Title

An environmental assessment of wood and steel reinforced concrete housing construction

College

Gokongwei College of Engineering

Department/Unit

Civil Engineering

Document Type

Article

Source Title

Building and Environment

Volume

42

Issue

7

First Page

2778

Last Page

2784

Publication Date

7-1-2007

Abstract

Wooden type of housing is ubiquitous in Japan. It is the main structure for housing; however, due to the increase in residential developments, steel reinforced concrete houses are also on the rise. This paper assesses the environmental impacts of these two types of construction. An evaluation of the two types of construction in terms of energy usage and air emissions is done. A comparison of the damage costs due to the generated emissions is also considered. Four types of emissions generated are evaluated, namely carbon emissions (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and suspended particulate matter (SPM). The life cycle of the two different housing construction types is traced and environmental impacts are determined. External costs are also calculated. Furthermore, different improvement assessment scenarios are simulated to ascertain several emission reduction possibilities. The study looks into the emitted emissions from the housing construction to its final disposal of a typical residential development in Saga, Japan. Results show that much of the environmental impacts from building a house are on the Global Warming Potential due to high carbon emissions. Moreover, the construction phase generated the highest pollutant emissions from nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and suspended particulate matter. Steel reinforced concrete (SRC) construction has a higher environmental impact compared to the wooden type of housing construction. A longer design life for a residential house gives a reduction of about 14% in carbon emissions. Using solar energy for the operation phase has gained a reduction of 73% in the total life cycle carbon emissions.

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Disciplines

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Keywords

Wood—Environmental testing; Reinforced concrete—Environmental testing; Sustainable development; Environmental impact analysis; Product life cycle

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