IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Are the Greenhouse Gas Implications of New Residential Developments Understood Wrongly?

  • Jukka Heinonen


    (Department of Surveying and Planning, School of Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 15800, Aalto 00076, Finland)

  • Antti-Juhani Säynäjoki


    (Department of Surveying and Planning, School of Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 15800, Aalto 00076, Finland)

  • Matti Kuronen


    (RAKLI—The Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients, Annankatu 24, Helsinki 00100, Finland)

  • Seppo Junnila


    (Department of Surveying and Planning, School of Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 15800, Aalto 00076, Finland)

Registered author(s):

    Built environment carbon reduction strategies materialize predominantly in city-level greenhouse gas (GHG) management, where new residential development appears as one of the key instruments. However, city-level assessments are often incapable of producing data at a community or neighborhood level and thus they may heavily underestimate the emissions from new construction. This paper explores the implications of low-energy residential construction as an instrument of climate change mitigation in the built environment and demonstrates why city-level approaches easily fail to identify the significance of the emissions from construction. We employ a hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to demonstrate that, when the temporal allocation of emissions from the construction and use phases is taken into account, construction phase emissions come to have a central role in finding effective GHG mitigation strategies—even when the emissions from all consumption activities during the use phase are included in the assessment. In fact, their role would seem to be so central that new residential construction cannot be utilized as an instrument of city carbon management, even over a relatively long period. While we analyze a case study from Finland, the analysis intends to highlight the situation throughout the globe.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

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

    Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 2874-2893

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:5:y:2012:i:8:p:2874-2893:d:19278
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Wagner, Gernot, 2010. "Energy content of world trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7710-7721, December.
    2. Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Brown, Marilyn A., 2010. "Twelve metropolitan carbon footprints: A preliminary comparative global assessment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4856-4869, September.
    3. Manfred Lenzen & Lise-Lotte Pade & Jesper Munksgaard, 2004. "CO2 Multipliers in Multi-region Input-Output Models," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 391-412.
    4. Turner, Karen, 2009. "Negative rebound and disinvestment effects in response to an improvement in energy efficiency in the UK economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 648-666, September.
    5. Wright, Andrew, 2008. "What is the relationship between built form and energy use in dwellings?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4544-4547, December.
    6. Lenzen, Manfred & Dey, Christopher & Foran, Barney, 2004. "Energy requirements of Sydney households," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 375-399, July.
    7. Baynes, Timothy & Lenzen, Manfred & Steinberger, Julia K. & Bai, Xuemei, 2011. "Comparison of household consumption and regional production approaches to assess urban energy use and implications for policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7298-7309.
    8. McGregor, Peter G & Munday, Max & Swales, J Kim & Turner, Karen, 2011. "How responsible is a region for its carbon emissions? An integrated input-output and CGE analysis," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2011-06, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    9. Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
    10. Jukka Heinonen & Seppo Junnila, 2011. "A Carbon Consumption Comparison of Rural and Urban Lifestyles," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(8), pages 1234-1249, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:5:y:2012:i:8:p:2874-2893:d:19278. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.