Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 137–155 | Cite as

Sustainability evaluation framework for building cooling systems: a comparative study of snow storage and conventional chiller systems

  • Venkatesh Kumar
  • Kasun Hewage
  • Husnain Haider
  • Rehan Sadiq
Original Paper


In Canada, the residential building sector consumes 17 % of the total energy and 15 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, the energy demand for cooling in the residential sector is increasing due to the large occupancy floor area and high usage of air conditioning. Minimizing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions is one of the highest priority goals set for national energy management strategies in developed countries including Canada. In this study, a framework based on the life cycle assessment approach is developed to assess the environmental impacts of different building cooling systems, namely conventional snow storage system, watertight snow storage system, high-density snow storage system, and the conventional chiller cooling system. Moreover, all these systems have varying energy requirements and associated environmental impacts during different phases (extraction and construction, utilization, and end of life) of the life cycle of a building. A low-rise residential building in Kelowna (BC, Canada) has been selected for the pragmatic application of the proposed framework. The annual cooling energy demand for the building is estimated for different phases. Subsequently, the life cycle impact assessment has been carried out using SimaPro 8.1 software and TRACI 2.1 method. For sustainability evaluation of different cooling systems over their life cycle, multi-criteria decision analysis has been employed using the ‘Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation (PROMETHEE II).’ The results showed that the snow storage systems tend to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and associated environmental impacts more than the conventional system.


Sustainable buildings Snow storage systems Building cooling system Life cycle assessment Multi-criteria decision-making PROMETHEE II 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Venkatesh Kumar
    • 1
  • Kasun Hewage
    • 1
  • Husnain Haider
    • 2
  • Rehan Sadiq
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.Civil Engineering Department, College of EngineeringQassim UniversityBuraydahSaudi Arabia

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