Energy-plus, zero energy and zero emission buildings denote some of the best buildings of today and the future with respect to energy efficiency and environmental impact. A zero emission building might be defined in different ways. Nevertheless, the main concept is that renewable energy sources produced or transformed at the building site have to compensate for CO2 emissions from operation of the building and for production, transport and demolition of all the building materials and components during the life cycle of the building. In order to fulfill this, CO2 emission data has to be made available and verified for traditional building materials (e.g. concrete, wood and mineral wool), new „state-of-the-art‟ building materials (e.g. vacuum insulation panels, VIPs) and the active elements used to produce renewable energy (e.g. photovoltaic panels).
An initial literature review found that although there are databases of embodied carbon values for most building materials, the range in results for various materials are varied and inconsistent. This paper presents the first stage of development of a transparent and robust method to calculate CO2eq emissions from materials use in future ZEB buildings at all stages of design. This is underpinned by the development of a materials database containing a list emission factors (kgCO2eq/kg) which should be flexible enough to add and evaluate new state of the art‟ materials for ZEB. The method should also make it easy for the user to visualize the impact on CO2eq emissions of their choice of material. Emission factors (kgCO2eq/kg) for use in the ZEB database are sourced and compared from three existing databases including Klimagassregneskap.no, Version 3.0, Ecoinvent (Althaus & Ökobilanzdaten and Bauteilkatalog), Inventory of Carbon & Energy Version 2.0 (ICE) and published Norwegian Environmental Product Declarations (epd-norge.no) where available.