ASSESSMENT OF BUILDING LIFECYLE CARBON EMISSIONS
University of Kansas
Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering
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Even though the Carbon Capture & Sequestration Technologies (CC & ST) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology initiated carbon emission research in late 1990s (CSI, 2013), carbon emissions has only become a hot topic in the last decade since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. CC & ST is a protocol to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) to overcome global climate change due to human activity. The protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005 and the entire Annex I countries ratified the protocol, with the exception of the United States. The U.S. already had a policy in place so that the country`s carbon emissions were to be reduced by 7% from 1990 emission levels by 2012. Federal and state governments along with the private sector need to prepare for reductions in carbon emissions. The construction industry contributes over 40% of carbon emissions and generates significant amount of construction and demolition debris which is deposited into landfills. While some of the debris can be reused, recycled, and used as biomass fuel for energy. Building operations consume significant amounts of energy, but there are only a few comprehensive studies that estimate carbon emissions considering the whole building lifecycle. Many of these studies are conducted in independent carbon phases, which may miss emissions that an end-to-end review would capture. The purpose of this research is to develop methods to estimate and evaluate the carbon emissions and the environmental impact throughout a building lifecycle (from building construction to building demolition). This research integrates prior models and methods, in order to establish comprehensive models and methods that would more accurately measure, track and quantify carbon- and environmental-related features, factors and variables. This research uses information and data that span four projects ranging from current green building designs, ways to determine the carbon emissions and carbon emission reduction of green features in green buildings, to the carbon residues of disposal materials. The first part of the research examines the operating carbon emissions of buildings. The operation data was gathered from Kansas Department of Transportation and the data is used in the analysis. The data is divided into building address, energy consumption per area, and carbon emissions per area. To complete the lifecycle study of buildings, a calorimeter is considered in the proposed framework to find the energy generated from the combustion of demolition waste. The research establishes a comprehensive framework of carbon emission modeling that includes the modeling of energy use, water consumption, energy efficient technology, material production, transportation, and the end-of-life analysis of construction materials. The comprehensive framework of carbon emission modeling will establish the much needed framework that the industry needs to accurately and reliably estimate carbon emissions throughout a building lifecycle. The individual modeling methods used offer a methodology for carbon emissions estimation that can be applied to building parts and materials that are not covered by this research.
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