Circular economy and Life cycle assessment of building materials: Glimåkra eco-village

University essay from Lunds universitet/Energi och ByggnadsDesign; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för arkitektur och byggd miljö

Abstract: The building industry is continuously adapting to the changing needs and demands. The rise in emissions, depletion of resources and accumulating waste are some of the important problems that have to be addressed by architects all over the world today. In this context, the thesis addresses these problems through informed building material choices and exploring the potential of circular use of resources. The main objective of this study is the architectural design for an eco-village in Glimåkra, Skåne, Sweden with a focus on developing a method for assessment of new and reused building materials. It also attempts to apply the principles of circular economy to building construction and to document the benefits of circular use of resources on the environment. It also looks into the economic feasibility of such measures. The environmental impact of the materials was studied in three stages. First, the life-cycle impact of various new materials was compared for each component like insulation, structure, cladding to determine the material with the lowest impact. Second, the overall impact of each component was compared with other components. The components with the highest impact were replaced with reused materials or lower-impact material or construction. Third, the annual overall impact of the building was compared with the annual carrying capacity of the earth for a single-family home. The results of the study show that wood-based materials and hempcrete had the lowest environmental impact while new PVC windows, concrete and EPS had the highest impact. It was also observed that transportation of materials led to high global warming potential. The study also shows the environmental benefits of reusing materials. Reusing materials can reduce Carbon dioxide emissions to a great extent. However, it is not yet economically feasible to do so.

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