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Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8592-8603; doi:10.3390/su6128592

Integrated Life Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Exterior Wall Systems for Residential Buildings

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
2
Stantec Consulting Inc., 500 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801, USA
3
Institute for Building and Urban Design, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 November 2014 / Published: 27 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Abstract

This paper investigates the breakdown of primary energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of two common types of exterior walls in the U.K.: insulated concrete form (ICF) and cavity walls. A comprehensive assessment was conducted to evaluate the environmental performance of each exterior wall system over 50 years of service life in Edinburgh and Bristol. The results indicate that for both wall systems, use phase is the major contributor to the overall environmental impacts, mainly due to associated electricity consumption. For the ICF wall system in Edinburgh, 91% of GHG emissions were attributed to the use phase, with 7.8% in the pre-use and 1.2% in end-of-life phases. For the same system in Bristol, emissions were 89%, 9% and 2%, respectively. A similar trend was observed for cavity wall systems in both locations. It was concluded that in each scenario, the ICF wall system performed better when compared to the cavity wall system. The results of the sensitivity analysis clearly show that the uncertainties relevant to the change of the thickness of the wall are quite tolerable: variable up to 5%, as far as energy and greenhouse emissions are concerned. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment (LCA); exterior wall system; building envelope; primary energy; greenhouse gas (GHG); residential building life cycle assessment (LCA); exterior wall system; building envelope; primary energy; greenhouse gas (GHG); residential building
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Broun, R.; Babaizadeh, H.; Zakersalehi, A.; Menzies, G.F. Integrated Life Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Exterior Wall Systems for Residential Buildings. Sustainability 2014, 6, 8592-8603.

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