Niko Heeren

Niko Heeren
Norwegian University of Science and Technology | NTNU · Industrial Ecology Programme

PhD

About

59
Publications
23,427
Reads
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1,307
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2020 - present
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2018 - November 2019
Yale University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2018 - present
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
March 2012 - December 2018
ETH Zurich
Field of study
  • Environmental Engineering

Publications

Publications (59)
Chapter
Full-text available
Demand-side material efficiency potentials are elaborated for housing and cars, showing that increased material efficiency can reduce annual emissions from the construction and operations of buildings and the manufacturing and use of passenger vehicles, thus contributing a couple of gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent in emission reductions to th...
Article
Full-text available
The data record contains Material Intensity data for buildings (MI). MI coefficients are often used for different types of analysis of socio-economic systems and in particular for environmental assessments. Until now, MI values were compiled and reported ad-hoc with few cross-study comparisons. We extracted and converted more than 300 material inte...
Article
In recent literature, the concept of criticality aspires to provide a multifaceted risk assessment of resource supply shortage. However, most existing methodologies for the criticality assessment of raw materials are restricted to a fixed temporal and spatial reference system. They provide a snapshot in time of the equilibrium between supply and de...
Article
Full-text available
Our ability to produce and transform engineered materials over the past 150 years is responsible for our high standards of living today, especially in the developed economies. Yet, we must carefully think of the effects our addiction to creating and using materials at this fast rate will have on the future generations. The way we currently make and...
Article
Full-text available
Effective mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the buildings sector requires a full understanding of the factors influencing emissions over the life-cycle of buildings, particularly in places where large additions to the building stock are expected. Currently, little is known about what affects the GHG emissions of buildings located in w...
Article
Full-text available
Material production accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Resource-efficiency and circular-economy strategies, both industry and demand-focused, promise emission reductions through reducing material use, but detailed assessments of their GHG reduction potential are lacking. We present a global-scale analysis of material e...
Poster
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: Globally, residential buildings have a significant potential where greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by lowering the energy and material demands. Bottom-up building stock modeling approaches facilitate detecting these demands and can be applied in various dimensions by taking individual building characteristics into account. Howeve...
Article
Full-text available
Scenario‐based assessments are a useful tool to explore unknown futures and inform decision makers and the public of the consequences of different courses of action. Scenario developments in industrial ecology have focused on disparate components of the socioeconomic metabolism and case studies, and few efforts of comprehensive and cumulative scena...
Article
The aim of this paper is to develop a simulation framework to minimise the cost associated with commercial greenhouse yields (production cost). Greenhouse energy demand and yield production models are coupled with a cost model to investigate the interaction between energy consumption costs and yield production benefits. The coupled model is defined...
Article
Full-text available
In Switzerland, the advantages of timber buildings for the climate are broadly discussed. In the following paper, a comparative sustainability assessment of four building alternatives is presented. Especially the contribution of implementing Swiss timber versus the implementation of imported timber is highlighted. Additionally, the timber-hybrid bu...
Article
Full-text available
Germany's greenhouse gas emissions have declined by 35% since 1990, and the national policy ambition is to become largely carbon‐neutral by 2050. A change of the industrial landscape and a partial transformation of energy supply have contributed to reductions so far, but for deep reductions, a deep transformation of the country's industrial metabol...
Article
Full-text available
High spatial resolution is critical for a building stock energy model to identify spatial hotspots and provide targeted recommendations for reducing regional energy consumption. However, input uncertainties due to lacking high-resolution spatial data (e.g. building information and occupant behavior) can cause great discrepancies between modeled and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Material production now accounts for 23% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Resource efficiency and circular economy policies promise emission reductions through reducing material use, but their potential contribution to climate change mitigation has not yet been quantified. Here we present a high-resolution approach for tracking material fl...
Article
Full-text available
A transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy is currently underway but may not be rapid enough in order to reach ambitious climate change mitigation targets. Therefore, additional, preferably instantaneous, measures are needed for quick emission reductions, which is where material efficiency (ME) could constitute a promising solution. ME...
Chapter
This chapter explores how the interdisciplinary field of industrial ecology, a blend of environmental science, social science, engineering, and management, can help deliver sustainable development goals (SDGs). As a systems science, industrial ecology provides a source of knowledge that can guide sustainable manufacturing, waste and pollution reduc...
Article
Full-text available
