UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Emergy-based sustainability rating system for buildings : case study of Canada Hossaini Fard, Navid


The building and construction industry significantly contributes to the global environmental problems as it accounts for 30-40% of energy and material consumption of the society and around 30% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Considering growing population, resource scarcity and environmental effects of the building industry on Earth, there is an urgent need for paradigm shift toward sustainability and green buildings. However, studies show that 28-35% of the current LEED-certified green buildings actually use more energy than conventional buildings. This thesis addresses weaknesses in current green building rating systems in North America, by implementing the “emergy” methodology. Emergy measure provides a holistic method to estimate the true value of environmental resources and services that was previously used to make a product/service. In this thesis, emergy methodology is used to assess the environmental and associated socioeconomic impacts of construction projects over lifecycle of buildings, including: resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction, operation and maintenance, demolition and end of life scenarios (recycle, reuse and landfill). The main objective of this research is to develop an emergy-based sustainability rating system for buildings in Canada, named the “Em-Green sustainability rating system”. This sustainability evaluation system is a user-friendly framework for building and construction industry in Canada that covers the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of sustainability (i.e.: environmental, social, and economical). The Em-Green sustainability fills the gap of a comprehensive building rating system that covers complete life-cycle of buildings (Cradle-to-Cradle/Grave approach) based on local practices in Canada. The framework developed for Em-green sustainability rating system can be adopted for other nations and can be expanded to develop a global sustainability measure for the built environment.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International