Embodied Energy Versus Building Height, The “Premium” of Building Tall
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Smart and sustainable cities require a higher population density, and thus taller buildings. The general idea is that we can “invest” more into buildings, since we can “save” on transportation. But is there an optimal building height in cities? In this paper we explore the “premium” of building tall, with respect to the embodied energy of construction materials and technical systems. This paper is a first step towards understanding cities total energy consumption. In this context a CO2 premium means: increased greenhouse gas emissions per square meter area with increasing building height. The analysis is carried out through a Life Cycle Assessment, using Simapro. The scope of the study is limited to cradle-to-gate. The results show that there is a small premium of building tall on a per square meter basis. But there are large variations between the embodied energy of buildings, built with different construction materials. It is therefore of crucial importance to select the right construction materials in future projects, in order to move towards smart and sustainable cities.