Life cycle sustainability assessment of office buildings, from smart to sustainable

To reduce energy demand associated with the building sector, the major focus has been on improving the energy efficiency of the building operational phase. Monitoring energy use has been a major element of this focus, which often includes the use of various sensing and control systems. The collected data provides an opportunity for diagnosis in real time to better understand and improve both thermal comfort and energy efficiency. This trend has led to an increasing demand for automation and sensing infrastructures. While this infrastructure aims to minimise energy demand within buildings, it also results in an increase of a building’s embodied energy, for the manufacture and maintenance of the infrastructure. This project will consider the life cycle social, environmental and economic implications of the use of building sensor and energy control systems by conducting a detailed life cycle assessment in the context of office buildings. This will help determine the extent to which this smart technology improves the potential sustainability of a building. Recommendations and guidelines will be developed on appropriate material selection, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of sensors and controls for improving building performance.

Supervisors:

The University of Melbourne: Robert Crawford, Lu Aye, Behzad Rismanchi, and Felix Hui

RWTH Aachen: Marzia Traverso and Sabrina Neugebauer