Advancing Life Cycle Assessment of Building Energy: Exploring Policy Contexts, Whole-Life Carbon Thinking, and Net-Zero Carbon Strategies

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 2091

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Energy, Forest, and Built Environment, Dalarna University, 781 70 Borlänge, Sweden
Interests: life cycle assessment in MEP system; future climate adaptation; building integrated solar technology implementation; health indoor environment study and dynamic building performance simulation

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Guest Editor
Building Technology, Dalarna University, 791 88 Falun, Sweden
Interests: building heating systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systematic methodology that enables the evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the entire life cycle of a building, from construction and operation to eventual demolition or reuse. Understanding and optimizing the energy consumption and associated environmental burdens of buildings is crucial to achieving sustainability goals and minimizing the overall carbon footprint of the built environment. The advancement of LCA has garnered significant attention in the realm of selecting architectural building materials. It is currently in an initial stage for building service system. We want to comprehensively determine the precise proportion of embodied carbon emissions that can be attributed to the building service systems utilized in construction projects.

This Special Issue tries to focus on the multifaceted aspects of LCA in relation to building energy systems. It delves into three crucial dimensions: policy contexts, whole-life carbon thinking, and net-zero embodied and operational carbon strategies. The issue seeks to contribute to the ongoing efforts of the building industry to achieve sustainability and reduce environmental impacts.

1) Policy Contexts:

The Special Issue begins by examining the policy contexts that shape the landscape of building energy. It explores the influence of building regulations, emphasizing the need for stringent energy efficiency standards and performance metrics. Additionally, it addresses the role of waste and circularity policies, highlighting the importance of reducing construction and operational waste, as well as promoting circular economy practices. The issue also delves into sustainable procurement policies, emphasizing the significance of considering environmental impacts throughout the supply chain. Lastly, sustainable finance policies are discussed, emphasizing the integration of sustainability criteria in investment decisions and the support for low-carbon building initiatives.

2) Whole-Life Carbon Thinking:

The Special Issue underscores the adoption of a whole-life carbon thinking approach that integrates circularity principles into building energy assessment. It recognizes that circularity plays a vital role in reducing environmental impacts and maximizing resource efficiency. The issue presents various strategies to incorporate circularity within building service systems in terms of  repairs, upgrading and renovation, re-use, face-lifts and design for disassembly, etc.

3) Net-Zero Embodied Carbon and Net-Zero Operational Carbon:

Another key focus of this Special Issue revolves around net-zero carbon strategies. It explores the concept of net-zero embodied carbon, which involves reducing and offsetting the carbon emissions associated with building service product selection and installation processes.

Furthermore, net-zero operational carbon emphasizes the importance of reducing carbon emissions during the operational phase of a building service system. This Special Issue presents studies and approaches that facilitate the integration of renewable energy systems, energy-efficient technologies, and smart building management systems to achieve net-zero operational carbon.

Overall, this Special Issue of Buildings aims to provide a comprehensive exploration of the Life Cycle Assessment of building energy, addressing policy contexts, whole-life carbon thinking, and net-zero carbon strategies. The insights and findings presented in this issue aim to contribute to the knowledge base and foster sustainable practices within the building industry, ultimately advancing the transition towards a low-carbon future.

Dr. Jingchun Shen
Dr. Jonn Are Myhren
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • regulatory and policy context
  • building service system
  • building energy
  • HVAC
  • renewable energy
  • sustainability
  • environmental impact
  • embodied carbon
  • carbon footprint
  • upfront carbon
  • operational carbon
  • whole Life carbon
  • carbon designer
  • circularity
  • sustainable procurement
  • sustainable finance
  • sustainable construction
  • carbon risk monitoring
  • digitalization
  • digital renovation
  • design for disassembly
  • climate change mitigation
  • climate change adaptation
  • product life-cycle management

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 3075 KiB  
Article
Greenhouse Gas Payback Time of Different HVAC Systems in the Renovation of Nordic District-Heated Multifamily Buildings Considering Future Energy Production Scenarios
by Alaa Khadra, Jan Akander and Jonn Are Myhren
Buildings 2024, 14(2), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14020413 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 633
Abstract
The European Union (EU) has implemented several policies to enhance energy efficiency. Among these policies is the objective of achieving energy-efficient renovations in at least 3% of EU buildings annually. The primary aim of this study was to offer a precise environmental comparison [...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) has implemented several policies to enhance energy efficiency. Among these policies is the objective of achieving energy-efficient renovations in at least 3% of EU buildings annually. The primary aim of this study was to offer a precise environmental comparison among four similar district-heated multifamily buildings that have undergone identical energy efficiency measures. The key distinguishing factor among them lies in the HVAC systems installed. The chosen systems were as follows: (1) exhaust ventilation with air pressure control; (2) mechanical ventilation with heat recovery; (3) exhaust ventilation with an exhaust air heat pump; and (4) exhaust ventilation with an exhaust air heat pump with a Photovoltaic (PV) panel. This study involved a life cycle assessment that relied on actual material data from the housing company and energy consumption measurements. This study covered a period of 50 years for thorough analysis. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted to account for various future scenarios of energy production. The findings revealed that the building with an exhaust air heat pump exhibited the lowest greenhouse gas emissions and the shortest carbon payback period (GBPT), needing only around 7 years. In contrast, the building with exhaust ventilation without heat recovery showed the highest emissions and the longest carbon payback period (GBPT), requiring approximately 11 years. Notably, the results were significantly influenced by future scenarios of energy production, emphasizing the crucial role of emission factors in determining the environmental performance of distinct renovation scenarios. Full article
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22 pages, 7222 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Indoor Environmental Quality and Sustainability in Post-Pandemic Office Settings: A Study on Displacement Ventilation Feasibility
by Jingchun Shen, Yang Chen and Karthik Hejamadi Rajagopal
Buildings 2023, 13(12), 3110; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13123110 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed global efforts toward transitioning to a sustainable society, driving rapid innovation in building technologies, working practices, building design, and whole life cycle environmental impact consideration. In this pursuit, this study explores the enduring impact of these on an [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed global efforts toward transitioning to a sustainable society, driving rapid innovation in building technologies, working practices, building design, and whole life cycle environmental impact consideration. In this pursuit, this study explores the enduring impact of these on an alternative ventilation approach for both existing building renovations and new building implementations. Comparing displacement ventilation to mixed-mode ventilation in a Finnish office building with varying occupancy densities, this study examines indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal comfort, total building energy performance, and embodied carbon. The findings reveal that the basic case of mixed ventilation has a specified system primary energy value of 38.83 kWh/m2 (with 28 occupants) and 39.00 kWh/m2 (with 24 occupants), respectively. With the displacement ventilation alternative, it reduces this by 0.3% and 0.1%, enhancing thermal comfort and decreasing turbulence as well as having a marginal decrease in embodied carbon. In general, the study offers three-fold contributions: insights into post-pandemic office mechanical ventilation design with an emphasis on sustainability and ecological footprint considerations, a concrete case study addressing climate action and human-centric IAQ design, and a multifaceted analysis using the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) paradigm, contributing to the groundwork for associated future research and policy progress. Full article
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