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Building service life and its effect on the life cycle embodied energy of buildings


  • Rauf, Abdul
  • Crawford, Robert H.


The building sector is responsible for significant energy demands. An understanding of where this occurs across the building life cycle is critical for optimal targeting of energy reduction efforts. The energy embodied in a building can be significant, yet is not well understood, especially the on-going ‘recurrent’ embodied energy associated with material replacement and building refurbishment. A key factor affecting this ‘recurrent’ embodied energy is a building's service life. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the service life and the life cycle embodied energy of buildings. The embodied energy of a detached residential building was calculated for a building service life range of 1–150 years. The results show that variations in building service life can have a considerable effect on the life cycle embodied energy demand of a building. A 29% reduction in life cycle embodied energy was found for the case study building by extending its life from 50 to 150 years. This indicates the importance of including recurrent embodied energy in building life cycle energy analyses as well as integrating building service life considerations when designing and managing buildings for improved energy performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Rauf, Abdul & Crawford, Robert H., 2015. "Building service life and its effect on the life cycle embodied energy of buildings," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 140-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:79:y:2015:i:c:p:140-148
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Graham Treloar, 1997. "Extracting Embodied Energy Paths from Input-Output Tables: Towards an Input-Output-based Hybrid Energy Analysis Method," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 375-391.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:390-413 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chau, C.K. & Xu, J.M. & Leung, T.M. & Ng, W.Y., 2017. "Evaluation of the impacts of end-of-life management strategies for deconstruction of a high-rise concrete framed office building," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P2), pages 1595-1603.
    3. Huang, Lizhen & Bohne, Rolf André & Lohne, Jardar, 2015. "Shelter and residential building energy consumption within the 450 ppm CO2eq constraints in different climate zones," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 90(P1), pages 965-979.
    4. repec:eee:energy:v:140:y:2017:i:p1:p:395-405 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:1906-1916 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Crawford, Robert H. & Bartak, Erika L. & Stephan, André & Jensen, Christopher A., 2016. "Evaluating the life cycle energy benefits of energy efficiency regulations for buildings," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 435-451.
    7. Atmaca, Adem & Atmaca, Nihat, 2016. "Comparative life cycle energy and cost analysis of post-disaster temporary housings," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 429-443.
    8. Roh, Seungjun & Tae, Sungho & Suk, Sung Joon & Ford, George, 2017. "Evaluating the embodied environmental impacts of major building tasks and materials of apartment buildings in Korea," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 135-144.
    9. Dixit, Manish K., 2017. "Embodied energy analysis of building materials: An improved IO-based hybrid method using sectoral disaggregation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 46-58.


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