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

Francesco Pomponi, Poorang Piroozfar, Ryan Southall, Philip Ashton, Eric R.P. Farr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In countries like the UK, the upkeep of existing buildings is where the greatest opportunities for achievingcarbon reduction targets lie. Fac¸ ades are the physical barriers between outdoors and indoors, and theirupgrade can arguably be amongst the most effective interventions to improve the existing stock. DoubleSkin Fac¸ ades (DSFs) represent a possible solution for low-carbon refurbishment due to their capabilityto 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 knownabout their life cycle performance. This article addresses such a knowledge gap through a comparativelife cycle assessment between DSF refurbishments and an up-to-standard, single-skin alternative. Thisstudy adopts a parametric approach where 128 DSF configurations have been analysed through primarydata. Energy and carbon (both operational and embodied) are the units assessed in this research. Resultsshow that DSFs are more energy-efficient than single-skin in 98% of the cases, and more carbon-efficientin 85% of the cases. Not only does this study represent the first broad parametric approach to evaluatinglife cycle energy and carbon of DSFs within its given context, but it also informs environmentally-awaredesign and application of DSFs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


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


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