Simplified life cycle assessment: Applied to structural insulated panels homes, PLEA 2012

<p>As environmental issues continue to become increasingly significant, buildings become more energy efficient and the energy needs for their operation decreases. Thus, the energy required for construction and the material production, is getting of greater importance. This research shows a simplified life cycle analysis study of operational and embodied energy of four new houses located in Temuco - Chile, structured with SIP (Structural insulated panel), in order to quantify the energy at each stage of this construction system. To obtain embodied energy were used two databases in order to quantify the energy of each material, Inventory of Carbon & Energy (ICE), 2008, University of Bath, Inglaterra and New Zealand Building materials embodied energy coefficients database. Volume II – Coefficients, 1998, Victoria University of Wellington, and the energy contained in the panel assembly process, transport and construction of the houses was determined by a data collection company specializing in the construction of houses built in SIP. For the operational energy, computational models were carried out with Design Builder software, with information of the house from thermography and infiltration essays, and this energy was projected at 50 years lifespan. The analysis of the data obtained show that the energy contained by construction processes represents about 1.7% of embodied energy, while the total energy embodied represents 11% of the total life cycle energy of houses, the remaining 89% represents the energy of occupation. On the other hand, we observe that SIP houses generate figures close to 60% savings in energy demand, compared to a common masonry houses with no method of thermal insulation, which were commonly built in this city.</p>