WE.2.A || Life Cycle Sustainability in Construction and Renovation of Buildings II

Antypa, Despoina; Sieti, Natalia; Vlysidis, Anestis; Gkika, Anastasia; Petrakli, Foteini; Kraft, Robert; Böhm, Robert; García, Ignacio; Subrahmanyam, Raman; Smirnova, Irina; Koumoulos, Elias; Koumoulos, Elias

Buildings are responsible for 40% of the total energy consumption annually in Europe, along with the respective greenhouse gas emissions. To mitigate these impacts, a lot of research is ongoing in the sector of Nearly Zero-Energy Building (NZEB). However, as it is expected that future buildings will use energy efficiently coming from sustainable sources, impacts related to building materials (embodied) will become of more significance. Therefore, as about 85% of the existing buildings will be standing in 2050, with only 1% undergoing energy efficient renovation every year, building renovation towards NZEBs promises significant potential for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. To facilitate renovation, the benefits of making buildings more energy-efficient and less carbon-intensive over their full life-cycle must be shown. In this context, thermal insulation choices are of crucial importance as they affect the thermal performance in the building envelope and its potential environmental impacts. The objective of this study is to enable comparisons between preliminary Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results on specific thermal insulation materials and design options of the whole building. The study includes all life cycle stages with functional equivalence to preserve an adequate interior temperature. The thermal insulation materials examined are: i) cement / concrete-based materials for wall façades, ii) aerogels (silica and biobased) for insulation in sandwich wall panels and iii) omniphobic coatings for smart window applications. Designing of eco-sustainable structures, from advanced materials to smart building envelope systems, is expected to bring improved U-values and overall building thermal performance. The findings of this study provide clear evidence on the necessity for further research on the topic, as substantial lack of embodied impacts data of novel materials is presented in current literature and adds to the growing discussion around NZEBs across Europe.