Publications / 2016 Proceedings of the 33rd ISARC, Auburn, USA

LCA of a Designed Single-Family Housing in Atlanta under Two Different Energy Usage Systems

Yifu Shi and Tianyu Feng
Pages 923-933 (2016 Proceedings of the 33rd ISARC, Auburn, USA, ISBN 978-1-5108-2992-3, ISSN 2413-5844)

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 87% of the US population will be living in urban areas by 2030 which brings in an increasing demand for residential buildings in metropolitan areas all over the US. High performance houses and net zero house which equipped with photovoltaic (PV) panels are among new generation of buildings emerging and rapidly growing in real estate industry. This study presents the comparison results of an environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on a pre-designed high performance single-family detached building with a net zero type of it in Atlanta, Georgia. The study covers both embodied and operational energy usage and material of construction, operation, maintenance and demolition phases of the buildings over 70 years of its life span. The relevant Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) was conducted from the project designed by Georgia Tech ?High Performance Building? group for the US Department of Energy (DOE) ?Zeroes? competition and the LCA software tool, SimaPro, was used to perform the Eco-Indicator 99 impact assessment method. The results indicated that although there are significant energy savings due to the implementation of PV panels, the impact of human health and environment damage, such as carcinogenic effects, radiation damage and mineral resource depletion involved with these technologies which are not usually considered, is highly related to the primary resource of the power generation. Additionally, the environmental and economic damages of a backup battery and the grid stability are other important issues which will eventually arise by the increasing number of high performance and net zero energy buildings.

Keywords: LCA, Residential, High Performance House, Net-zero House, PV, Environmental Impacts