Climate change influence on building lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions
Williams , David R.
PublisherUniversity of Surrey
MetadataShow full item record
As a consequence of most building's long lifespan, changing weather conditions driven by climatechange, are likely to influence energy demands for heating and cooling, thereby altering lifecycleGreenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. This research develops a method to allow estimation of theseemissions in the early design stage, accounting for potential future weather conditions projected by theUK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). The method covers both the operational performance ofbuildings across a lifecycle, as well as allowing investigation of GHG emissions due to upstreammanufacture, transportation and construction of building materials and components. The research hasdeveloped a novel method to allow operational OHO emissions to be estimated directly from theoutputs of the UKCIP Weather Generator tool. These operational GHG emissions are estimated fromprojected future temperatures using a model 'calibrated' to building performance through dynamicthermal simulation of a selection of example weather years. The new method has also been developedto allow lifecycle GHG emissions to be estimated using software tools regularly applied forcompliance with energy efficiency legislation. The result is a process that can estimate upstream andfuture GHG emissions quickly to ensure information is readily available to designers. Investigation ofa real 'mixed-use' building showed upstream emissions contributed over 20% to total lifecycle GHGs,indicating wider industry focus in this area may be appropriate. The case study also showed annualGHG emissions due to space cooling could increase by between 26 and 70% from 2020 to 2080.Over the same period, emissions due to heating may decrease by between 12 and 42%, giving anoverall net increase in GHG emissions from these systems. This research has highlighted the potentialsignificance of climate change on building life cycle performance and provided a tested designframework to allow Parsons Brinckerhoff to limit life cycle GHG emissions from new buildingdesigns.