Material production accounts for 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient use of materials—through decoupling of services that support human well‐being from material use—is imperative as other emission mitigation options are expensive. An interdisciplinary scientific assessment of material efficiency and its links to service provision, m...
Article
Full-text available
Fully decarbonizing global industry is essential to achieving climate stabilization, and reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050–2070 is necessary to limit global warming to 2 °C. This paper assembles and evaluates technical and policy interventions, both on the supply side and on the demand side. It identifies measures that, employed to...
Preprint
DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/2ZYV6 A transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy is currently underway but may not be rapid enough in order to reach ambitious climate change mitigation targets. Therefore, additional, preferably instantaneous, measures are needed for quick emissions reductions, which is where material efficiency (ME) could constit...
Article
Circular economy is increasingly promoted as a solution to decouple economic growth and environmental impacts. To design a circular and sustainable system, a structured approach is needed. In this study, we suggest to follow a 3-step approach. First, the status quo is evaluated using environmental assessment methods. We determine current circularit...
Preprint
Scenario-based assessments are a useful tool to explore unknown futures and inform decision makers and the general public of the consequences of different actions or inaction. As an empirically focused science, industrial ecology has described historical resource use and emissions patterns quantitatively but used scenarios intermittently and in an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Material production accounts for 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient use of materials – through decoupling of services that support human wellbeing from material use – is imperative as other emissions mitigation options are expensive. An interdisciplinary scientific assessment of material efficiency and its links to service provisio...
Data
Major update of the industrial ecology database now available! The prototype of an industrial ecology data commons (IEDC), based on a comprehensive data model for socioeconomic metabolism (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jiec.12890) and hosted at the University of Freiburg, Germany, contains now almost 1.1 million data points in 1...
Article
Full-text available
The energy demand of buildings heavily depends on outdoor temperature. Current climate change projections suggest an increase in annual mean temperatures of up to 5.4°C for Switzerland until the end of the century. In this study, an existing bottom-up building stock model is coupled with the latest spatio-temporal climate change projections. This a...
Article
Full-text available
Material flow analysis (MFA) studies the stocks and flows of goods and substances in systems. The methods and algorithms of MFA have improved over the last few years, but a flexible platform that integrates recent modeling advances such as simultaneous consideration of the product, component, material and chemical element levels, lifetime models, a...
Article
Full-text available
Until this day, data in industrial ecology (IE) have been commonly seen as existing within the domain of particular methods or models, such as input–output, life cycle assessment, urban metabolism, or material flow analysis data. This artificial division of data into methods contradicts the common phenomena described by those data: the objects and...
Article
The aim of this study is to investigate the most important drivers of environmental impacts and identify the influence of parameters on the uncertainty of the environmental impacts in various climate zones and future climate scenarios. We couple a combined greenhouse energy demand-yield simulation tool with a life cycle assessment to identify the d...
Article
Full-text available
As one quarter of global energy use serves the production of materials, the more efficient use of these materials presents a significant opportunity for the mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With the renewed interest of policy makers in the circular economy, material efficiency (ME) strategies such as light-weighting and downsizing of a...
Article
In the next decades, a large share of residential buildings in EU-28 is expected to be renovated to achieve the 2 C target requested by the Paris Agreement by 2050. Bio-based materials used for increasing the thermal insulation and temporary store carbon in construction elements might be a valuable opportunity that can contribute to accelerate the...
Article
Full-text available
A rapidly increasing use of building materials poses threats to resources and the environment. Using novel, localized life cycle inventories and building material intensity data, this study quantifies the resource use of building materials in mainland China and evaluates their embodied environmental impacts. Newly built floor area and related mater...
Article
Greenhouses are complex systems that require considerable amounts of energy. In order to optimize their performance, it is necessary to reduce the amount of energy per unit of crop produced. This requires a combined assessment of greenhouse energy balance and crop growth, as well as their interaction. In this work, more than 30 existing greenhouse...
Conference Paper
Besides governmental consumption, household consumption is the main driver of economy, and is thus ultimately responsible for the environmental impacts that occur over the whole life cycle of products and services that households consume. Therefore, assessing environmen-tal footprints of households is an important basis to identify environmental po...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster presentation at the Gordon Research Conference in Les Diablerets, Switzerland may 2018
Article
Full-text available
Construction material plays an increasingly important role in the environmental impacts of buildings. In order to investigate impacts of materials on a building level, we present a bottom-up building stock model that uses three-dimensional and geo-referenced building data to determine volumetric information of material stocks in Swiss residential b...
Article
