Life-cycle design and multi-objective optimization of residential building envelope and systems

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School of Engineering | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2018-01-26
Degree programme
81 + app. 77
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 252/2017
The building sector is undergoing a transition, where the aim is to build energy efficient, cost-optimal and carbon-optimal buildings. One such example in terms of regulation is European performance of buildings directive (EPBD), where EU member states agreed that by the end of 2020 all new buildings are to be nearly zero energy building. Here, the focus is to reduce the operational energy (heating, electricity, cooling etc.) needs of a building, although at the same time there is a rise in energy demand in building elements production and construction phase (i.e, embodied energy). Thereby, the present dissertation argues with the conventional design approach based on only operational energy. This dissertation uses simulation, life cycle analysis and life cycle optimization as methods to design life cycle energy efficient, cost-optimal and carbon-optimal building envelope and services through case studies for residential building in Finland. For building envelope, the life cycle energy balance of different structural alternatives is shown. It is found that energy differences between considered structural concepts are rather visible in the production stage of building and energy benefit from material recycling. Among the considered advanced window technologies, in general vacuum window and in some conditions PV window provide maximum life cycle cost savings for the case study building in Finland. The energy-cost optimization study shows that many of the non-dominated optimal solutions shows higher U-value or, thinner insulation obtained from life cycle optimization compared to conventional operational phase optimization. Moreover, the pareto fronts obtained from life cycle optimization are steeper in nature towards the head, compared to the pareto fronts obtained from operational optimization. In carbon-cost optimization study, the results shows that heating system is a dominant design variable, which results in clearly separated pareto fronts for each systems. The embodied carbon is 39% and 28% of life cycle carbon footprint for a carbon-optimal and cost-optimal solution respectively obtained in the case study. The results obtained from the early building design optimization case study are rather obvious, but it shows the power of multi-objective optimization for aiding early design decisions. Finally, the results of this dissertation can contribute towards the design of life cycle low energy or low carbon cost effective optimized building.
Supervising professor
Sirén, Kai, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Finland
Thesis advisor
Alanne, Kari, Dr., Aalto University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Finland
sustainable buildings, life cycle optimization, building envelope, life cycle analysis, embodied energy, energy/carbon-cost optimality
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: Atsushi Takano, Sudip Kumar Pal, Matti Kuittinen, Kari Alanne, Mark Hughes, Stefan Winter. 2015. The effect of material selection on life cycle energy balance: A case study on a hypothetical building model in Finland. Building and Environment, Vol. 89, pp. 192-202.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.03.001 View at publisher
  • [Publication 2]: Sudip Kumar Pal, Kari Alanne, Juha Jokisalo, Kai Siren. 2016. Energy performance and economic viability of advanced window technologies for a new Finnish townhouse concept, Applied Energy, Vol. 162, pp. 11-20.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.10.056 View at publisher
  • [Publication 3]: Sudip Kumar Pal, Atsushi Takano, Kari Alanne, Kai Siren. Integrating architectural and energy viewpoint for a multi-objective optimization during early design stage. Proceedings of the 3rd IBPSA-England Conference Building Simulation and Optimization (BSO) 2016, IBPSA-England, Newcastle University, 28-35, ISBN: 978-0-7017-0258-8.
  • [Publication 4]: Sudip Kumar Pal, Atsushi Takano, Kari Alanne, Matti Palonen, Kai Siren. 2017. A multi-objective life cycle approach for optimal building design: A case study in Finnish context. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 143, pp. 1021-1035.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.018 View at publisher
  • [Publication 5]: Sudip Kumar Pal, Atsushi Takano, Kari Alanne, Kai Siren. 2017. A life cycle approach to optimizing carbon footprint and costs of a residential building. Building and Environment, Vol. 123, pp. 146-162.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.06.051 View at publisher