Operative Temperature Variance and Life Cycle Assessment Impacts of Wall Construction Materials


  • Mark Alegbe Department of Architectural Technology, School of Environmental Studies, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria




Low Carbon, Operative Temperature, Embodied Carbon, Life cycle Assessment, Nigeria


The overdependence on concrete in the construction industry in sub-Saharan African countries limits the potential use of sustainable materials in the construction of buildings. Hollow Concrete Block (HCB), the industry’s most widely used wall material, contributes to excessive carbon emissions and environmental degradation. Moreso, constructions that employ HCBs, specifically in Nigeria, severely threaten the indoor comfort levels in Naturally Ventilated Spaces NVSs. This study relies on quantitative data to analyse the impact of alternative wall materials in a case building in northern Nigeria. Mud bricks (MB) and Timber/brick (TB) were compared with the existing concrete (CW) case building. The study uses Meteonorm 8 and Climate Consultant 6.0 for EPW file generation. At the same time, dynamic thermal simulation and comparative experiments for thermal comfort and carbon emissions were conducted using DesignBuilder V6 and OneClick Lifecycle assessment tools, respectively. Modelled and simulated under NVS conditions using ASHRAE’s PMV model, the result of the study suggests that the MB alternative, although with an intermediate U-value of 0.318 W/m²k, accounts for the best indoor comfort temperature annually. While the CW building accounts for 41.31% of hours above the comfort temperature of 28⁰C, the TB and MB alternatives account for 29.99% and 27.37% of hours, respectively. Furthermore, the MB alternative is the most environmentally friendly material with 510 KgCO₂/m² emissions, a value 26% less than the CW building with an embodied carbon benchmark of 690 KgCO₂/m² during the building’s life cycle stages. The author suggests that mud construction’s thermal properties and Global Warming Impact (GWI) make it a better alternative to concrete and timber buildings in the tropics.


Afolami, A., Oluyede, T., & Amuda, M. (2019). Architects Perspective on The Use of Timber for Building Design and Construction in Ondo State, Nigeria. 2nd world conservation conference.

Agboola, O. P., & Zango, M. S. (2014). Development of Traditional Architecture in Nigeria: A Case Study of Hausa House Form. International Journal of African Society Cultures and Traditions, 1(1): 61-64.

Ahlund, H. (2020, 2020). A comparative study of embodied and operational environmental impact of a multifamily building with different framework materials. Department of Applied Physics and Eletronics, Umea University. Retrieved 1st July, 2022 from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-172655

Akande, O. K. (2010). Passive design strategies for residential buildings in a hot dry climate in Nigeria [Conference Paper]. Eco-Architecture III, WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 128: 61-71. https://doi.org/10.2495/arc100061

Akande, O. K., & Adebamowo, M. A. (2010). Indoor Thermal Comfort for Residential Buildings in Hot-Dry Climate in Nigeria. Network for Comfort snd Energy use in Buildings NCEUB. Retrieved 5th June, 2022 fromhttps://repository.futminna.edu.ng:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/4675

Alegbe, M. (2022). Comparative Analysis of Wall Materials Toward Improved Thermal Comfort, Reduced Emission, and Construction Cost in Tropical Buildings. [Conference Proceedings]. 11th Masters Conference: People and Buildings University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/471027/

Ashrae. (2013). 2013 ASHRAE Handbook - Fundamentals (I-P Edition). American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). Retrieved 5th June, 2022 from https://app.knovel.com/hotlink/toc/id:kpASHRAEB2/ashrae-handbook-fundamentals/ashrae-handbook-fundamentals

Brischke, C. (2019). Timber. In Long-term Performance and Durability of Masonry Structures 129-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-08-102110-1.00005-4

Broun, R., & Menzies, G. F. (2011). Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Analysis of Partition Wall Systems in the UK [Article]. Procedia Engineering, 21: 864-873. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2011.11.2088

BSI. (2011). Sustainability of construction works- Assessment of environmental performance of buildings-Calculation method. BSI Standard Publication, EN 15978:2011. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.3403/30192730

Chang, C. C., Shi, W., Mehta, P., & Dauwels, J. (2019). Life cycle energy assessment of university buildings in tropical climate. Journal of Cleaner Production, 239: 117930. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.117930

Concu, G. (2019). Timber Buildings and Sustainability. Intechopen, London, United Kingdom. Retrieved 7th July, 2022 from http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.78428

Costa, R. (1989). Architecture in black Africa Between development and tradition. Solar & Wind Technology, 6(4): 383-387. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/0741-983X(89)90057-X

Croce, S. (2020). Architecture and adaptation. TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment 20: 33-38. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.13128/techne-9760

Czechowski, A. S. V. (2020). CDP Africa Report. Carbon Disclosure Project. Retrieved 6th July, 2022 from https://cdn.cdp.net/cdp-production/cms/reports/documents/000/005/023/original/CDP_Africa_Report_2020.pdf?1583855467

D’Amico, B., Pomponi, F., & Hart, J. (2021). Global potential for material substitution in building construction: The case of cross laminated timber. Journal of Cleaner Production, 279: 123487. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123487

