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What is the most sustainable frame? Is one material superior to the other? What is a frame's total life cycle impact on a building?

By Peikko's blog team

November, 2, 2023

Those were the questions that we at Peikko wanted to study in collaboration with Ramboll’s sustainability experts. 

As a frame represents almost 30% of total embodied carbon emissions in a building and floors almost 50%, we assumed that the answer lies in them. Additionally, the frame has an impact on the building’s total life cycle by creating space and operational limits for the total life cycle of the building. 

We decided to simulate a typical ten-story office building with five different frame options to know what their ranking is when comparing embodied and operational carbon emissions. These five options were 

  • concrete precast frame, 
  • DELTABEAM® slim floor precast frame, 
  • full timber frame, 
  • DELTABEAM® hybrid slim floor frame and 
  • WQ frame. 

The study consisted of both structural and life cycle calculations aiming to take all aspects into account including the building’s volume and energy consumption. In conclusion, savings can be achieved in both embodied carbon and operational carbon emissions by using an optimized building height.

When considering all factors, it becomes evident that the calculation of carbon footprint based on building volume in cubic meters (m³) gives different results compared to only examining the gross floor area in square meters (m²). The study successfully demonstrated that using slim floor options not only reduced CO2 emissions associated with building volume (m³) but also potential savings can be made in operational energy consumption, particularly in heating.

In summary, if you want a sustainable frame and your target is to optimize a building 's life cycle carbon footprint and operational emissions have a look at this checklist!

  • Use products with low global warming potential GWP value (CO2/unit in environmental product declaration EDP) 
  • Optimize amountsof all materials with design and consumption – avoid overdesign and waste 
  • Design efficient cubic efficiency 
  • Expand building's lifespan with flexible layout and long spans in grid 


It´s about sustainable space!

If you are interested in knowing more, please download the full whitepaper 

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