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Whole-life design and resource reuse of a solar water heater in the UK

Saint, Ruth M; Pomponi, Francesco; Garnier, Celine; Currie, John I


Ruth M Saint

Francesco Pomponi

Celine Garnier


Passive solar systems are often designed primarily with efficiency in mind, and research efforts are concentrated towards gaining an increase in performance. However, due to the multiple materials used, their manufacturing processes, a lifespan that is usually shorter than that of buildings that these systems are applied to and the waste generated when they have reached the end of their useful life, a more holistic approach to the design and performance of these systems should be adopted. This paper reports on the environmental impact of a unique integrated collector–storage solar water heater design, experimentally tested under Scottish weather conditions, considering circular economy and reuse potential. As such, the material flows and components used are mapped against the life-cycle stages of existing European standards while ensuring an optimal efficiency. End-of-life considerations and design for disassembly and reuse are assessed and discussed. Energy payback times of 4·5 and 4·6 years can be realised for a circular and a linear approach, respectively. Operational carbon dioxide savings, which far outstrip the embodied carbon dioxide, demonstrate carbon dioxide payback times of just 7 months, when replacing an electric system. The results show that a holistic design, which promotes circular economy principles, does not compromise efficiency and economic viability


Saint, R. M., Pomponi, F., Garnier, C., & Currie, J. I. (2019). Whole-life design and resource reuse of a solar water heater in the UK. Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability, 172(3), 153-164.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2019
Publication Date 2019-05
Deposit Date Mar 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 16, 2020
Journal Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability
Print ISSN 1478-4629
Electronic ISSN 1751-7680
Publisher ICE Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 172
Issue 3
Pages 153-164
Keywords recycling & reuse of materials; renewable energy; sustainability;
Public URL


Whole-life design and resource reuse of a solar water heater in the UK (533 Kb)

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