Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Life cycle assessment of a single-family residential building in Canada: A case study


life cycle assessment, residential building, sensitivity analysis, renovation, Canada


The present study quantified the significant environmental impacts of a two-story residential building located in Vancouver, Canada, with a projected 60-year life span: (i) an inventory of all the construction materials was analyzed, covering the building structure and exterior and interior envelopes as well as the energy consumption; (ii) four types of functional units were defined; (iii) the five top building materials were examined, and a sensitivity analysis was conducted to investigate the impact associated with the choice of building materials. Two life cycle phases, manufacturing and operation, were more significant in all of the impact categories, and two building assemblies, the walls and the roof, bore most of the environmental loads. In terms of the sensitivity analysis, the roofing asphalt had the largest impact, dominating three of the seven selected impact categories. Despite different definitions of functional units, the function of the dwelling buildings is always the same, to provide protection and housing for their habitants. Additionally, to improve the performance of an existing building, several strategies were proposed for the building renovation and maintenance, including alternative replacement materials regarding the building components with high environmental burdens, good patterns of the occupants’ consumption behaviors as well as considerations of the financial and environmental cost. Finally, limitations and challenges are discussed to explore better design decisions in future studies.


Tsinghua University Press