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Title: An assessment methodology for enviro-economic justification of low and zero carbon technologies
Author: Resalati, Shahaboddin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 797X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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The imperative to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings will inevitably require adopting higher levels of insulation and on-site low and zero carbon technologies. This will significantly increase the embodied carbon of materials and products that have been used in the building. With buildings requiring less operational energy, future low and zero carbon buildings could see equivalence between operational and embodied carbon. It is essential therefore that embodied carbon is factored into carbon reduction strategies. Hence, this research has established an assessment methodology based on a combined operational and embodied carbon analyses as means of providing more representative assessments of life cycle carbon burdens and cost appraisals for low and zero carbon building technologies. The methodology has been applied to a series of case studies of low and zero carbon building technologies to provide exemplar quantified appraisals of selected products. The case studies include insulation materials (Polyurethane, mineral wool, VIP and hemp) and renewable technologies (Photovoltaics and Transpired Solar Collectors) applied with different operational scenarios to selected industrial (small and medium warehouses and retail sheds), residential (semidetached house) and office (typical 4 storey) buildings. The application of the methodology identifies how the inclusion of embodied CO2 in carbon reduction equations can suggest ‘death points’ (points beyond which associated embodied carbon outweighs the operational carbon savings) for conventional building technologies and ‘birth points’ (points beyond which novel technologies are required to offset the carbon disbenefit of conventional technologies) for novel products. This for the first time introduces sensible ‘maximum’ level of insulation that can be incorporated into buildings or required by standards, and sets limits to the amount by which current approaches to carbon thrift can be escalated. The study demonstrates the absolute significance of combining operational and embodied carbon analyses in demonstrating the effectiveness of carbon reduction strategies and requirements to shift away from ‘operational carbon only’ methods. The approach must be an integral part of any holistic appraisal of low and zero carbon performance.
Supervisor: Ogden, Ray ; Kendrick, Christopher Sponsor: TATA Steel Group
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral