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Environmental Assessment of Buildings – A Suggestion


This article proposes to contribute to the discussion on environmental product declarations for buildings. Using a simple life-cycle analysis of a low-energy detached house and CO2-equivalent emissions as a comparative unit, the case study presented illustrates the problems with the initial input data related to embodied energy and a definition of the criteria for an assessment of the environmental quality of buildings. The actual case study compares the expected energy demand of a detached house in the course of its service life and the energy input (embodied energy) necessary for its assembly and for the manufacture of the individual building products. The operation of the building during its service life is described using a computer-aided building performance simulation. The input data related to the embodied energy are based on information from classical works on life cycle analyses. In addition, the article discusses the limits of building envelope improvements in terms of the thickness of thermal insulation and also stresses the increasing significance of embodied energy in the environmental assessment of buildings.

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