Comparative Energy Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment of Innovative Residential Wall Systems in Cold Regions

Xinrui Lu, Ali M. Memari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This research mainly focused on energy simulation for residential buildings with different types of wall systems in Boston. Building-envelope systems have a significant influence on the whole building's energy performance, and therefore quantitative comparisons are of interest. In this study, several types of high-performance wall systems, including advanced framing, structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms, and the exterior insulation and finish system, as well as the most common wood-stud wall system, were studied with the use of building energy simulation. The results show that all of these types of wall systems effectively reduce the annual energy consumption, and the insulated concrete form is the best-performing method and has annual energy savings of 8.94% compared with the standard 50.8 × 101.6 mm (2 × 4 in.) wood-frame wall in Boston. The results also validate the anti-insulation effect at Philadelphia and Syracuse, which means that in some cases, increasing the insulation beyond a certain level may actually increase the use of energy for cooling. A life-cycle assessment was also performed, and the results show that the insulated concrete form wall system with a 152.4-mm (6-in.) concrete core has the best long-term energy performance, with overall life-cycle savings of 8%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04019015
JournalPractice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

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Forms (concrete)
Insulation
Life cycle
Wood
Energy conservation
Energy utilization
Concretes
Cooling
Cold
Life Cycle
Energy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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title = "Comparative Energy Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment of Innovative Residential Wall Systems in Cold Regions",
abstract = "This research mainly focused on energy simulation for residential buildings with different types of wall systems in Boston. Building-envelope systems have a significant influence on the whole building's energy performance, and therefore quantitative comparisons are of interest. In this study, several types of high-performance wall systems, including advanced framing, structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms, and the exterior insulation and finish system, as well as the most common wood-stud wall system, were studied with the use of building energy simulation. The results show that all of these types of wall systems effectively reduce the annual energy consumption, and the insulated concrete form is the best-performing method and has annual energy savings of 8.94{\%} compared with the standard 50.8 × 101.6 mm (2 × 4 in.) wood-frame wall in Boston. The results also validate the anti-insulation effect at Philadelphia and Syracuse, which means that in some cases, increasing the insulation beyond a certain level may actually increase the use of energy for cooling. A life-cycle assessment was also performed, and the results show that the insulated concrete form wall system with a 152.4-mm (6-in.) concrete core has the best long-term energy performance, with overall life-cycle savings of 8{\%}.",
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