Abstract: Structural engineers focus on the reduction of carbon emissions in reinforced concrete structures, while other impacts affecting ecosystems and human health become secondary or are left behind. The featured life cycle assessment shows the impacts corresponding to each construction stage of an earth-retaining wall with buttresses. In this study the contribution ratio of each input flow is analyzed. Accordingly, concrete, landfill, machinery, formwork, steel, and transport are considered. Results show that despite the concrete almost always accounts for the largest contribution to each impact, the impact shares of steel present noticeable sensitivity to the steel-manufacturing route. The parameter of study is the recycling rate, usually 75% reached in Spain. Noticeable variation is found when the recycling content increases. The relationship between the impacts of each material with the amount of material used discloses research interest.
Keywords: Life cycle assessment, Functional unit, Steel recycling rate, Concrete ratio, Photochemical oxidation, Ozone depletion, Global warming.
MOLINA-MORENO, F.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V.; CIROTH, A. (2017). Environmental impact shares of a reinforced concrete earth-retaining wall with buttresses.The Ninth International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference, Resilient Structures and Sustainable Construction ISEC-9, Valencia, Spain July 24-July 29.
Nos acaban de publicar en la revista de Elsevier del primer decil, Journal of Cleaner Production, un artículo donde se estudia el diseño de los muros de contrafuertes optimizados para reducir sus emisiones de CO2. Este artículo forma parte de nuestra línea de investigación BRIDLIFE en la que se pretenden optimizar estructuras atendiendo no sólo a su coste, sino al impacto ambiental que generan a lo largo de su ciclo de vida. El artículo lo podéis descargar GRATUITAMENTE hasta el 27 de agosto de 2017 en el siguiente enlace:
This paper shows the differences between the design of a reinforced concrete structure considering two objectives to minimize; economic cost and CO2 emissions. Both objectives depend on the amount of two high carbon intensive materials: cement in the concrete and steel; therefore, these objectives are related. As the balance between steel and cement per m3 of concrete depends on several factors such as the type of structure, this study focuses on buttressed earth-retaining walls. Another factor that determines the balance between steel and concrete is the height of the wall. Thus, the methodology considers a parametric study for optimal designs of buttressed earth-retaining walls, where one of the parameters is the wall height. One of the objectives is to show the variation in cost when CO2 is minimized, respectful of minimizing the economic cost. The findings show that wall elements under bending-compressive strains (i.e. the stem of the buttressed retaining wall) perform differently depending on the target function. On one hand, the study reveals an upward trend of steel per unit volume of concrete in emission-optimized earth-retaining buttressed walls, compared to the cost-optimized. On the other hand, it is checked that unlike the cost-optimized walls, emission-optimized walls opt for a higher concrete class than the minimum class available. These findings indicate that emission-optimized walls penalize not only concrete volume, but also the cement content, to the extent that a higher concrete class outperforms in reduced emissions. Additionally, the paper outlines how and to what extent the design of this typology varies for the two analyzed objectives in terms of geometry and amount of materials. Some relevant differences influencing the geometry of design strategies are found.