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Life cycle primary energy analysis of residential buildings
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development. (Ecotechnology)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development. (Ecotechnology)
2010 (English)In: Energy and Buildings, ISSN 0378-7788, Vol. 42, no 2, 210-220 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The space heating demand of residential buildings can be decreased by improved insulation, reduced air leakage and by heat recovery from ventilation air. However, these measures result in an increased use of materials. As the energy for building operation decreases, the relative importance of the energy used in the production phase increases and influences optimization aimed at minimizing the Life cycle energy use. The Life cycle primary energy use of buildings also depends on the energy supply systems. In this work we analyse primary energy use and CO2 emission for the production and operation of conventional and low-energy residential buildings. Different types of energy supply systems are included in the analysis. We show that for a conventional and a low-energy building the primary energy use for production can be up to 45% and 60%, respectively, of the total, depending on the energy supply system, and with larger variations for conventional buildings. The primary energy used and the CO2 emission resulting from production are lower for wood-framed constructions than for concrete-framed constructions. The primary energy use and the CO2 emission depend strongly on the energy supply, for both conventional and low-energy buildings. For example, a single-family house from the 1970s heated with biomass-based district heating with cogeneration has 70% lower operational primary energy use than if heated with fuel-based electricity. The specific primary energy use with district heating was 40% lower than that of an electrically heated passive row house.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 42, no 2, 210-220 p.
Keyword [en]
Residential, passive, low-energy, district heating, cogeneration, supply, electricity
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-7864DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2009.08.017ISI: 000273837400008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-71649086165OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-7864DiVA: diva2:132716
Available from: 2008-12-29 Created: 2008-12-29 Last updated: 2010-06-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Primary energy efficiency and CO2 mitigation in residential buildings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Primary energy efficiency and CO2 mitigation in residential buildings
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to control climate change it is important to limit the atmosphericconcentration of carbon dioxide (CO2). Increased energy efficiency, as well as ashift from fossil fuels to renewable resources can reduce net CO2 emission. Theenergy required for constructing and operating buildings is significant in manycountries, and it is thus important to design energy efficient buildings and energysupply systems.Improvements in existing buildings are needed in order to achieve short-termemission reductions. The Swedish building stock expanded greatly during the1960s and 1970s. The energy efficiency of these houses was often quite low, andmany of them were built with resistance heating. In this thesis increased energyefficiency in such buildings is studied, as well as conversions from resistanceheating to other heating systems, and various technologies and fuels for theproduction of electricity and heat. The effects of these measures are analysed withrespect to primary energy use, CO2 emission and societal cost. The studies wereperformed using process-based systems analysis in a life-cycle perspective. Thesystem boundaries include energy chains from the natural resources to the usefulelectricity and heat in the houses. The results show that the choice of heatingsystem in the house has a greater effect on the primary energy use than measureson both the house envelope and the energy supply chains. District heating basedon cogeneration of heat and electricity and bedrock heat pumps were found to beenergy-efficient systems. The net emission of CO2 is dependent on the fuel and theCO2 emissions from these systems are comparable to those from a wood pelletboiler, if biomass-based supply chains are used. Conversion from resistanceheating to any of the other heating systems studied is also profitable from a societaleconomic perspective.The decision to implement energy-efficiency measures or install a new heatingsystem in a detached house is taken by the house owner. In order for successfulimplementation the alternatives must either be sufficiently attractive or incentivesor policy instruments that affects this large, inhomogeneous group must beimplemented. In this thesis, the house owners’ economic situation when changingthe heating system and implementing energy-efficiency measures on the buildingenvelope is analysed. The economic analysis includes current Swedish policyinstruments, such as an investment subsidy for heating system conversion, anincome tax deduction for replacing windows, levying a consumer electricity tax

and increasing real estate tax. House owners’ perceptions of different heatingsystems are analysed through the results of comprehensive questionnaires. Societaleconomy, private economy and individuals’ perceptions are compared. Theconversion subsidy provides some incentive to house owners to act according tothe national energy policy, as does the electricity tax, which has a significantinfluence on consumer costs. The use of economic instruments seems efficient inpromoting systems in line with environmental goals since environmental factorsare ranked much lower by the home owners. However, the effect on the annualcost of most of the policy instruments studied is smaller than the price variationsbetween different energy suppliers. Energy suppliers thus have considerableopportunity to influence house owners.To achieve long-term changes in the building sector new houses should beconstructed with as low primary energy use and emission as possible, seen overtheir entire life cycle. The primary energy use is analysed for both the productionand operational phase of several types of residential buildings. When the demandfor operational primary energy decreases, due to a high energy standard orenergy-efficient supply, the relative importance of the energy required forproduction will increase. The amount of primary energy required for theproduction of a new low-energy building is significant compared with the primaryenergy required for space heating. One way of reducing both primary energy useand CO2 emission in the production phase is to use constructions with woodframes instead of concrete.The energy supply system is nevertheless still important also for low energybuildings. A new house built to passive standard, heated with fossil-fuel-basedresistance heating gives rise to higher primary energy use and CO2 emission than aconventional detached house from the 1970s that is heated with an energy-efficientbiomass-based heating system. The results thus indicate that wood-framed houseswith a high energy standard, together with efficient energy supply systems, couldbe an option for sustainable residential construction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2008. 89 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 58
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-7865 (URN)978-91-86073-04-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2009-02-02 Created: 2008-12-29 Last updated: 2009-02-13Bibliographically approved

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