The environmental impact of frame materials : an assessment of the embodied impacts for building frames in the UK construction industry
There are many important environmental issues involved in the construction and use of buildings which are either undergoing or require further research. The lack of detailed embodied energy assessments models has been identified and limits possible environmental analysis. This study examines the current state of research into the environmental impact of frame materials, assesses the quality and range of data available, sets up a new framework for evaluation of materials and uses several example structures to assess the environmental impact This has been achieved by, firstly, studying the environment related literature available concerning the frame of the building, separate from other considerations, to provide a clear understanding of the processes involved. Second, data is extracted from the literature and processed to provide a homogenous approach and level field from which frame analysis can take place. Gaps in the available data are identified. Third, the identified gaps are filled using data derived from sources ranging from manufacturers' literature to direct analysis of on site activities. Fourth, a model has been created to assess the environmental impact of the building frame. The factors assessed within the remit of environmental impact are: embodied energy, embodied CO2 and transportation hours. The embodied energy includes the primary energy for all raw materials, transportation, office overheads and contractor operations. These are calculated from the winning of raw materials, through manufacture, to demolition and recycling. Embodied CO2 encompasses the same range of data, but with respect to the CO2 transportation hours estimate the time spend on the road by vehicles involved in the embodied energy and CO2 calculations. Finally data from several buildings has been used, to evaluated the environmental merits of each with respect to each other and to other buildings for which calculations have been performed. Conclusions have been draw and. further work suggested.