Datta, U. S., & Mustafa, B. (2016). A Comparative Study of the Thermal Performance of Mud and Brick Houses in Bangladesh Building the Future- Resilient Environments, Faculty of Architecture Research Unit (FARU), University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. http://dl.lib.mrt.ac.lk/handle/123/13031

de Castro, E. B. P., Mequignon, M., Adolphe, L., & Koptschitz, P. (2014). Impact of the lifespan of different external walls of buildings on greenhouse gas emissions under tropical climate conditions. Energy and Buildings, 76: 228-237. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2014.02.071

de Oliveira Fernandes, E., Leal, V., & Craveiro, F. (2007). On Strategies to Prevent Condensation in Buildings EnVIE Conference on Indoor Air Quality And Health for EU Policy, Helsinki, Finland. https://www.aivc.org/resource/strategies-prevent-condensation-buildings

DesigningBuildings. (2021). Fabric first. Retrieved 5th September, 2022 from https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Fabric_first

DesigningBuildings. (2022). U-values. Retrieved 30th July, 2022 from https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/U-values

Dodoo, A. (2020). Energy and indoor thermal comfort performance of a Swedish residential building under future climate change conditions. E3S Web of Conferences, 172: 02001. https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/202017202001

Dunne, D. (2020, 21st August, 2020). The Carbon Brief Profile: Nigeria. Carbon Brief Ltd. Retrieved 6th July, 2022 from https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-nigeria/

FME. (2021). 2050 Long-Term Vision for Nigeria (LTV-2050). Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria. Retrieved 06th July, 2022 from https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/Nigeria_LTS1.pdf

Gorse, C., Johnston, D., & Pritchard, M. (2020). Adaptive comfort temperature. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10th July, 2022 from https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198832485.001.0001/acref-9780198832485-e-8174

Gurupatham, S. V., Jayasinghe, C., & Perera, P. (2021). Ranking of walling materials using eco-efficiency for tropical climatic conditions: A survey-based approach. Energy and Buildings, 253: 111503. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2021.111503

Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser, & Rosado, P. (2020). Nigeria: CO2 Country Profile. Our World in Data. Retrieved 21st June, 2022 from https://ourworldindata.org/co2/country/nigeria

Hernandez, P., Oregi, X., Longo, S., & Cellura, M. (2019). Life-Cycle Assessment of Buildings. In Handbook of Energy Efficiency in Buildings (pp. 207-261). https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-812817-6.00010-3

HSE. (2022). Thermal Comfort (Six Basic Factors). Retrieved 5th July, 2022 from https://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/index.htm

Huq, S., Reid, H., & Murray, L. A. (2006). Climate Change and Development Links. International Institute for Environment and Development, 27. http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep01331

IPCC. (2021). Summary for Policymakers. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 22nd March, 2023 from doi:10.1017/9781009157896.001.

Iso. (2005). Ergonomics of the Thermal Environment. Analytical Determination and Interpretation of Thermal Comfort Using Calculation of the PMV and PPD Indices and Local Thermal Comfort Criteria. European Committee for Standardization. Retrieved 6th July, 2022 from https://www.iso.org/standard/39155.html

Jayalath, A., Navaratnam, S., Ngo, T., Mendis, P., Hewson, N., & Aye, L. (2020). Life cycle performance of Cross Laminated Timber mid-rise residential buildings in Australia. Energy and Buildings, 223: 110091. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110091

Jegede, O. E., & Taki, A. (2021). Optimization of building envelopes using indigenous materials to achieve thermal comfort and affordable housing in Abuja, Nigeria. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 40(2): 219-247. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-01-2021-0009

Jenkins, D. P., Patidar, S., & Simpson, S. A. (2015). Quantifying Change in Buildings in a Future Climate and Their Effect on Energy Systems. Buildings, 5(3): 985-1002. https://doi.org/doi:10.3390/buildings5030985

Kristl, Ž., Senior, C., & Temeljotov Salaj, A. (2020). Key challenges of climate change adaptation in the building sector. Urbani Izziv, 31(1): 101-111. https://doi.org/DOI:10.5379/urbani-izziv-en-2020-31-01-004

Laryea, S. (2012). Construction in West Africa. West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) Conference and EPP Book Services Ltd. Retrieved 9th August, 2022 from https://www.academia.edu/17523289/Construction_in_West_Africa_Book

Latha, P. K., Darshana, Y., & Venugopal, V. (2015). Role of building material in thermal comfort in tropical climates – A review. Journal of Building Engineering, 3: 104-113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jobe.2015.06.003

Macrotrends. (2022). Nigeria Population Growth Rate 1950-2022. Retrieved 8th June, 2023 from https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/NGA/nigeria/population-growth-rate

Mahmoud, H., & Ragab, A. (2021). Urban Geometry Optimization to Mitigate Climate Change: Towards Energy-Efficient Buildings. Sustainability, 13(1): 27. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su13010027

Marinković, S. B. (2013). Life cycle assessment (LCA) aspects of concrete. In Eco-Efficient Concrete. 45-80. https://doi.org/10.1533/9780857098993.1.45

