The energy consumed by a building can be divided into two types. Operational energy (use phase) and embodied energy (energy consumed during the production, construction and replacement of building components). Typically, overshadowed by operational energy, embodied energy has slowly increased for a variety of reasons. A major reason for the increase in embodied energy is the surge in the Low-Energy and Net Zero Energy Building movement.
One of the primary tools used to measure embodied energy in buildings is through whole building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA modeling in architecture is a complex and timeconsuming process, that presents a variety of challenges. Typically used in conjunction with green building certification, LCA modeling typically occurs in that late stages of the design process where changes can become costly and time consuming. Whereas design decisions made during the early stages of the design process can have the greatest impacts in terms of reducing embodied impacts.
This thesis will examine the existing and future housing stock within the City of Rochester, NY through the lens of embodied energy. Utilizing data gathered through a housing stock analysis, in conjunction with the most recent residential energy code, a typical housing unit will be developed as a baseline. Using design strategies aimed at reducing embodied, the opportunities presented by BIM integrated LCA will be examined through the development of a prototype housing unit. Whole building LCA and material analyses will examine the effectiveness of integrating LCA into the early stages of the design process.
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas A. Trabold
Shreve, Thomas, "Designing for Embodied Energy: An Examination of BIM integrated LCA using Residential Architecture in Rochester, NY" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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