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A modeling framework to evaluate sustainability of building construction based on LCSA

Research paper by Ya Hong Dong, S. Thomas Ng

Indexed on: 17 Feb '16Published on: 17 Feb '16Published in: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment



Abstract

Life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) is a method that combines three life cycle techniques, viz. environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle costing (LCC), and social life cycle assessment (S-LCA). This study is intended to develop a LCSA framework and a case study of LCSA for building construction projects.A LCSA framework is proposed to combine the three life cycle techniques. In the modeling phases, three life cycle models are used in the LCSA framework, namely the environmental model of construction (EMoC), cost model of construction (CMoC), and social-impact model of construction (SMoC). A residential building project is applied to the proposed LCSA framework from “cradle to the end of construction” processes to unveil the limitations and future research needs of the LCSA framework.It is found that material extraction and manufacturing account for over 90 % to the environmental impacts while they contribute to 61 % to the construction cost. In terms of social impacts, on-site construction performs better than material extraction and manufacturing, and on-site construction has larger contributions to the positive social impacts. The model outcomes are validated through interviews with local experts in Hong Kong. The result indicates that the performance of the models is generally satisfactory.The case study has confirmed that LCSA is feasible. Being one of the first applications of LCSA on building construction, this study fulfills the current research gap and paves the way for future development of LCSA.