Journal of Green Building
Ecological payback time was calculated for demolishing an existing commercial building with average energy performance and replacing it with an energy-efficient, prefabricated building. A life-cycle assessment was performed for a 5,000 ft2 commercial building designed by Project Frog and prefabricated in San Francisco, California, and compared to the impacts of annual energy consumption and continued status quo operation of a comparable average commercial building. Scenarios were run both with and without rooftop solar panels intended to make the prefabricated building net zero energy. The analysis considers the materials and mof the existing building, compared to continued annual energy use of the existing an existing commercial building was found to be roughly eleven years, and a building with enough rooftop solar to be net zero energy was roughly 6.5 years. The full EcoIndicator99 environmental impact payback for a new efficient building with no solar was found to be twenty years, and a solar net-zero building was roughly eleven years against operation of an existing commercial building.
Faludi, Jeremy and Lepech, Michael, "Ecological Payback Time of an Energy-Efficient Modular Building" (2012). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 2793.