Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Material Use in the Living Laboratory

Marianne Rose Kjendseth Wiik, Aoife Anne Marie Houlihan Wiberg

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This paper presents an analysis of the implication design choices have on embodied material emissions, with a view to better understand how the life cycle assessment of buildings can be better integrated into the building design process. The analysis is applied to a pilot net zero emission building (nZEB) called the Living Laboratory, which has been developed by the Norwegian Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings. The impact of embodied emissions is presented through a series of sensitivity analyses that consider the definition of a functional unit and system boundary. The results for embodied emissions are presented for each building component, and highlight important design drivers for the reduction of emissions in building construction. Compared to the previous ZEB projects, the total embodied emission result from the Living Laboratory of 23.5kgCO2eq/m2/yr is considered high. This is due to the building having a more comprehensive material inventory, which includes more life cycle phases, and uses a higher level of technical equipment and state-of-the-art materials. The results show that the outer roof, photovoltaic system and outer walls drive the highest emissions. Further analysis revealed that in some cases high emissions came from the production phase, whereas in other cases it originated from the replacement phase. The results show that timber, electrical components and metal were responsible for driving the highest emissions. The results show that certain design choices, such as a change in foundation design, can reduce embodied emissions by 21%, which could be further reduced if low carbon concrete was used.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The World Sustainable Built Environment Conference 2017 Hong Kong
Subtitle of host publicationTransforming Our Built Environment through Innovation and Integration: Putting Ideas into Action
Place of PublicationKwun Tong
PublisherConstruction Industry Council
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-988-77943-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017
EventWorld Sustainable Built Environment Conference - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 5 Jun 20177 Jun 2017


ConferenceWorld Sustainable Built Environment Conference
Abbreviated titleWSBE17
CityHong Kong
Internet address


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