Energy, Vol.163, 501-512, 2018
Environmental impact assessment of building envelope components for low-rise buildings
The selection of building envelope components has a high impact on all the lifecycle phases of a building, from the environmental and energy perspectives, and plays a significant role in the design of sustainable buildings. This paper presents an environmental impact comparison of four different building structural systems widely used in the construction of energy efficient houses in Central Europe: reinforced concrete, brick, cross-laminated timber, and timber-frame panel construction. The basic properties of wall and roof components were determined according to the thermal transmittance equivalent, where their environmental performance using a lifecycle approach was assessed. The study reveals the environmental impacts of individual structural systems and alternative thermal insulation materials, as well as their impact share on environmental performance of building envelopes. Based on the comparison of selected components, this study demonstrates that there is a significant potential for improving the environmental potential of low-rise buildings, by selecting suitable components and materials, sustaining the energy performance of the building. The comparison of envelope components draws attention to the critical materials, representing guidelines for the optimization of environmental impacts of building envelope components for sustainable low-rise buildings, especially considering the design phase. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.