Life cycle inventory of ceramic brick, concrete block and construction and demolition waste brick: Case study in Belo Horizonte, Brazil


  • Vladimir Surgelas Paulista University
  • Vivian Achao Surgelas



The expansion of the recycling market basically depends on making the use of recycled aggregates viable. In that direction strategies and scientific methodologies are welcome to meet the Agenda 21. However, it is difficult to find appropriate measurement methods. For this reason, creating databases that associate the life cycle of materials and processes with consumption and discard of the materials could be a starting point in supporting environmentally up-to-date choices. Carbon dioxide stands out among the impacts of construction materials. Carbon footprint is a subset of the Life Cycle Assessment study, and in the present political context, in general in countries in the Northern Hemisphere it is one of the most-used factors in the decision process regarding sustainable consumption and production. The objective of this article was to develop an inventory of bricks made with construction and demolition waste in Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and Compared to the other blocks: concrete, ceramic. The material components of the life cycles of the agents involved in this study were input into Umberto software, defining the unit for each type of material separated into groups (work folders in Umberto). These work folders were created for energy, emissions, raw materials, supply and other items. Then this study’s flow networks are presented. Three different scenarios were created: the ceramic brick manufacturing scenario; the concrete block manufacturing scenario; and the CDW block manufacturing scenario. This inventory is fundamental for the directives of Life Cycle Assessment. Using this starting point, a comparison is made between the production process inventory of concrete blocks and ceramic bricks. This comparison was related to CO2 emission parameters. The following methods were used for this: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with reverse logic to obtain data from the point of consumption to the point of origin. Supplies for manufacturing ceramic block, concrete block, and extraction of non-renewable resources are taken from literature. Flow networks were developed for both processes on Umberto software and were compared. The objectives, scope, functional unit, systems, limits and results of this LCA are presented graphically and with a Sankey diagram with discussion. The main contribution of the article refers to sustainable use when considering choice of construction material with less environmental costs through the lens of “carbon footprint”. This is a first approximation.


Author Biography

Vladimir Surgelas, Paulista University

civil engineer - master science in civil engineering
Professor graduate degree course in civil engineering, architecture and urbanism