Operation and embodied CO2: housing
Over the life of a home, the operational CO2 emissions of a
house have far more environmental impact than the embodied CO2 of
the materials used to build it. Some 50 per cent of the UK's carbon
emissions are due to the energy used to heat, cool and light
buildings. It is essential, therefore, that energy consumption
during a building's lifecycle is taken into account when evaluating
construction materials. A building's environmental impact does not
stop once it has been built.
Independent research, carried out by Arup Research &
Development, takes account of experts' predictions for climate
change and demonstrates that the thermal mass in masonry homes
reduces the need for air conditioning.
It also highlights the additional savings that can be achieved
through using thermal mass to capture solar gains, thereby reducing
the consumption of winter heating fuel. These savings can offset
the slightly higher level of embodied CO2 in a masonry house in as
little as 11 years and ultimately lead to the lowest whole life CO2
To download the full article from CQ Autumn 2006, click here.
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Thermal Mass for Housing
Concrete Quarterly - autumn