPD documents could not be obtained. The material selection problem is designed as a hypothetical volume area (5x5x3m) and defined as a multi-objective discrete optimization problem for external thermal insulation composite systems. Defining the problem as a discrete optimization problem is important in order to choose between materials of various thicknesses and sizes. Since production and use energy values, which are determined as optimization objectives in the study, are often conflicting values, material selection is defined as a multi-objective optimization problem, and it is aimed to obtain many solution alternatives by using Hypervolume (HypE) algorithm. The enrollment process started with 100 individuals and continued for 50 generations. According to the obtained results, it was observed that autoclaved aerated concrete and Ponce block as wall material, glass wool, as insulation material gave better results.

Keywords: Thermal Insulation, embodied energy, multi-objective discrete optimization, performative design

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