Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

A nZEB housing structure derived from end of life containers: Energy, lighting and life cycle assessment


life cycle assessment, lighting, nearly Zero Energy Building, building simulation, containers


The Directive 2010/31/EU is stimulating new approaches in building design process and renewable energies exploitation through the concept of nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB). The paper reports an attempt of designing nearly zero energy buildings using end-of-life shipping containers named HPP, which can be used for emergency housing scopes, but also for forestries and low cost housing projects. These devices were analyzed from an energy, environmental and lighting point of view using respectively EnergyPlus, SimaPro and DIALux. For each case study, three different floor areas, i.e. 14 m2 (S type), 7 m2 (XS) and 5.6 m2 (XXS), and three wall coatings (Corten steel, Corian and wood) were considered. The key aspect of HPPs is the use of moving furniture attached to horizontal rails fixed on the ceilings; it allows to modify the room usage by changing the allocation of the indoor elements. Each HPP is equipped with PV modules and a rainwater recovering system. Energy demand of HPPs was simulated in unsteady regime taking into account thermal insulation of the envelope and HVAC system characteristics. Lighting systems were designed to guarantee adequate indoor illuminance values considering different furniture configurations and the effect of natural and artificial light. A cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the HPP module was performed to assess the potential environmental impacts in terms of primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. Sound insulation of one HPP configuration was also assessed. The simulations demonstrate that the HPP modules solution can be considered a nearly zero energy building and they are also able to guarantee a comfortable living not only for short-term periods, in particular the largest one.


Tsinghua University Press