Low-carbon design strategies for new residential buildings: Lessons from Danish architectural practice

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Abstract

This study presents the environmental assessment of four low carbon design strategies applied in Danish, architectural practice. The subject of analysis is a set of five buildings erected within the same constrictions in terms of floor area, operational energy performance and construction costs. Each of the design and construction teams followed specific strategies targeting four different themes: the use of recycled materials, design for extended durability of components, adaptable design, and design for reduction of operational energy demand. Results show that the recycling/upcycling strategy is the most effective in reducing the embodied carbon of a single-family dwelling. The use of structural wood in the same design furthermore points to the use of wood as a viable strategy for improving the carbon footprint of buildings –assuming that the biogenic carbon content of the wood can be considered carbon neutral. In combination, these two strategies result in an approximate 50 % saving of life cycle carbon compared to a reference building (i.e. a typical, Danish single-family dwelling). The design strategy of using durable materials yields up to 30 % lower embodied carbon compared to the reference building, whereas a design for adaptability results in 17 % lower embodied carbon relative to the reference building. However, these strategies are sensitive to the scenarios made for the service lives of materials and the implemented disassembly solutions. In a life cycle carbon perspective, the emissions from energy use in the building prove to be of importance, although there are notable differences depending on the modelling approaches of the energy mix as well as the definition of system boundaries. With the shrinking, global carbon budgets in mind, there is justified reason, not just to apply the most efficient of the assessed strategies, but to holistically optimize the design of new buildings by integrating various design aspects addressing the whole life cycle of the building.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
ISSN1745-2007
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019

Cite this

@article{df241944d7b548ecadaa8cbb0de09dea,
title = "Low-carbon design strategies for new residential buildings: Lessons from Danish architectural practice",
abstract = "This study presents the environmental assessment of four low carbon design strategies applied in Danish, architectural practice. The subject of analysis is a set of five buildings erected within the same constrictions in terms of floor area, operational energy performance and construction costs. Each of the design and construction teams followed specific strategies targeting four different themes: the use of recycled materials, design for extended durability of components, adaptable design, and design for reduction of operational energy demand. Results show that the recycling/upcycling strategy is the most effective in reducing the embodied carbon of a single-family dwelling. The use of structural wood in the same design furthermore points to the use of wood as a viable strategy for improving the carbon footprint of buildings –assuming that the biogenic carbon content of the wood can be considered carbon neutral. In combination, these two strategies result in an approximate 50 {\%} saving of life cycle carbon compared to a reference building (i.e. a typical, Danish single-family dwelling). The design strategy of using durable materials yields up to 30 {\%} lower embodied carbon compared to the reference building, whereas a design for adaptability results in 17 {\%} lower embodied carbon relative to the reference building. However, these strategies are sensitive to the scenarios made for the service lives of materials and the implemented disassembly solutions. In a life cycle carbon perspective, the emissions from energy use in the building prove to be of importance, although there are notable differences depending on the modelling approaches of the energy mix as well as the definition of system boundaries. With the shrinking, global carbon budgets in mind, there is justified reason, not just to apply the most efficient of the assessed strategies, but to holistically optimize the design of new buildings by integrating various design aspects addressing the whole life cycle of the building.",
author = "Rasmussen, {Freja Nygaard} and Morten Birkved and Harpa Birgisdottir",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
journal = "Architectural Engineering and Design Management",
issn = "1745-2007",
publisher = "Earthscan Ltd.",

}

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T2 - Lessons from Danish architectural practice

AU - Rasmussen, Freja Nygaard

AU - Birkved, Morten

AU - Birgisdottir, Harpa

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - This study presents the environmental assessment of four low carbon design strategies applied in Danish, architectural practice. The subject of analysis is a set of five buildings erected within the same constrictions in terms of floor area, operational energy performance and construction costs. Each of the design and construction teams followed specific strategies targeting four different themes: the use of recycled materials, design for extended durability of components, adaptable design, and design for reduction of operational energy demand. Results show that the recycling/upcycling strategy is the most effective in reducing the embodied carbon of a single-family dwelling. The use of structural wood in the same design furthermore points to the use of wood as a viable strategy for improving the carbon footprint of buildings –assuming that the biogenic carbon content of the wood can be considered carbon neutral. In combination, these two strategies result in an approximate 50 % saving of life cycle carbon compared to a reference building (i.e. a typical, Danish single-family dwelling). The design strategy of using durable materials yields up to 30 % lower embodied carbon compared to the reference building, whereas a design for adaptability results in 17 % lower embodied carbon relative to the reference building. However, these strategies are sensitive to the scenarios made for the service lives of materials and the implemented disassembly solutions. In a life cycle carbon perspective, the emissions from energy use in the building prove to be of importance, although there are notable differences depending on the modelling approaches of the energy mix as well as the definition of system boundaries. With the shrinking, global carbon budgets in mind, there is justified reason, not just to apply the most efficient of the assessed strategies, but to holistically optimize the design of new buildings by integrating various design aspects addressing the whole life cycle of the building.

AB - This study presents the environmental assessment of four low carbon design strategies applied in Danish, architectural practice. The subject of analysis is a set of five buildings erected within the same constrictions in terms of floor area, operational energy performance and construction costs. Each of the design and construction teams followed specific strategies targeting four different themes: the use of recycled materials, design for extended durability of components, adaptable design, and design for reduction of operational energy demand. Results show that the recycling/upcycling strategy is the most effective in reducing the embodied carbon of a single-family dwelling. The use of structural wood in the same design furthermore points to the use of wood as a viable strategy for improving the carbon footprint of buildings –assuming that the biogenic carbon content of the wood can be considered carbon neutral. In combination, these two strategies result in an approximate 50 % saving of life cycle carbon compared to a reference building (i.e. a typical, Danish single-family dwelling). The design strategy of using durable materials yields up to 30 % lower embodied carbon compared to the reference building, whereas a design for adaptability results in 17 % lower embodied carbon relative to the reference building. However, these strategies are sensitive to the scenarios made for the service lives of materials and the implemented disassembly solutions. In a life cycle carbon perspective, the emissions from energy use in the building prove to be of importance, although there are notable differences depending on the modelling approaches of the energy mix as well as the definition of system boundaries. With the shrinking, global carbon budgets in mind, there is justified reason, not just to apply the most efficient of the assessed strategies, but to holistically optimize the design of new buildings by integrating various design aspects addressing the whole life cycle of the building.

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