Milne. (2021). Climate Consultant. The Society of Building Science Educators. Retrieved 3rd June, 2022 from https://www.sbse.org/resources/climate-consultant

Mobolade, T., & Pourvahidi, P. (2020). Bioclimatic Approach for Climate Classification of Nigeria. Sustainability, 12(10): 4192. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104192

MOP. (2016). Building Energy Efficiency Guideline for Nigeria. Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. Retrieved 12th July, 2022 from https://energypedia.info/images/c/c7/Building_Energy_Efficiency_Guideline_for_Nigeria_2016.pdf

Muneron, L. M., Hammad, A. W. A., Najjar, M. K., Haddad, A., & Vazquez, E. G. (2021). Comparison of the environmental performance of ceramic brick and concrete blocks in the vertical seals' subsystem in residential buildings using life cycle assessment. Cleaner Engineering and Technology, 5: 100243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clet.2021.100243

Norton, B., Gillett, W. B., & Koninx, F. (2021). Briefing: Decarbonising buildings in Europe: a briefing paper. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Energy, 174(4): 147-155. https://doi.org/10.1680/jener.21.00088

Ogbonna, A. C., & Harris, D. J. (2008). Thermal comfort in sub-Saharan Africa: Field study report in Jos-Nigeria. Applied Energy, 85(1): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2007.06.005

Olotuah, A. O., & Taiwo, A. A. (2013). Housing the Urban Poor in Nigeria Through Low-cost Housing Schemes. International Journal of Physical and Human Geography, 1(3): 1-8. https://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/HOUSING-THE-URBAN-POOR-IN-NIGERIA-THROUGH-LOW-COST-HOUSING-SCHEMES.pdf

Özdamar Seitablaiev, M., & Umaroğulları, F. (2018). Thermal Comfort and Indoor Air Quality. International Journal Of Scientific Research And Innovative Technology, 5(1): 90-109. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326324068

Ramos Ruiz, G., & Olloqui del Olmo, A. (2022). Climate Change Performance of nZEB Buildings. Buildings, 12(10): 1755. https://doi.org/doi:10.3390/buildings12101755

Reitinger, C. (2020). Life-cycle assessment. Salem Press. Retrieved 11th July, 2022 from https://liverpool.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89474279&site=eds-live&scope=site

Ryberg, M. W., Ohms, P. K., Møller, E., & Lading, T. (2021). Comparative life cycle assessment of four buildings in Greenland. Building and Environment, 204: 108130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.108130

Salem, J., Lenzen, M., & Hotta, Y. (2021). Are We Missing the Opportunity of Low-Carbon Lifestyles? International Climate Policy Commitments and Demand-Side Gaps. Sustainability, 13(22): 12760. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212760

Siti Handjarinto, & Veronica I, S. (1998, 1st-2nd June). Thermal Comfort Study in a Naturally Ventilated Residential Building in a Tropical Hot-Humid Climate Region [Conference Proceedings]. Symposium on Improving Building Systems in Hot and Humid Climate, Fort Worth, Texas, United States. https://core.ac.uk/works/39526217

Soust-Verdaguer, B., Llatas, C., & Moya, L. (2020). Comparative BIM-based Life Cycle Assessment of Uruguayan timber and concrete-masonry single-family houses in design stage. Journal of Cleaner Production, 277: 121958. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121958

Temitope, O. O. (2019). Green Building and Energy Conserving Designs: Significance of Timber as a Sustainable Building Material in Nigeria. World Journal of Innovative Research WJIR, 6(5): 56-60. https://www.wjir.org/download_data/WJIR0605010.pdf

Thomas, G. (2020). Construction Waste Management/Construction & Demolition Waste/Classification. EngineeringCivil.org. Retrieved 16 August from https://engineeringcivil.org/articles/building-materials/construction-waste-management-construction-demolition-waste-classification/

Transparency, C. (2020). Nigeria's Climate Action and Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis. Climate Transparency. Retrieved 6th July 2022 from https://www.climate-transparency.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Nigeria-CT-2020.pdf

UN. (2006). United Nations Fact Sheet on Climate Change. United Nations. Retrieved 6th July, 2022 from https://unfccc.int/files/press/backgrounders/application/pdf/factsheet_africa.pdf

Wesonga, R., Kasedde, H., Kibwami, N., & Manga, M. (2021). A Comparative Analysis of Thermal Performance, Annual Energy Use, and Life Cycle Costs of Low-cost Houses Made with Mud Bricks and Earthbag Wall Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Energy and Built Environment, 4(1): 13-24. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbenv.2021.06.001

Zeitz, A., Griffin, C. T., & Dusicka, P. (2019). Comparing the embodied carbon and energy of a mass timber structure system to typical steel and concrete alternatives for parking garages [Report]. Energy & Buildings, 199: 126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.06.047




How to Cite

Alegbe , M. (2023). Operative Temperature Variance and Life Cycle Assessment Impacts of Wall Construction Materials. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 10(3), 51–66. https://doi.org/10.11113/ijbes.v10.n3.1115