Life Cycle Energy Performance: Exploring the limits of passive low energy buildings

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Title: Life Cycle Energy Performance: Exploring the limits of passive low energy buildings
Authors: Hernandez, Patxi
Kenny, Paul
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Date: 21-Sep-2008
Abstract: There is an increasing trend in reducing energy demand of buildings by improving building envelope thermal characteristics. Proven construction examples as used with the German PassivHaus standard achieve substantial reductions on the heating demand compared to mainstream construction, generally by using high levels of insulation together with ensuring excellent air tightness and minimizing of thermal bridges. However, the limits to which levels of insulation in a building can be increased and still represent overall life cycle energy savings are not clear. Particularly for temperate climates, adopting very-high insulation standards can lead to a danger of over specifying construction elements: once we reach certain levels of insulation, any extra material used can have larger energy costs or “embodied energy” than the energy it saves in the life cycle of the building. This paper presents the heating energy use of sample houses in the Irish maritime climate, and analyses the life cycle energy use including the embodied energy of the materials used. A 50-year perspective is presented, and conclusions about the limits to which the heating energy consumption can be lowered by “passive” means on a particular climate are drawn. This paper demonstrates the life-cycle benefits of optimizing the building design ensuring a correct orientation and sizing of the openings, but respecting certain limits when using energy intensive insulation materials.
Funding Details: Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: ASN Events
Copyright (published version): 2008 ASN Events
Keywords: Life-cycle;Energy performance;Embodied energy;Passive;Low energy
Subject LCSH: Life cycle costing
Sustainable buildings--Energy consumption
Sustainable buildings--Design and construction
Dwellings--Energy consumption--Ireland
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Foliente, G. et al. (eds.). Proceedings of the 2008 World Sustainable Building Conference
Conference Details: World Sustainable Building Conference (SB08), 2008, Melbourne, Australia, 21-25 September 2008
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Research Collection

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