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Energies 2013, 6(2), 1125-1141; doi:10.3390/en6021125

A Materials Life Cycle Assessment of a Net-Zero Energy Building

Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 15 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2013 / Published: 21 February 2013
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This study analyzed the environmental impacts of the materials phase of a net-zero energy building. The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is a three-story, 24,350 square foot educational, research, and administrative office in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. This net-zero energy building is designed to meet Living Building Challenge criteria. The largest environmental impacts from the production of building materials is from concrete, structural steel, photovoltaic (PV) panels, inverters, and gravel. Comparing the LCA results of the CSL to standard commercial structures reveals a 10% larger global warming potential and a nearly equal embodied energy per square feet, largely due to the CSL’s PV system. As a net-zero energy building, the environmental impacts associated with the use phase are expected to be very low relative to standard structures. Future studies will incorporate the construction and use phases of the CSL for a more comprehensive life cycle perspective.
Keywords: green buildings; life cycle assessment; living building challenge green buildings; life cycle assessment; living building challenge
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Thiel, C.L.; Campion, N.; Landis, A.E.; Jones, A.K.; Schaefer, L.A.; Bilec, M.M. A Materials Life Cycle Assessment of a Net-Zero Energy Building. Energies 2013, 6, 1125-1141.

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