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A Longitudinal Study on the Carbon Emissions of a New Residential Development

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  • Jukka Heinonen

    ()
    (Aalto University School of Engineering/P.O. Box 11200, 00076 AALTO Finland)

  • Antti Säynäjoki

    ()
    (Aalto University School of Engineering/P.O. Box 11200, 00076 AALTO Finland)

  • Seppo Junnila

    ()
    (Aalto University School of Engineering/P.O. Box 11200, 00076 AALTO Finland)

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    Abstract

    Buildings account for nearly 50% of all greenhouse gases globally. While this has been widely recognized, the GHG mitigation strategies have traditionally concentrated on reducing the use phase emissions, as over 90% of the emissions are generated during the use phase according to several studies. However, two current developments increase the importance of the construction phase emissions and the embodied emissions of the building materials. Firstly, the improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings directly increase the relative share of the construction phase emissions. Secondly, the notification of the temporal allocation of the emissions increases the importance of the carbon spike from construction. While these perspectives have been noted, few studies exist that combine the two perspectives of the construction and the use phase. In this paper, we analyze the implications of low-carbon residential construction on the life cycle emissions of a residential area with a case study. Furthermore, we demonstrate that when the temporal allocation of the emissions is taken into account, the construction phase emissions can hinder or even reverse the carbon mitigation effect of low-carbon buildings for decades.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1170-1189

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:8:p:1170-1189:d:13411

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    Related research

    Keywords: life cycle assessment; carbon; climate change; buildings; construction;

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2008. "The Greenness of Cities: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Urban Development," NBER Working Papers 14238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
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