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Holistic study of a timber double skin façade: Whole life carbon emissions and structural optimisation

Pomponi, Francesco; D'Amico, Bernardino



The upkeep of existing buildings has a great role to play in reducing the carbon emissions of the built environ-ment. Façade upgrade represents one of the most effective interventions to improve both thermal efficiencyand aesthetic appeal of existing buildings. Double Skin Façades (DSFs) have much to offer due to their use ofsolar and wind energy to passively heat and cool indoor spaces, whilst guaranteeing freedom and flexibility inthe aesthetic design of the refurbished building. However, DSFs also bear an increase in the embodied energyand carbon due to the additional materials required for the extra skin throughout all life cycle stages.In this article, life cycle assessment (LCA) and dynamic energy modelling have been combined througha parametric approach to obtain figures for the whole-life cycle carbon assessment of 384 different config-urations of an innovative, timber-made DSF for UK low-carbon refurbishments. Additionally, the structuraldesign of the façade was also investigated through a structural optimisation procedure which takes into ac-count all relevant loads and ensures minimal use of the structural material. Results show that operational sav-ings outweigh the embodied impacts and therefore the proposed DSF is a viable and effective solution for netcarbon-negative refurbishments. The operational energy modelling also contributes to the characterisation ofDSFs thermal behaviour in temperate climates.


Pomponi, F., & D'Amico, B. (2017). Holistic study of a timber double skin façade: Whole life carbon emissions and structural optimisation. Building and Environment, 124, 42-56.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 9, 2017
Journal Building and Environment
Print ISSN 0360-1323
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 124
Pages 42-56
Keywords Double skin façade, Structural timber, Embodied carbon, Whole life carbon, Energy savings, Life cycle assessment (LCA)
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