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      ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF ANALOGOUS NEW ZEALAND ‘EXEMPLAR HOUSE’ DESIGNS

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          Abstract

          To reduce the environmental impact of residential construction a holistic understanding of the building life cycle is necessary. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is well suited to the task of calculating the impacts associated with building products and systems so it is used in this study to assess building material options for a typical New Zealand house design. The LCA and underlying data adhered to international standards and framework. Four house designs comparing concrete and timber flooring, steel and timber framing and fibre cement and timber cladding were investigated. The different designs were modified to have the same thermal performance using NZS4214:2006. Consequently the difference in environmental performance can be attributed to the wooden building products.

          Substituting steel with timber framing results in a 20–30% decrease in global warming emissions, eutrophication and photochemical oxidation, but an increase in land and water use. Exchanging concrete with timber flooring results in a similar trend but there is a significant reduction of solid waste. Substituting fibre cement cladding with timber weatherboards yielded had little difference on the LCA-metrics. It is an over-simplification to focus on environmental performance as other building product characteristics are important.

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          Most cited references43

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          “LCA application in the optimum design of high rise steel structures.”

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            “Life cycle energy assessment of a typical office building in Thailand.”

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              “A survey of unresolved problems in life cycle assessment. Part 1: Goal and scope and inventory analysis.”

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                jgrb
                Journal of Green Building
                College Publishing
                1552-6100
                1943-4618
                1943-4618
                Fall 2013
                : 8
                : 4
                : 127-145
                Author notes
                1Corresponding Author. Scientist, Sustainable Design Group, Scion, Level 14, 86-90 Lambton Quay, PO Box 10345, Wellington 6143, New Zealand. Email: james.mcdevitt@ 123456scionresearch.com

                2Research Leader, Manufacturing and Bio-products Group, Scion, 49 Sala St, Rotorua, New Zealand.

                Article
                jgb.8.4.127
                10.3992/jgb.8.4.127
                942b1792-6562-438b-a3be-010a244aabae
                ©2013 by College Publishing. All rights reserved.

                Volumes 1-10 of JOGB are open access and do not require permission for use, though proper citation should be given. To view the licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

                Page count
                Pages: 19
                Product
                Categories
                RESEARCH ARTICLES

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