“A buildings environmental impact extends from global factors, such as ozone depletion, to the quality of the environment inside the property. These impacts arise from decisions made at all stages of the buildings life, including materials manufacture, site selection, design, construction, occupation and ultimately demolition.”Source: Greener Buildings, Environmental Impact of Property – Stuart Johnson.
A Report On environmental life Cycle Analysis ( L.C.A. )
IntroductionThe world is becoming an ever more environmentally vigilant society and pressure by governments, NGOs ( Non – government organisations ) and the general public is being put on all aspects of industry to become more “Green”.
The construction industry has a great impact on the environment both at the construction stage and the buildings future life, as stated in Stuart Johnsons opening statement above. As with all industries the construction industry as a whole has and continues to devise ways in which the relationship between the built and the natural environment can improve. One such development is the technique of Environmental life cycle Analysis.
Life Cycle AnalysisLife cycle analysis is used to explore the life cycle of a building material. It is computer based and its methodology was developed by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry ( SETAC ).
I have been asked to put together a report for the potential construction project for The City Of Liverpool College. The current site being looked at is on Roscoe Street. I will be discussing the consequences which could occur to the buildings in proximity to the site location, and the people who could be affected. Body: During this part of the report, I will be discussing what problems could ...
The life cycle analysis will show the environmental impacts of different materials at different stages of its life from the materials extraction through processing, manufacture, use, maintenance and disposal. An example of the type of software used in L.C.A. is SimaPro 3.0 which was developed by PRe Consultants in the Netherlands. SimaPro provides information on the generation of pollutants and the following environmental effects of different materials and is measured using eco-points.
“The main issues of life cycle analysis for materials consist of establishing:* hazardous contents* risks to occupants, trades people and the general environment* ecological degradation from extraction of raw materials* recycled content* pollution from manufacturing* CO2 released during manufacturing and embodied energy* transport implications* durability ( life to replacement )* recycling and disposal”Source: Specifying for Greener Buildings – Stephen Curwell – Architects Journal – Jan 1996.
AimsThe obvious aims of L.C.A. is to reduce the construction industry’s impact on the environment. Eventually all materials will be analysed and their life spans and environmental impact will be discovered. Some materials are already identified as an environmental threat and have been allocated eco-labels by the EU.
At the present time eco-labelling is only in use for paints but plans to ecolabel insulation and floor and wall tiles are underway.
Life cycle analysis can also be used in conjunction with life cycle costing to arrive at the full cost of a building, both capital and running costs as well as environmental costs. This could help local governments and housing associations for example.
In UseMaterials don’t last for ever, as the following table shows:
Renewal Cycles of Materials and Components in Years
FabricBrick / Block 60 – 100Curtain walling 30 – 40Lightweight cladding 20 – 30
Hendrickson, et al (2006) posits that: “LCA requires careful energy and materials balances for all the stages of the life cycle”. The life cycle of a spring mattress is made up of many processes. The life cycle or “cradle to grave’ of a spring mattress can be said to consist of the following five stages: a) extraction of raw materials (cradle), b) production of materials, c) production of spring ...
Pitched RoofingSlate 60 – 100Clay tile 30 – 40
InteriorsOffice fittings 5 – 7Kitchen fittings 5 – 10Bathroom fittings 5 – 50Paint, varnish 2 – 5Source: Specifying for Greener Buildings – Stephen Curwell – Architects Journal – Jan 1996.
The above table was devised using life cycle analysis, this is just one of its many uses.
Although life cycle analysis isn’t used on a wide spread scale certain reports have been compiled to suggest that it should.
Environmental researcher Maf Smith compiled a report on the findings of a life cycle analysis project carried out by Eco-Logica Ltd, Lancaster, in association with Nick Williams of the Department of Geography, Aberdeen University.
The project used two different designs of housing, one was ecologically friendly and the other was a standard design. The two designs were analysed using life cycle analysis and life cycle costing. The life cycle analysis showed that the ecological design was nearly four times less harmful to the environment than the standard design and the life cycle costing showed that the capital cost of the ecological design was only 1.1% more than that of the standard design but overall running costs are generally lower.
This shows that when in use life cycle analysis and life cycle costing show great reductions in both economical and environmental costs.
