For the modelling of the use phase, standardized room types for residential and office use for two different climate zones (Berlin and Rome) are used as basis for the study. A 3.75 m² double casement window is set as reference for residential buildings. The office curtain wall is defined as a 3-axis mullion-transom construction of about 14m².
Based on the overall sustainability assessment, this study shows that each framing material presents pros and cons. Indeed, while one material may dominate the economic dimension, it may appear less environment friendly or may present lower social or technical quality. As a result, no framing material appears as the most sustainable solution for windows or curtain walls.
From an environmental perspective, this study demonstrates that the energy demand during the building operating phase still largely dominates the overall environmental impact of windows or curtain walls on their whole life cycle, as already shown in older studies. Therefore, from a building sustainability perspective, the optimisation of the contribution of windows and curtain walls to the energy performance of the building appears more essential than selecting a specific framing material.
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