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A Materials Life Cycle Assessment of a Net-Zero Energy Building
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 949 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261,USA
School of Sustainability and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 875306, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 205 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261,USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 153 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, University of Pittsburgh, 153 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2012; in revised form: 15 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2013 / Published: 21 February 2013
Abstract: 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
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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.
Thiel CL, Campion N, Landis AE, Jones AK, Schaefer LA, Bilec MM. A Materials Life Cycle Assessment of a Net-Zero Energy Building. Energies. 2013; 6(2):1125-1141.
Thiel, Cassandra L.; Campion, Nicole; Landis, Amy E.; Jones, Alex K.; Schaefer, Laura A.; Bilec, Melissa M. 2013. "A Materials Life Cycle Assessment of a Net-Zero Energy Building." Energies 6, no. 2: 1125-1141.