Integrated life cycle energy and greenhouse gas analysis of exterior wall systems for residential buildings

Reza Broun*, Hamed Babaizadeh, Abolfazl Zakersalehi, Gillian F. Menzies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the breakdown of primary energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of two common types of exterior walls in the U.K.: insulated concrete form (ICF) and cavity walls. A comprehensive assessment was conducted to evaluate the environmental performance of each exterior wall system over 50 years of service life in Edinburgh and Bristol. The results indicate that for both wall systems, use phase is the major contributor to the overall environmental impacts, mainly due to associated electricity consumption. For the ICF wall system in Edinburgh, 91% of GHG emissions were attributed to the use phase, with 7.8% in the pre-use and 1.2% in end-of-life phases. For the same system in Bristol, emissions were 89%, 9% and 2%, respectively. A similar trend was observed for cavity wall systems in both locations. It was concluded that in each scenario, the ICF wall system performed better when compared to the cavity wall system. The results of the sensitivity analysis clearly show that the uncertainties relevant to the change of the thickness of the wall are quite tolerable: variable up to 5%, as far as energy and greenhouse emissions are concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8592-8603
Number of pages12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Building envelope
  • Exterior wall system
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG)
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Primary energy
  • Residential building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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