Energy Intensity Study: Embodied Energy Calculation for University Buildings in Tropical Climate (within Life Cycle Assessment)

In NTU, with various implementations of energy saving technologies that lead to improvement in operational energy intensity, there is a huge need to consider another type of building energy, the Embodied Energy of building materials. This is important to achieve NTU’s overall goal to reduce buildings’ life cycle energy, which in line with its vision to be one of the greenest campus in the world.

Embodied Energy: the energy needed for the whole life cycle of building materials (Extraction, manufacturing, construction, transportation, maintenance and end of life phases of building materials) 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): a tool used to quantify and interpret the energy and material flows to and from the environment


Most energy-related studies have largely focused on the investigation and improvement of building operational energy. However, in recent years, energy building researchers found that as the impacts associated with the operational phase of buildings improve with energy-efficient technologies, the impact of embodied energy of building materials becomes much significant. This is even evident for buildings in tropical climate like in Singapore as compared to those in cold climate regions. 


Objectives and Methodology

Main objectives:

• To quantify the environmental impact of building materials in NTU campus

• To raise awareness on the significance of building embodied energy on the overall carbon emissions 

• To use results for benchmarking and reference for assessing NTU future civil projects’ carbon footprint

This study will use Building Information Modeling (BIM) software and data from Building Construction Authority (BCA) Carbon Calculator to analyze the environmental impacts of the building materials by:

• Extracting materials quantity using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software

• Case studies on Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) structures and timber structure etc.


​Ongoing and future studies will investigate on the other life stages and systems of buildings which include construction, transportation, maintenance and end of life phases for greater understanding and comprehensive study of building life cycle.​


• Embodied energy database for NTU campus 

• Case studies results comparison for PPVC and timber structures 

• Data visualisation tool for embodied data benchmarking 


The project is currently at the end of Phase 1 in which the material embodied energy of NTU main building materials will be finalized. Phase 2 project scope will be focused on the other life stages and systems of buildings. 


Shi Wenyong (ERI@N)

Chang Chia Chien (ERI@N)


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