Saturday, August 19, 2017
Sustainable Housing
As part of the PUrE Intrawise Project a study of the sustainability of current, refurbished and new eco homes from a life cycle perspective is being undertaken.

The environmental, economic and social impacts of construction, use and disposal are being considered.

 

Introduction

This research examines the sustainability of new and refurbished residential buildings in the United Kingdom from a life cycle perspective with the view identifying the major impacts during the life of domestic buildings.

The study will assess and compare the environmental, economic and social impacts of these houses and will determine how these differ with the type and origin of energy supplied.

The research will use Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). Social surveys will also be performed to determine people’s perceptions of thermal comfort, health concerns and building aesthetics.

This research will aide decision makers to take necessary actions in planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, demolishing and disposing of buildings and will help to move towards a more sustainable buildings and construction sector in the UK.

Methodology

The study is based around a number of case studies which included the modelling of:

  • A three bedroomed apartment
  • A refurbished Victorian terraced house
  • A recently built eco-house

Environmental, economic and social impacts that arise during the construction, operation and disposal phases of the building are determined as well as the amount of life cycle embodied and operational energy.

Figure 1 | Elevation of a house used within the study

Figure 2 | Example of houses used within the study

Initial Findings

Some of the initial findings of this project are summarised below.

Embodied and Operational Energy

When life cycle embodied and operational energy are compared for one of the studied buildings it can be observed that the provision of electricity during the operational phase far surpasses that of the embodied energy of the building’s various components (i.e. foundation, floors, walls, roof, ceiling and joinery) and systems (i.e. heating and ventilation).

Figure 3 | Example comparison between life cycle embodied and operational energy

Construction of Floors

An assessment of the environmental impacts generated during the construction of the floors of one of the studied buildings shows that "Material A" contributes most to global warming, eutrophication and human toxicity, both during the construction and disposal phases and, to acidification and photochemical ozone creation during the construction phase of the building.

Figure 4 | Environmental impacts generated by the materials used in the construction of floors

Further Information

For further information about this study please contact Dr. Yasantha Abeysundara U.G..

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Dr Martyn Jones

Telephone:
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Email:
info@pureintrawise.org