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The impact of roof design on embodied carbon and BIPV energy of a primary school building - An LCA-based study on the embodied carbon and PV generated energy of seven roof designs on a two-form entry primary school in Leeds, UK

conference contribution
posted on 2024-01-18, 16:26 authored by Claire-Louise Wheen, Kami RakhshanbabanariKami Rakhshanbabanari, Martin Fletcher

Purpose – Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method of quantifying the environmental performance of materials and products. It is also applied to whole buildings with the aim to reduce their carbon footprint. The purpose of this paper is to undertake the LCA of a building with varying roof designs, all with Building Integrated Photovoltaic Panels (BIPVs) to determine their impact on embodied emissions. The reason for this is to tailor up-front building design to create low carbon, and eventually zero carbon buildings as we strive for net zero carbon.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The study has two main parts: a) to calculate the solar energy generated by BIPVs on each roof design, b) to carry out LCA Cradle to Practical Completion (A1-A5) stages of the building options based on a 100-year life span.

Findings – The two storey buildings produce significantly less carbon than single storey buildings of the same gross internal area. All roof designs assessed mitigate enough carbon from BIPV generated energy to offset the embodied carbon within a year based on current UK electricity grid values. Upfront embodied carbon emitted during construction will generate a larger share of the whole life carbon of building as the electricity grid decarbonises, justifying the requirement to design for net zero carbon.

Originality/Value – The findings of this study further develop the construction industry’s knowledge of LCA and progress the transition to Net Zero Carbon. They can also support policy development to meet the government’s 2050 Net Zero target.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

International Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society (SEEDS) Conference 2023


International Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society (SEEDS) Conference 2023


Leeds Beckett University


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date



  • en


University of Suffolk, Ipswich, UK

Event dates

29th August 2023 - 31st August 2023


Dr Kami Rakhshanbabanari. Deposit date: 17 January 2024

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