Life cycle energy and carbon assessment of double skin façades for office refurbishments

Francesco Pomponi*, Poorang A.E. Piroozfar, Ryan Southall, Phil Ashton, Poorang Pirozfar, Eric R.P. Farr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


In countries like the UK, the upkeep of existing buildings is where the greatest opportunities for achieving carbon reduction targets lie. Façades are the physical barriers between outdoors and indoors, and their upgrade can arguably be amongst the most effective interventions to improve the existing stock. Double Skin Façades (DSFs) represent a possible solution for low-carbon refurbishment due to their capability to reduce energy consumption, and the related carbon emissions, of the building they are applied to. Although much research exists on maximising the operational energy savings of DSFs, little is known about their life cycle performance. This article addresses such a knowledge gap through a comparative life cycle assessment between DSF refurbishments and an up-to-standard, single-skin alternative. This study adopts a parametric approach where 128 DSF configurations have been analysed through primary data. Energy and carbon (both operational and embodied) are the units assessed in this research. Results show that DSFs are more energy-efficient than single-skin in 98% of the cases, and more carbon-efficient in 85% of the cases. Not only does this study represent the first broad parametric approach to evaluating life cycle energy and carbon of DSFs within its given context, but it also informs environmentally-aware design and application of DSFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Double skin façade
  • Embodied carbon
  • Embodied energy
  • Global warming potential
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Low-carbon refurbishment

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