Comparative life cycle analysis of façade passive systems in the Mediterranean: comfort, energy, and carbon

Mifsud, Lara; Pomponi, Francesco and Moncaster, Alice M. (2020). Comparative life cycle analysis of façade passive systems in the Mediterranean: comfort, energy, and carbon. Renewable Energy, 149 pp. 347–360.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.12.072

Abstract

In the Mediterranean region façade shading systems are used to reduce operational energy, 9 particularly cooling loads. However, operational savings do not necessarily translate into net energy 10 savings unless they outweigh the embodied energy/carbon required to manufacture, install, 11 maintain, and dispose of these systems. This study analyses two shading devices, louvers and 12 meshes, from a whole-life perspective in Malta. We first establish, through dynamic energy 13 modelling, the operational energy and carbon savings achieved, and results show that both louvers 14 and meshes are capable of savings in terms of operational energy—20% to 40% compared to the 15 base case. Secondly, we establish the embodied energy and carbon through a life cycle analysis. 16 Although based on the limited data available for Malta, findings suggest that net energy and carbon 17 savings are only achieved by two of the 22 configurations investigated, both mesh systems. These 18 results highlight the urgent need to investigate shading systems to establish net energy and carbon 19 whole-life balances. The risk is otherwise that we will save less operational energy in the future, 20 from decarbonised energy grids, than we have already spent through a surge of embodied energy 21 from current, carbon intensive grids, therefore exacerbating the climate crisis.

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