Investigating the "CO2-premium" for Building Height
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Increased building heights entail greater structural loads, requiring increased material use. On this basis, literature has described a premium for building height consisting of additional material quantity, embodied energy, and/or embodied carbon. This thesis examines a so-called CO2-premium ; that is increased material greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per square meter floor area with increasing building heights. The scope of this thesis is cradle-to-(factory)gate, limited to building structural systems. Heights of three to 70 stories are assessed, as are several structural systems. The calculation was based upon two main sets of factors. Material quantity data of building structures was combined with material GHG emission factors. Material emission factors were treated as a proxy for production conditions. The material quantity data was based upon literature sources. The results oppose the idea of a ubiquitous CO2-premium for height. The premium appears to be non-existent for the buildings up to 12 stories. The 20 story buildings may be heightened up to 30 stories with a negligible premium per story. For taller buildings, the premium is highly dependent upon structural solutions, material choices, and material emission factors. Less favourable material emission scenarios evoke increased premiums. The premium is small for all structural material alternatives in a renewable, low-emission scenario. Excepting the best-case emission scenario, the steel structural alternative performs worse than the reinforced concrete structural alternatives for all building heights.