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