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Life-cycle energy analysis of an office building Kernan, Paul Christopher


The thesis investigates the life-cycle energy requirements of a generic office building. Energy use is seen as a key determinant in many of the most serious environmental pressures threatening human existence. Reducing current high levels of fossil fuel consumption is imperative as a first step to addressing and solving these problems. Energy use in the construction industry, to both operate and construct buildings, represents a significant portion of total global energy consumption and reductions in this component of total energy use will be essential. The thesis examines the potential for energy reduction in office buildings by analyzing the energy consumption characteristics of a generic 5 storey office building located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Analysis is carried out on the basis of life-cycle energy consumption The individual components of office building energy use, operating energy, embodied energy and demolition energy, are calculated. In order to investigate total life-cycle energy requirements three alternative future scenarios are proposed for the building. The direct and indirect impacts of future changes in key energy related variable is investigated. The relationships between the different types of energy are examined and their relative contributions to total life-cycle energy is analyzed. Various strategies to improve energy efficiency are examined and the total potential energy reduction is calculated. Life-cycle energy of the study building over a 100 year life span is calculated at between 77.7 and 80.2 GJ/m2 . Operating energy represents the largest portion of building life-cycle energy, accounting for between 80 and 87% of the total. It is also the energy component that offers the greatest potential for achieving reductions, with potential saving of up to 60%. Embodied energy accounts for between 12 and 19% of total life-cycle energy. The maximum achievable reduction in embodied energy is approximately 40%. Demolition energy, at less than 1 %, is a relatively insignificant component of building life-cycle energy. The potential reduction in overall life-cycle energy is between 57.8 and 59.2 percent.

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