Other MethodsIn Britain BREEAM assessments are more common place than full life cycle analysis and are seen as the standard. The following table is from the “New Offices BREEAM.”
BREEAM ASSESMENT FACTORS FOR NEW OFFICES.
GLOBAL ISSUES AND USE OF RESOURCESCO2 production due to energy consumptionAcid rainOzone depletion due to CFC’s HCFC’s and HalonsNatural resources and recycled materialsStorage of recycled materials
LOCAL ISSUESLegionaries’ disease arising from wet cooling towersLocal wind effectsNoiseOvershadowing of other buildings and landWater economyEcological values of the siteCyclists’ facilities
There are many questions hanging in the air around these numbers. How socially responsible the conglomerate McDonald’s is for negative externalities created by both consumption and production? What environmental impacts does McDonald’s create by the production of Big Mac and what methods does McDonald’s use to reduce it? Life cycle analysis is a technique which assesses these environmental impacts ...
INDOOR ISSUESLegionnaires’ disease from domestic water systemsVentilation, passive smoking and humidityHazardous materialsLightingThermal comfort and overheatingIndoor noise.
Other BREEAM assessments are:* BREEAM 2/91 New Superstores and Supermarkets.* BREEAM 3/95 New Housing. Now revised as The Environmental Standard Award* BREEAM 4/93 Existing Offices.* BREEAM 5/93 New Industrial Units.
A BREEAM assessment is totally voluntary and is only successful if it is recognised. The way the assessment works is to give each factor a score and then add all the scores together, a high score would be deemed as having been assessed successfully. However with this system of assessment important environmental factors may achieve low scores but high scores for less important factors could make up for these short cummings.
Advantages & DisadvantagesThe advantages of life cycle analysis have already been stated many times previously in this report. It enables the construction industry to consider the long term environmental implications of using a certain material, thus helping to ensure a healthier environment all round. Also running costs can be cheaper and a buildings life can be prolonged by the choice of the right material.
However there are disadvantages, mainly life cycle analysis will only be useful and successful if it is used on a wide scale by designers, and at the moment this isn’t the case. Also most buildings are sold on after their construction so any maintenance work that has been anticipated may be carried out by the purchaser in a different way to that envisaged by the designer, and because maintenance charges will be the responsibility of the purchaser the vendor of the building will not care for higher capitol costs so as to keep maintenance costs at a low.
LegislationThere are many regulations and codes which deal with life cycle analysis and other environmental issues involved in building and materials, they are as follows:* The Environmental Protection Act 1994. HMSO* Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. HMSO* EH40 Occupational Exposure Limits H&SE* Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 ( COSHH ) HMSO* Construction ( Design and Management ) Regulations 1993 ( CDM ) HMSO* The Chemicals ( Hazardous Information and Packaging ) Regulations 1993 ( CHIP ) HMSO* Specification for Environmental Management Systems. BS7750: 1992. BSI.* RIBA Environmental Policy and Information for Members. Peter Smith. RIBA. 1995.
People should not be locked into the use of one or two categories of products, therefore companies have to expand their brands to fit into the lives of consumers. People are unique and so are the preferences of their needs and wants. A basic product such as laundry detergent that so many consumers use on a continuing basis can be affected solely by the consumer. There are many factors that ...
ConclusionIt is clear to see that the need for environmental life cycle analysis is great if the continuing decline of the environment is to be slowed.
Firms within the construction industry must hold their hands up and accept responsibility for the huge environmental impact caused by the building, and support the full life cycle analysis of as many materials as possible, they also need to design for the long term and not just for short term gain.
Life Cycle Analysis of Housing – Maf SmithBuilding for a Future – Autumn 1995
Specifying for Greener Buildings – Stephen CurwellArchitects Journal – January 1996
Cost Planning of Buildings 6th Ed. – Douglas J. Ferry & Peter S. BrandonBlackwell Science – 1991
Environmental Impact Assessment : A Comparitive Review – WoodSpon – 1995
Buildings and Health ( The Rosehaugh Guide ) – March & VenablesRIBA Publications – 1990
Green Architecture – Vale & ValeThames and Hudson – 1991
BREEAM 1/93 New Offices.