Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy to the Technological University Dublin, October, 2010.


Given a general lack of research on Irish construction greenhouse gas emissions, a subsectoral embodied carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) analysis of this sector has been undertaken with the aim of overcoming some methodological challenges such as system boundary constraints, input-output aggregation, double counting of energy inputs and a general lack of data. Using this extended methodology, it is estimated that total embodied CO2-eq intensity of Irish construction in 2005 was 1,364gCO2-eq/€ with direct sub-sectoral embodied CO2-eq intensity averaging 56 gCO2-eq/€. Some 215gCO2-eq/€ is estimated to arise from domestic sources including 160gCO2-eq/€ from domestic indirect emissions. International arising emissions constituted 84% of the total. The focus of policymakers on regulating energy use in, and emissions from buildings has been on operational energy use ignoring other life cycle components such as embodied energy which can account for a significant portion of life cycle emissions. Data relating to embodied energy and emissions in buildings is limited. However, stochastic techniques can be used to estimate the distribution of emissions intensities in the building sector and sub-sectors. This thesis demonstrates this approach using apartment buildings in Ireland and how it can be used to form the basis for evidencebased policy formulation. A Monte-Carlo simulation suggests that the average probability distribution of embodied CO2-eq intensity in the sample displays the characteristics of a Wakeby distribution. The average embodied CO2-eq intensity of the sample of apartment buildings analysed was estimated to be 1,636gCO2-eq/€ with an uncertainty of 73 gCO2-eq/€. The distribution also had a long tail which can be targeted for improvement through the implementation of appropriate policies. Two policies are proposed and assessed, one regulatory and one informational. Implementing Policy Option 1 (Regulatory) for example results in an average saving of 450gCO2-eq/€.