Calculating green house gas emissions for buildings: analysis of the performance of several carbon counting tools in different climates

Informes de la Construccion 01/2010;
Source: DOAJ


The first step to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings is to be able to count them. If this counting is integrated in the design process the impact of architectural design strategies can be evaluated more easily and a building with reduced emissions can be developed. Fifty greenhouse gas calculators and energy modeling software were compared in the main areas in which buildings are responsible for carbon emissions: operation, water, construction, waste and transportation to and from the building. These tools had to be free and easy to use so that they could be used by everybody in the initial phases of the architectural design process, while providing sufficient precision to provide useful input to the designer. The effect of modifying the envelope insulation, the quality of the windows, the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems, and integrating direct gain and night ventilation, on operation emissions was evaluated with two energy modeling tools: HEED and Design Builder. Results demonstrated that implementing appropriate design strategies significantly reduced emissions from operation in all climates. An easy to implement protocol that combines several tools for GHG counting in buildings is provided at the end.El primer paso para reducir las emisiones de gases invernadero generadas por las edificaciones es el poder calcularlas adecuadamente. Si esta actividad se integra al proceso de diseño arquitectónico; entonces el impacto de las estrategias de diseño se puede evaluar más fácilmente; resultando un edificio con menores emisiones. Cincuenta herramientas de cálculo de emisiones y programas de modelaje se compararon en las áreas en las cuales los edificios son responsables de las emisiones de gases invernadero: operación; agua; construcción; basura; y transporte desde y hasta el edificio. Las herramientas comparadas debían ser fáciles de utilizar; pero con suficiente precisión para proveer información de utilidad al diseñador. El efecto en las emisiones; al modificar el aislante de las paredes y cubierta; cambiar la calidad de los vidrios; la eficiencia del sistema de calefacción y enfriamiento; y la integración de sistemas pasivos de ganancia solar directa o de enfriamiento pasivo por ventilación nocturna fueron evaluados con dos programas de modelaje energético: HEED y Design Builder. Los resultados de este análisis demuestran que la implementación apropiada de estrategias de diseño reducen significativamente las emisiones por operación en todos los climas. Al final del artículo se propone un protocolo que combina varias herramientas sencillas para calcular las emisiones de las diferentes fuentes.

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