Methodology for Life-Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Building Structures

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Title: Methodology for Life-Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Building Structures

Author(s): M. C. Caruso, C. Menna, D. Asprone, A. Prota, and G. Manfredi

Publication: Structural Journal

Volume: 114

Issue: 02

Appears on pages(s): 323-336

Keywords: comparative sustainability assessment; life-cycle assessment (LCA); reinforced concrete structure; steel structure; sustainability; wood structure

Date: 3/1/2017

Abstract:
This study aims to define a methodological framework that could guide construction community stakeholders in conducting environmental sustainability comparisons among building systems at the design stage. The study proceeds on the basis that the design of new structures starts with specific requirements, including national technical standards. An application of the proposed framework for the comparative life-cycle assessment (LCA) concerning a residential building is presented; three different structural materials are compared—namely, reinforced concrete (RC), steel, and wood. Starting with functional, architectural, and structural requirements, the building is designed and verified to take into account how structural solutions change depending on each building material. A cradle-to-grave LCA study is conducted for the three alternative structures using SimaPro software; both IMPACT2002+ and EPD2008 methodologies are used to quantify environmental impacts.