University of Twente Student Theses


Whole Life Carbon Thinking : market and data analysis of whole life carbon in Dutch renovation projects

Eversmann, H.Y.N. (2022) Whole Life Carbon Thinking : market and data analysis of whole life carbon in Dutch renovation projects.

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Abstract:The building and construction sector is notorious for its high emissions. The transition from being emission-heavy to a net-zero built environment is acknowledged as an important step in fighting climate change as a whole. Nonetheless, the choices that market players and other relevant stakeholders continuously make in this context are mainly focused on the so-called operational carbon emissions: the emissions resulting from the use of a building. Emissions resulting from certain materials, processes and technologies used for the construction, renovation and demolition of a building, called embodied carbon emissions, are often overlooked. Meanwhile, embodied carbon can is accounting for an increasing share of a buildings environmental impact over its entire lifetime. With the intend to motivate key stakeholders to reduce embodied as well as operational carbon in their renovation projects, this research is about finding the market and strategic value of doing so and developing a data-driven tool to facilitate this value. Specifically, the drivers and barriers for parties in this socio-technical system to acknowledge embodied carbon as a key aspect to sustainable construction are searched for. Relevant literature, stakeholders, and (inter)national policies were analyzed. Thermal insulation renovation of dwellings, specifically terraced houses, was chosen as a proper starting point to focus the tool on. The most important actors in this field are identified to be investors and developers. Main barriers and drivers for these stakeholders were identified in the context of policies and the market. The indicated barriers include vagueness in policy context and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations, higher initial investment costs and the rewarding of reducing operational as opposed to embodied carbon. Drivers are found in future tightening of policies, such as the European Trading System and its overarching European Green Deal, and the increase of monetary value for the real estate, as well as less tangible benefits such as enhanced corporate reputation. A tool was made that shows the environmental and monetary effects of thermal insulation renovations in order to overcome the barriers and enhance the mentioned drivers. The scenario studies done by applying this tool show that renovations can cost more, both financially and environmentally, than desired.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Arcadis, Amersfoort, Netherlands
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:30 exact sciences in general, 43 environmental science, 50 technical science in general, 52 mechanical engineering, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Sustainable Energy Technology MSc (60443)
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