Land use impact assessment in the construction sector: an analysis of LCIA models and case study application

  • Allacker K
  • de Souza D
  • Sala S
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Abstract

Purpose: Land use is a potentially important impact category in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of buildings. Three research questions are addressed in this paper: Is land use a decisive factor in the environmental impact of buildings?; Is it important to include the primary land use of buildings in the assessment?; and How does the environmental performance of solid structure and timber frame dwellings differ when assessed by distinct available models for quantifying land use impacts? Methods: This paper compares several operational land use impact assessment models, which are subsequently implemented in an LCA case study comparing a building constructed using timber frame versus a solid structure. Different models were used for addressing the different research questions. Results and discussion: The results reveal that contrasting decisions may be supported by LCA study results, depending on whether or not and how land use is included in the assessment. The analysis also highlights the need to include the building land footprint in the assessment and to better distinguish building locations in current land use impact assessment models. Conclusions: Selecting land use assessment models that are most appropriate to the goals of the study is recommended as different models assess different environmental issues related to land use. In general, the combination of two land use assessment methods for buildings is recommended, i.e. soil organic matter (SOM) of Milà i Canals and Eco-indicator 99. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Construction
  • Impact assessment
  • Land use
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Resource depletion

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