Life Cycle Assessment of a 5 Storey Residential Building in Parkville
27th July 2015
This study compares the life cycle environmental impacts of two multilevel residential buildings built in Australia.
The first building (‘Study building’) incorporated an innovative light weight building approach using a stick-built timber frame and a ‘cassette floor’ building system. The second (‘Reference Building’) used a more typical building approach, incorporating precast concrete panels and suspended concrete slab floors.
The Study Building had reduced environmental impacts in three out of five impact categories versus the Reference Building (climate change: 2% better, ozone depletion: 17% better, abiotic depletion: 3% better). In the photochemical oxidation category the Reference Building was 9% less than the Study Building. Two impact categories, eutrophication and acidification were found to be inconclusive.
The Study Building’s environmental advantages stem from its light weight design which uses one third of the materials of the Reference Building, and from the use of lower intensity materials. The Study Building’s larger photochemical oxidation impact is due to expected emissions from timber as it degrades in landfill and to transport related emissions associated with the material supply chain.