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Development and Application of Life Cycle Assessment Method for Major Construction Materials considering Characteristics of Environmental Impact

Development and Application of Life Cycle Assessment Method for Major Construction Materials considering Characteristics of Environmental Impact
Alternative Author(s)
Kim, Rak Hyun
Issue Date
In the construction material area, active efforts are also being made to minimize environmental load emission and to develop low-carbon and low-energy technologies with high resource recycling rates. However, it is currently difficult to prepare objective environmental load reduction measures through product applicability or reusability improvement by assessing the potential environmental impacts of construction materials and analyzing processes on which environmental load emission is concentrated because there are no detailed procedure and standard for estimating the environmental impacts of the production and use of construction materials Since construction materials involve various conditions throughout the life cycle, technology to systematically assess the impacts of various environmental parameters suitable for the conditions and circumstances of each stage is required. However, basic materials for the life cycle assessment (LCA) of construction materials are still insufficient because a life cycle environmental load emission estimation methodology for the construction area has not been established and an environmental impact database with representative features by material has not been constructed. As such, this study attempts to derive assessment items required for each life cycle stage of construction materials and establish a process for applying environmental impact assessment to construction materials. This paper is composed of 6 chapters in total as following. Chapter 1, the background and necessity of the study and the purpose of this study are described. Chapter 2, The development of product category rules must be prioritized in accordance with international standards capable of quantitatively assessing the environmental impacts of construction materials. Measures to introduce LCA methods specialized for construction materials were analyzed through the analysis of overseas construction material environmental labeling system cases. Chapter 3, Based on ISO 21930, construction material LCA was derived, and environmental impact categories and system boundaries were constructed based on 10 major construction materials capable of comprehensively assessing such LCA. Chapter 4, The product category rules on construction material LCA specify a series of rules required to calculate the environmental performances of construction materials for the life cycle environmental load assessment of construction materials. The product category rules are composed of common guidelines, which describe criteria applied to all construction materials to prepare assessment across the life cycle of construction materials, including production, construction, operation, and disposal, and environmental load assessment guidelines, which provide environmental performance assessment methods by construction material. Chapter 5, The construction material LCA model is an assessment model that supports the decision-making of the designer so that eco-friendly construction materials required for realizing eco-friendly building structures can be easily selected by assessing the environmental performances of building structures using the construction material unit, construction member unit, and building structure unit in the design stage. In Chapter 6, the conclusions of each chapter summarized and the comprehensive conclusions were obtained as followings. 1. ODP, ADP, AP, EP, POCP, HTP, TETP, and PMF in addition to GWP represented by carbon emissions were defined as environmental impact categories and assessment criteria were proposed for each environmental impact category so as to propose an LCA methodology specialized for construction materials. In addition, the environmental impact categories to which building materials contribute 95% or more were derived. Three essential environmental impact categories and six environmental impact categories specialized for each construction material were proposed, and the cradle-to-grave system boundary was set for each construction material. 2. In accordance with international standards, assessment methods for the environmental impacts of construction materials were proposed, including functional unit and data collection, data inventory, and assessment for each life cycle stage. 3. In accordance with ISO 21930, common guidelines that describe common assessment items for the life cycle environmental impacts of construction materials and life cycle environmental impact assessment guidelines for each construction material were developed. 4. The classification system for seven building sections and 110 material combination inventories were derived for the utilization of the life cycle environmental impact DB of construction materials. Through the quantity calculation system based on this, the building environmental impact assessment model in which designers can directly participate in reducing environmental loads was proposed. 5. The developed LCA method for construction materials can be used as a basis for the calculation of the environmental load emissions of building materials as well as for the EPD of building materials, and it can also be used to quantitatively calculate environmental loads for building structures in the design stage.
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