Dynamic Life Cycle Assessments of a Conventional Green Building and a Net Zero Energy Building: Exploration of Static, Dynamic, Attributional, and Consequential Electricity Grid Models

William O. Collinge, Harold J. Rickenbacker, Amy E. Landis, Cassandra Lee Thiel, Melissa M. Bilec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Our study assesses the differences between regional average- and marginal-electricity generation mixes as well as the variability between predicted and observed energy consumption of a "conventional green" Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building and a Net-Zero Energy Living Building (NZEB). The aim of our study was to evaluate the importance of using temporally resolved building-level data while capturing the dynamic effects a changing electrical grid has on the life cycle impacts of buildings. Two static and four dynamic life cycle assessment (LCA) models were evaluated for both buildings. Both buildings' results show that the most appropriate models (hybrid consequential for the LEED Gold building, hourly consequential for the NZEB) significantly modified the use-phase global warming potential (GWP) impacts relative to the design static LCA (49% greater impact for the LEED Gold building; 45% greater reduction for the NZEB). In other words, a "standard" LCA would underestimate the use phase impacts of the LEED Gold building and the benefits of the NZEB in the GWP category. Although the results in this paper are specific to two case study buildings, the methods developed are scalable and can be implemented more widely to improve building life cycle impact estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11429-11438
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume52
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018

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Life cycle
electricity
life cycle
Electricity
Gold
leadership
energy
Global warming
gold
global warming
Energy utilization
architectural design
green building
electricity generation
Environmental design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Dynamic Life Cycle Assessments of a Conventional Green Building and a Net Zero Energy Building : Exploration of Static, Dynamic, Attributional, and Consequential Electricity Grid Models. / Collinge, William O.; Rickenbacker, Harold J.; Landis, Amy E.; Thiel, Cassandra Lee; Bilec, Melissa M.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 52, No. 19, 02.10.2018, p. 11429-11438.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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