Carbon emissions from buildings based on a life cycle analysis: carbon reduction measures and effects of green building standards in China

Zhenwei Guo, Qingqin Wang, Na Zhao and Ruiye Dai

Carbon emissions from buildings account for approximately half of China’s total social carbon emissions. Focusing only on the carbon emissions of building operation tends to neglect the carbon emissions of other related parts of the building sector, thus slowing down the progress of carbon peaking in the building sector. By applying life-cycle analysis to calculate carbon emissions throughout the building’s life cycle, the performance of carbon emissions at each stage of building materials, construction, operation and end-of-life demolition can be identified, so that carbon reduction strategies in building design can be selected.. This paper constructed a method for calculating the carbon emissions of green buildings in whole-building life cycle, and conducted a summary analysis of the carbon emissions of 33 projects that were awarded green building certification.

The study found that the Chinese Assessment Standard for Green Buildings has a significant effect on reducing the carbon emissions of buildings in whole-building life cycle. Compared with the current average operational carbon emissions of buildings in China, the carbon intensity of green public buildings is 41.43% lower under this standard and the carbon intensity of green residential buildings is 13.99% lower. A carbon correlation analysis of the provisions of the current Chinese Assessment Standard for Green Buildings was conducted, comparing the changes in the carbon intensity of buildings before and after the revision of the standards. The study concluded that the new version of the standards has a greater impact on public buildings than residential buildings, the requirement of carbon emission reduction in the production stage of building materials is strengthened in terms of carbon emission during the whole-building life cycle. This study addresses the current problem of unclear carbon emission reduction effect of green buildings.



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