Do designer’s decisions affect the CO2-e Impact for a House?

  • YEAR
    Henriksen, Janet
    Liefer, David
    2007 Conference Papers
    Human Issues: social, cultural, economic


Abstract: This paper reports thesis findings that quantified the impact of design decisions on the carbon
dioxide equivalent gas (CO2-e) emissions of a house.

Three architects’ designs for an energy efficient house in a temperate zone are compared. A life cycle
analysis approach developed from the perspective of a designer formed a framework to assist design
decision-making. The BHP Steel LISA program, which assesses the impact of materials, was linked to
the NatHERS rating tool. Spreadsheet based programs have been developed to model the site
construction and the renovation component of a lifecycle. A spreadsheet program was developed to
identify the number of hours a design is outside a defined temperature range, allowing modelling of
heating and cooling appliance energy requirement.

The difference between specific design decisions is conceptualized as a ‘D-value’, reflecting the
complexity of decisions when a designer desires to minimise CO2-e impact of a dwelling in a
temperate climate.

The difference between design options illustrates the fact that design decisions have significant impact
over a life cycle. The results found using this method are then subjected to a sensitivity analysis on the
best and worst performing solutions, to identify the most effective design decisions.


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