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Suppose you are ignoring the reduction in mechanical system capacity and the resulting refrigerant reduction that comes from an improved thermal enclosure. In that case, you are also guilty of not looking at the "whole picture." The smaller and simpler mechanical systems that high-performance enclosures allow (along with the enclosure design/installation quality control that gives engineers the confidence to size equipment aggressively/accurately) can have a much bigger impact on the life cycle emissions of a project than the insulation type.

Any discussion of building emissions without a discussion of refrigerant emissions will leave a lot of emissions reduction on the table.

If realistic operational emissions factors are utilized, operational emissions rapidly dwarf enclosure upgrades in nearly every case. Do the math.

I have discussed this in more depth here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL9OxJbN3dc

Furthermore, building projects to Passive House levels of airtightness or even tighter (many projects consistently test 50% lower than PH leakage targets) can cut a great deal of insulation out of their projects while achieving the same levels of overall thermal performance. CI thickness can often be cut in half.

I'd be happy to assist you with running one of your projects through a simple upfront and operational carbon emissions tool I have developed with the Passive House Accelerator that quickly assesses building emissions including insulation materials, glazing, mechanicals, renewables, storage, and forward looking emissions out to 2050 using NREL Cambium datasets. I think you might be surprised with the results.

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