LCA as comparative tool for concrete columns and glulam columns
Nowadays, in the construction sector, some methods are being investigated to detect and minimize their environmental impact. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that allows the evaluation of the environmental burden of a product or process, with a scientific recognition increment; and therefore the aim of this work is to verify the feasibility of the use of LCA in the construction sector. For this purpose, the environmental impacts of the use of conventional reinforced concrete (RC) columns, and Glulam (G) as an alternative material, were compared. The scope of the LCA included the extraction and manufacture of materials and construction of the columns; the software tools used were LCA Manager 1.3 and database Ecoinvent 2.0. The study showed that the most critical stage is the production of materials. RC reports 3.5 times more damage to ecosystem quality, requires a 32% more extraction of natural resources, and produces effects on human health 53% higher than G; while G generates 108 times more damage to land occupation; however, considering environmental measures, this effect can be mitigated, since it is a material 100% renewable. Finally, it was verified that LCA is a feasible option to use in the construction field and, it provides a wide range of results.
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