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LEADER OF THE SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH LINE

"We research to deliver knowledge based tools and information to decision takers, policy makers, manufacturers and all the agents involved in modifying the built environment. Our aim is to make LCA useful to all the hierarchy in the construction sector: from brick manufacture to city management and planning."

 

poster construccio sostenible

Partnerships and Networks

Contribute to the dissemination of best existing techniques and best available practices through "Construction21", the platform for sustainable construction, managed in Spain by the UNESCO Chair. In addition, we have collaborated with private sector companies (Hyspalit) as well as manufacturers of ancillary (BNL) or urban (JCDecaux) products.



Life Cycle Assessment in Construction

 

Life cycle assessment for construction starts with the extraction of raw materials from the environment and continues with the design and construction. Then, when the building is built, the use phase takes place. Finally, the Life cycle assessment of any construction ends with demolishing it and landfilling or recycling of the different materials. In the past, the major contributor to environmental impacts was the use phase. Although it is still this way, due to efforts in energy efficiency, new techniques and better insulation, the use phase is diminishing the share of contribution to environmental impacts while the other phases are getting more important.

This reflects the need to shift the impact analysis to a more Life Cycle oriented methodology where all the phases are subject to study impacts to the environment. This is reflected in the improvement of the analysis for both building products, establishing methods such as Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and for the buildings themselves, generating LCA for buildings. Other actions taken in this direction include the creation of building products databases for LCA or the study of groups of products for the improvement of building systems.

Although it has still not been considered a mandatory field, it is being considered by the EU to take this direction.

Finally, in the future it will also be necessary to analyse the applicability of current LCA methods not just to a group of buildings but to a more complex system such as Cities. Cities include more facilities and conceptual differences which should be tackled from a new perspective. They shouldn’t be considered as an addition of construction products and buildings, instead cities might be a more complex concept which could require a more holistic approach.

 
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