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Environmental impact shares of a reinforced concrete earth-retaining wall with buttresses


Abstract: Structural engineers focus on the reduction of carbon emissions in reinforced concrete structures, while other impacts affecting ecosystems and human health become secondary or are left behind. The featured life cycle assessment shows the impacts corresponding to each construction stage of an earth-retaining wall with buttresses. In this study the contribution ratio of each input flow is analyzed. Accordingly, concrete, landfill, machinery, formwork, steel, and transport are considered. Results show that despite the concrete almost always accounts for the largest contribution to each impact, the impact shares of steel present noticeable sensitivity to the steel-manufacturing route. The parameter of study is the recycling rate, usually 75% reached in Spain. Noticeable variation is found when the recycling content increases. The relationship between the impacts of each material with the amount of material used discloses research interest.


Keywords: Life cycle assessment, Functional unit, Steel recycling rate, Concrete ratio, Photochemical oxidation, Ozone depletion, Global warming.


MOLINA-MORENO, F.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V.; CIROTH, A. (2017). Environmental impact shares of a reinforced concrete earth-retaining wall with buttresses. The Ninth International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference, Resilient Structures and Sustainable Construction ISEC-9, Valencia, Spain July 24-July 29.

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Environmental Assessment of Concrete Structures

2014-11-12 16.38.05In recent decades, with the objective of reaching a more sustainable development, worldwide society has increased its concern about environmental protection. Nevertheless, there are still economic sectors, such as the construction industry, which produce significant environmental impacts. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that enables identifying environmental issues related to both finished products and services, and allows focusing efforts to resolve them. The main objective of this paper is to asses LCA applicability on concrete structures so that construction’s environmental performance can be improved. For this purpose, an attempt is made to provide a decision-making tool for construction-sector stakeholders with reliable and accurate environmental data. The research methodologies used in this paper are based on a literature review and are applied to a case study. This review was performed to collect information on LCA methodologies currently in use and their practical application. The case study subsequently described in this paper involved identification of the most sustainable type of slab for a reinforced concrete structure in a residential building, using two different databases. It was observed that, depending on the database selected and inherent assumptions, results varied. Therefore it was concluded that in order to avoid producing incorrect results when applying LCA, it is highly recommended to develop a more constrained methodology and grant access to reliable construction-sector data. (link)

17 Noviembre, 2014
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Universidad Politécnica de Valencia