The global warming potential of building materials: An application of life cycle analysis in Nepal

Silu Bhochhibhoya, Michela Zanetti*, Francesca Pierobon, Paola Gatto, Ramesh Kumar Maskey, Raffaele Cavalli

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    This paper analyzes the global-warming potential of materials used to construct the walls of 3 building types - traditional, semimodern, and modern - in Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone in Nepal, using the life-cycle assessment approach. Traditional buildings use local materials, mainly wood and stone, while semimodern and modern buildings use different amounts of commercial materials, such as cement and glass wool. A comparison of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the 3 building types, using as the functional unit 1 m2 of wall, found that traditional buildings release about onefourth of the greenhouse gas emissions released by semimodern buildings and less than one-fifth of the emissions of modern buildings. However, the use of thermal insulation in the modern building walls helps to reduce the energy consumption for space heating and consequently to reduce the global warming potential. In 25 years, the total global warming potential of a traditional building will be 20% higher than that of a modern building. If local materials, such as wood, are used in building construction, the emissions from production and transportation could be dramatically reduced.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-55
    Number of pages9
    JournalMountain research and development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


    • Building material
    • Climate change
    • Global-warming potential
    • Life-cycle assessment
    • Nepal
    • Sagarmatha National Park


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