Comparison of the embodied and operating energy in agricultural greenhouses and in residential buildings



The increase of the energy efficiency in buildings and greenhouses is important for reducing the use of fossil fuels and the emissions of greenhouse gases. Energy efficiency evaluation requires the consideration of both the embodied and the operational energy. Many estimations regarding the embodied and the operational energy in various types of buildings have been reported so far. However, studies regarding the embodied energy in agricultural greenhouses are rare while there are many estimations regarding their operational energy. The goal of our study is the comparison of the embodied and the operational energy in residential buildings and in agricultural greenhouses. The embodied and operational energies are compared in greenhouses as well as in low-energy and in conventional residential buildings.  Our results indicate that the ratio of embodied energy to life-cycle energy in low-energy residential buildings and in nearly-zero energy buildings varies in the range at 36% to 83% that is significantly higher than the ratio in conventional residential buildings which is in the range of 6% to 20%. The ratio of embodied energy to life-cycle energy in agricultural greenhouses, at 0.86% - 70.41%, varies significantly depending on many parameters. The importance of carbon emissions related to embodied energy in low-energy buildings, in net-zero energy buildings and in agricultural greenhouses is highlighted.  Our work could be useful to policy makers who are willing to accelerate the green transition to a low carbon economy in the coming decades.

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Environmental Management and Sustainable Development  ISSN 2164-7682

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