Facilitators and drivers of low-carbon and energy residential developments

Polycarpou, Kyriacos; Francart, Nicolas; Malmqvist, Tove; Burnley, Stephen; Zamenopoulos, Theodore and Moncaster, Alice (2022). Facilitators and drivers of low-carbon and energy residential developments. In: Energy and Climate Transformations: 3rd International Conference on Energy Research & Social Science, 20-23 Jun 2022, Renold Building, University of Manchester, UK.

URL: https://www.elsevier.com/events/conferences/intern...


Recent increasing interest in the whole lifecycle environmental impacts of buildings, indicates the need for a holistic approach during their design stage. At the same time, a considerable amount of literature highlights the significance of the decisions taken at the early stages of the design process and their huge potential in reducing the building’s impact. The broader integration of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as one of the decision-making tools within the design process is seen as a positive step towards this direction. Limitations include its complexity, lack of information at the right time and absence of standardization; attempts to address them reveal additional problems emerging from limited knowledge, understanding results and social interactions within the design team.
One of the main gaps in our knowledge is a lack of a deeper understanding of the building design process in practice and the effect of associated interactions. This research considers the socio-technical factors that affect the environmental decisions of the stakeholders and their effect on the whole-life carbon implications of the building. A qualitative and quantitative research approach is adopted to understand what happens within the real-life context of the building design process within various locations and cultures in Europe.
Case studies, including documentary analysis and interviews, are selected to identify the most important decisions in terms of carbon reduction, the stages that are taken and why, the key decision-makers and their influences, and the role of LCA on influencing the design. BIM and LCA tools are then employed to quantify the impact of those decisions.
The findings seek to understand how decisions are actually taken during the design process and what their whole-life carbon implications are. This knowledge is considered as major prerequisite for looking at whether and how LCA can be integrated as a decision support tool and accepted as a common practice within the building industry.

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