Building service life and its effect on the life cycle embodied energy of buildings

Abdul Rauf, Robert H. Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)


The building sector is responsible for significant energy demands. An understanding of where this occurs across the building life cycle is critical for optimal targeting of energy reduction efforts. The energy embodied in a building can be significant, yet is not well understood, especially the on-going 'recurrent' embodied energy associated with material replacement and building refurbishment. A key factor affecting this 'recurrent' embodied energy is a building's service life. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the service life and the life cycle embodied energy of buildings. The embodied energy of a detached residential building was calculated for a building service life range of 1-150 years. The results show that variations in building service life can have a considerable effect on the life cycle embodied energy demand of a building. A 29% reduction in life cycle embodied energy was found for the case study building by extending its life from 50 to 150 years. This indicates the importance of including recurrent embodied energy in building life cycle energy analyses as well as integrating building service life considerations when designing and managing buildings for improved energy performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Building service life
  • Life cycle embodied energy
  • Life cycle energy analysis
  • Recurrent embodied energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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