Environmental Analysis of Construction Materials: Material Specifications for Green Built Environment

Environmental Analysis of Construction Materials: Material Specifications for Green Built Environment

Aysem Berrin Cakmakli
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9754-4.ch004
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There is a growing universal awareness of protecting the living and non-living environment and making enlightened decisions to achieve a sustainable development without destruction of the natural resources. In this point of view, selecting building materials according to their energy and health performances gains importance in sustainable design. 3Rs (reducing, reusing, recycling), and supplying a healthy, non-hazardous indoor air for building occupants are two important parameters of environmental life-cycle assessment for materials. Information on exposure to gases and vapors from synthetic materials made from petrochemicals, to heavy metals and pesticides, and to some combustion pollutants that cause acid rain should be determined by analyzing environmental product declarations or material specifications. After studying on building materials individually, they are analyzed in the form of tables for four different stages; manufacturing, application, usage, demolition phase. Consequently, this chapter can guide the designer and engineer to think on the elements of design and construction activity.
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Life-cycle assessment is defined as “a system for analyzing environmental aspects of products or processes through their life cycle, from raw material extraction to recycling, which includes manufacturing, use, and end-of-life (EOL) disposal” (ISO 14040: 2006). While assessing the impacts, first environmentally relevant inputs and outputs are compiled, and then evaluated in order to interpret the results in four interrelated phases; “goal and scope definition phase, inventory analysis phase, impact assessment phase and interpretation phase” as highlighted in Figure 1. (ISO 14040: 2006) (ISO 14044: 2006)

Figure 1.

LCA methodology and relationships (ISO 14040: 2006)


The parameters that are seen in the goal and scope definition phase are the allocation of the functional component and system boundaries. Then, the information of physical material and energy flows throughout its entire life cycle is organized in the second phase. After that, in the third phase, its environmental impacts can be established according to different impact classifications. These classifications are “climate change, ozone depletion, Eco toxicity, human toxicity, photochemical ozone formation, acidification, eutrophication, resource depletion, and land use”. At the end, the interpretation of results of all phases is derived. (ISO 14044: 2006)

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