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Technology and information management for low-carbon building
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All buildings worldwide combined use 40% of the global energy and are responsible for one third of global energy-related greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions. The majority of GHG emissions of buildings come from fossil fuel energy in several stages of the life cycle of the building; 80%–90% of GHG emissions of buildings are emitted in the operations stage; 10%–20% GHG emissions are from embodied energy and carbon emissions related to construction stage. The greatest potential for low-hanging fruit in cost effective, quick, deep GHG reduction and mitigation is found in the construction industry. With currently available and proven technologies, reductions in energy consumption on both new and existing buildings are estimated to achieve 30%–80%. When costs of implementing energy reduction technologies are offset by energy savings, there is potential for a net profit over the life span of the building. Much has been done to study energy reductions, define GHG emissions, and develop metrics and protocols for measuring and reporting carbon emissions. This paper addresses the “How.” How energy consumption of a house was reduced almost 70%. How CO2 emission was reduced 44%. How embodied GHG emissions of the house were measured and certified carbon neutral. How USGBC LEED for Homes platinum certification was attained. How actual savings from energy reductions are able to pay back up-front cost of implementing technologies and begin earning a profit in fifteen years. How reducing electric consumption has the greatest impact in reducing energy costs and reducing CO2 emissions compared to propane and #2 fuel oil. How earning LEED points provided a surprise benefit of mitigating overall GHG emissions by earning carbon offsets. How these achievements and findings were accomplished in the reconstruction of one home.
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