Life cycle assessment of domestic hot water systems: a comparative analysis

Poorang Piroozfar*, Francesco Pomponi, Eric R.P. Farr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On average, hot water is responsible for 18% of residential energy consumption and corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Several domestic hot water systems (DHWSs) are commonly used but their life cycle impacts are yet to be established comprehensively. This is due to those impacts varying significantly within the context and the system boundaries of the assessment. This article reports findings from a comparative cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) of five DHWSs in the UK context. Primary data acquired from a case study contributed to achieving accurate life cycle inventories that were then modelled in SimaPro through the ecoinvent database. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the impact assessment method used. Amongst the five types, solar heater with electric backup appears to be the least damaging alternative. The study also reinforces the importance of adopting a cradle-to-grave approach if LCA results are to accurately reflect environmental impacts holistically and lead to better, more informed decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Management
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • domestic hot water systems
  • life cycle assessment
  • life cycle impact assessment
  • life cycle inventory
  • solar heater

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