In this study, the objective is to redesign a previous concept for a single-family Zero greenhouse gas Emission Building (ZEB). The concept is redesigned based on comparing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission loads and compensation from different design solutions applied in Norwegian single-family ZEB pilot buildings and selected sensitivity studies. The...
Article
Full-text available
With the growth of the field of industrial ecology (IE), research and results have increased significantly leading to a desire for better utilization of the accumulated data in more sophisticated analyses. This implies the need for greater transparency, accessibility, and reusability of IE data, paralleling the considerable momentum throughout the...
Article
Building heat demand is responsible for a significant share of the total global final energy consumption. Building stock models with a high spatio-temporal resolution are a powerful tool to investigate the effects of new building policies aimed at increasing energy efficiency, the introduction of new heating technologies or the integration of build...
Article
Full-text available
In order to reduce the energy demand of the building sector the energy demand of existing buildings need to be reduced. However, the retrofit of buildings is a complex task. Many options, such as replacing windows, improving the building envelope or replacing the heating system are available to improve the energy efficiency of a building or lower c...
Article
Full-text available
Material usage and the related embodied environmental impact have grown in significance in the built environment. Therefore, cities and governments need to develop strategies to reduce both the consumption of resources during usage phase as well as the embodied impact of the current building stock. This article proposes a new component-based buildi...
Poster
Full-text available
Household demand for products and services triggers a multitude of economic activities along the supply chain of each product and service, involving the use of resources and the release of emissions. Assessing environmental footprints of households is thus an important basis to identify environmental strategies. This study aimed to develop a compre...
Article
Different designs and concepts of low-energy and zero-emission buildings (ZEBs) are being introduced into the Norwegian market. This study analyses and compares the life cycle emissions of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) from eight different single-family houses in the Oslo climate. Included are four ZEBs: one active house, two passive houses, and a referen...
Article
We assess the environmental impact of a dynamic, adaptive, building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems. Such systems combine the benefits of adaptive shading with facade integrated solar tracking, thus reducing the building energy demand, and simultaneously generating electricity on-site. The inventory for the life cycle assessment (LCA) was ac...
Article
The goal of this study was to identify drivers of environmental impact and quantify their influence on the environmental performance of wooden and massive residential and office buildings. We performed a life cycle assessment and used thermal simulation to quantify operational energy demand and to account for differences in thermal inertia of build...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Most LCA studies lately have been dealing with the dilemmas which material is more energy-efficient to use: wood or steel, concrete or wood? Unlike to this perception this project takes the idea of Mediterranean vernacular architecture where it has been a tradition for long centuries to compose different – heavy and light-weight – materials in one...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Wood has typically lower environmental impacts compared to other materials. However, it also has reduced capacity to store thermal energy, potentially causing increased operating energy demand. Here we investigate this trade-off between environmental impacts of the construction and operating phase and examine key factors determining the overall env...
Article
Household consumption, apart from governmental consumption, is the main driver of worldwide economy. Attached to each household purchase are economic activities along the preceding supply chain, with the associated resource use and emissions. A method to capture and assess all these resource uses and emissions is life cycle assessment. We developed...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This project develops a heat demand and supply concept for the City of Zurich within the framework of the 2000 Watt society. Heat and electricity demand and supply were simulated with a building stock model that aggregates buildings that are similar by type, construction period, usage, and location, etc. by using building specific information of an...
Article
Full-text available
Switzerland declared the notion of the 2000 Watt society as their leitmotif towards a sustainable development in terms of energy and greenhouse gas emissions. This implies that worldwide, no more than 17,520 kWh of total primary energy and 1 ton CO2-equivalent are to be consumed per capita and year for all services. Thus, in order to meet the targe...
Article
Full-text available
Achieving a sustainable urban future has become an important focus globally. In this paper, three major themes of a sustainable urban future are presented: a low carbon society, cities in the context of an ageing population and revitalization of the urban–rural fringe. Visions of these themes, in the context of highly industri-alized regions, are d...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This is a G7 / UNEP-IRP project headed by Edgar Hertwich and the Yale center for Industrial Ecology. The aim of the project was to quantify potential climate change benefits of resource efficiency strategies. Final report is available here: https://www.resourcepanel.org/reports/resource-efficiency-and-climate-change
Project
With the building stock model we support national and medium-large municipal authorities and utilities directly in bridging climate change mitigation, urban development, and energy planning to implement effective policy measures and to evaluate new business models. http://www.tep-energy.ch/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=138&Itemid=58