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Optimising the life cycle energy performance of residential buildings

conference contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Robert Crawford, I Czerniakowski, Robert Fuller
A holistic approach to low-energy building design is essential to ensure that any efficiency improvement strategies provide a net energy benefit over the life of the building. Previous work by the authors has established a model for informing low-energy building design based on a comparison of the life cycle energy demand associated with a broad range of building assemblies. This model ranks assemblies based on their combined initial and recurrent embodied energy and operational energy demand. The current study applies this model to an actual residential building in order to demonstrate the application of the model for optimising a building’s life cycle energy performance. The aim of this study was to demonstrate how the availability of comparable energy performance information at the building design stage can be used to better optimise a building’s energy performance. The life cycle energy demand of the case study building, located in the temperate climate of Melbourne, Australia, was quantified using a comprehensive embodied energy assessment technique and TRNSYS thermal energy simulation software. The building was then modelled with variations to its external assemblies in an attempt to optimise its life cycle energy performance. The alternative assemblies chosen were those shown through the author’s previous modelling to result in the lowest life cycle energy demand for each building element. The best performing assemblies for each of the main external building elements were then combined into a best-case scenario to quantify the potential life cycle energy savings possible compared to the original building. The study showed that significant life cycle energy savings are possible through the modelling of individual building elements for the case study building. While these findings relate to a very specific case, this study demonstrates the application of a model for optimising building life cycle energy performance that may be applied more broadly during early-stage building design to optimise life cycle energy performance.



Architectural Science Association. Conference (45th : 2011 : Sydney, N.S.W.)


1 - 8




Sydney, N. S. W.

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Sydney, N. S. W.

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Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2011, ANZAScA


R Hyde, S Hayman, D Cabrera

Title of proceedings

ANZAScA 2011 : From principles to practice in architectural science: Proceedings of the 45th Annual conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association

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