Design for Dematerialisation: examining an approach for reducing the life cycle energy requirements of residential buildings
AuthorSkillington, K; Crawford, RH
Source TitleIOP Conference Series : Earth and Environmental Science
University of Melbourne Author/sCrawford, Robert
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSkillington, K. & Crawford, R. H. (2020). Design for Dematerialisation: examining an approach for reducing the life cycle energy requirements of residential buildings. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 588 (3), https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/588/3/032049.
Access StatusOpen Access
Responsible for significant energy demand and emissions, the building sector has an opportunity to contribute to global sustainability efforts. In creating resilient and sustainable human settlements, alternative design approaches that address life cycle energy requirements are needed. Design for Dematerialisation is one such approach that aims to lower life cycle energy requirements by reducing material and resource inputs. Yet, despite its conceptual simplicity, the application of the approach within the building sector and its effect on life cycle energy demand is poorly understood. This study seeks to briefly outline the approach from the perspective of the building sector and examine the effect of dematerialisation actions on the life cycle energy requirements of a multi-residential building in Melbourne, Australia. This study demonstrates that while an effect is observed – most notably in recurrent embodied energy – a partial rebound effect exists. Savings from the reduction of key materials and components are partially negated by the energy intensity of alternative materials introduced, and/or additional elements required to maintain the building’s fitness-for-purpose. The assessment highlights the need for designers to address energy performance holistically, by taking into account the effect of actions on multiple life cycle stages concurrently. By employing this considered approach, dematerialisation has the potential to be an accessible strategy for designers tasked with creating sustainable, resilient urban settlements.
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