Zero-emissions housing: The great impossible Australian dream?

  • YEAR
    Crawford, Robert H
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: There are a growing number of examples of housing developments around the world that
claim to be zero energy or zero emissions. Some of these clearly indicate that this only refers to the
ability to minimise energy requirements for heating and cooling. However, others simply fail to
recognise the energy and emissions needed to produce the materials and other components required
for housing construction and on-going maintenance and repair. For a house to be considered as truly
net zero emissions, all of the emissions occurring across every stage of its life must be offset. This
study calculates the life cycle emissions associated with a typical new house located in Melbourne,
Australia. Based on the findings, an estimation is made of the capacity of a solar photovoltaic (PV)
system needed to offset these emissions over the life of the house, including the emissions associated
with the manufacture and maintenance of the PV system itself. It was found that a 14.9 kW system
would be needed. The findings from this paper provide greater insight into the life cycle of global
warming impacts associated with housing and the capacity for them to be offset through on-site solar
energy production.


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