Paper Conference

Proceedings of eSim 2022: 12th Conference of IBPSA-Canada


An LCA Framework to Prioritize Carbon-Sensitive Measures in Residential Building Design

Mahsa Torabi, Ralph Evins
Energy in Cities group, University of Victoria, Canada

Abstract: Building design involves numerous trade-offs between several design objectives that span multiple aspects with diverse effects on building subsystems. Hence, low-carbon building design requires a comprehensive understanding of varied factors and their range of impact on building emissions throughout the building life cycle. Previous research often focuses on one building component at a time. This research devises an LCA framework that provides a holistic overview of all building subsystems in the Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment. The methodology integrates a sensitivity analysis entailing conventional material selection and construction details for the building envelope, the heating/cooling system and the structure of the building. The methodology is demonstrated for a midrise residential building in the city of Vancouver. Results indicate that certain timber buildings both in structure and envelope have the lowest environmental impact and heat pumps are the most effective heating systems to provide comfort with the lowest whole building emissions.
Keywords: Sensitivity Analysis, Life cycle Assessment, Embodied emissions, Low-carbon building design