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Buildings 2015, 5(2), 424-448; doi:10.3390/buildings5020424

Towards a More Sustainable Building Stock: Optimizing a Flemish Dwelling Using a Life Cycle Approach

1
Energy and Materials in Infrastructure and Buildings (EMIB), Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, Rodestraat 4, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
2
Department Engineering Management, Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
3
Unit Smart Energy and Built Environment, Flemish Institute for Technical Research (VITO), Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Elma Durmisevic
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 28 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Abstract

Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on developing scenarios to improve the environmental profile of new buildings in the Flemish/Belgian context. The study takes into account current energy regulation and investigates the influence of energy scenarios and building type on the environmental profile. A life cycle energy assessment (LCEA) and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) were carried out for all scenarios, supplemented by a screening life cycle costing (LCC). The results indicate the importance of the compactness of a building, with the best results identified for the terraced scenario. The results are due to the reduced use of materials and, to a smaller extent, a reduction in energy consumption (smaller exposed surface). The results of the energy scenarios show a discrepancy between the LCEA and LCIA. According to the LCEA, passive scenarios are always preferable, but the LCIA results suggest two ways to reach a similar environmental profile. Firstly, by providing a level of insulation based on current regulations complemented with advanced technical services, and, alternatively, by increasing the level of insulation along with standard services. The results of the LCC show a similar trend to those of the LCIA. The results therefore suggest that there are multiple ways to improve the environmental profile of new buildings. Nevertheless, the choice of impact assessment method can have a strong influence on the results. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment; life cycle energy assessment; life cycle economic performance; environmental profile; optimization life cycle assessment; life cycle energy assessment; life cycle economic performance; environmental profile; optimization
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

Buyle, M.; Audenaert, A.; Braet, J.; Debacker, W. Towards a More Sustainable Building Stock: Optimizing a Flemish Dwelling Using a Life Cycle Approach. Buildings 2015, 5, 424-448.

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