Life Cycle GHG Emissions of Residential Buildings in Humid Subtropical and Tropical Climates: Systematic Review and Analysis

Daniel Satola, martin Rock, Aoife Houlihan Wiberg, Arild Gustavsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Improving the environmental life cycle performance of buildings by focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the building life cycle is considered a crucial step in achieving global climate targets. This paper provides a systematic review and analysis of 75 residential case studies in humid subtropical and tropical climates. The study investigates GHG emissions across the building life cycle, i.e., it analyses both embodied and operational GHG emissions. Furthermore, the influence of various parameters, such as building location, typology, construction materials and energy performance, as well as methodological aspects are investigated. Through comparative analysis, the study identifies promising design strategies for reducing life cycle-related GHG emissions of buildings operating in subtropical and tropical climate zones. The results show that life cycle GHG emissions in the analysed studies are mostly dominated by operational emissions and are the highest for energy-intensive multi-family buildings. Buildings following low or net-zero energy performance targets show potential reductions of 50–80% for total life cycle GHG emissions, compared to buildings with conventional energy performance. Implementation of on-site photovoltaic (PV) systems provides the highest reduction potential for both operational and total life cycle GHG emissions, with potential reductions of 92% to 100% and 48% to 66%, respectively. Strategies related to increased use of timber and other bio-based materials present the highest potential for reduction of embodied GHG emissions, with reductions of 9% to 73%.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2020


  • GHG emissions
  • life cycle assessment
  • residential buildings
  • design strategies
  • humid subtropical climate
  • tropical climate


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