Relative importance of electricity sources and construction practices in residential buildings: A Swiss-US comparison of energy related life-cycle impacts

Martín Mosteiro-Romero, Uta Krogmann, Holger Wallbaum, York Ostermeyer, Jennifer S. Senick, Clinton J. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comparisons of buildings in similar climates built in accordance with different regional construction practices and building rating systems can provide useful insights in sustainable design practices. The objectives of this study were: (1) to perform energy related life cycle assessments of a typical LEED-H (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes) single-family home in New Jersey (US), and a typical Minergie-P single-family home in Chur, Switzerland; and (2) to assess the effect of rating systems and construction practices on the buildings' environmental impacts. Inventory data was obtained from the Ecoinvent 2.2 database with a replacement of the Western European electricity mix with the US or New Jersey electricity mix for the New Jersey home. The Swiss building performed better regarding non-renewable energy consumption, Global Warming Potential and Acidification Potential mainly due to the geothermal heat pump and the Swiss electricity mix while there was less of a difference regarding Ozone Layer Depletion Potential and Eutrophication Potential. The influence of electricity sources exceeded the effects of longer building life time or the removal of the Swiss basement. Regional building practices, local codes and environmental policies should take the electricity mix into account because it is so important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-631
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume68
Issue numberPARTA
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Keywords

  • Building rating systems
  • Energy-related impacts
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Residential buildings

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