Shedding light on the efforts into the rehabilitation of a major culprit of carbon emissions: A scientometric analysis of net-zero in the built environment sector

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Abstract

Recent global commitments towards net-zero 2050 have resulted in an increased interest within a number of industries. The built environment has been identified as a major culprit contributing to the ongoing complex problem of carbon emissions. In an attempt to reveal the efforts, put into alleviating this challenge, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of the literature on net-zero (energy and GHG emissions) in the built environment over the last two decades. In this study, well-established bibliometric and scientometric techniques are deployed to map the scientific domains by developing and analysing the resulting co-citation and keyword co-occurrence network developed from the bibliometric data from 1934 peer-reviewed articles retrieved from the SCOPUS database.

The most significant contributions in net-zero research have originated primarily from UK, USA, and China. The results of the network analysis identified seven foundational themes of research - greenhouse gas emission, deep decarbonisation, earth material, residential building, high-rise building, displacement, ventilation, and walling element. The burst analysis revealed how a number of emerging digital technologies in the sector present opportunities to optimise future developments towards the attainment of a net-zero emission built environment. To address the complexity associated with emissions caused by the built environment, the findings suggest that there is a need to expand the current LCA assessments to a broader, industry-wide scale, beyond the predominant ‘single building case study’ as the unit of reference. Moreover, the national net-zero pathway studies should aim to extend beyond the operational emission scenarios, and into assessing the impacts on materials and embedded emissions, which has grown exponentially.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112119
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume266
Early online date21 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2022

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