Evaluation Research Proposal Paper On Life Cycle Assessment (Lca) On Construction Work
1.     Introduction
Among OECD countries, the residential and commercial building sectors are understood to account for about one third of primary energy use. This is in addition to the energy used for producing the building materials, components, assemblies and the transport of building materials. The building and construction (non-building) sectors also account for 30-50% of all commodities consumed (by weight) and generate 40% of solid waste (OECD 2002; OECD 2003). As environmental pressures such as climate change and resource scarcity become more acute, the capacity of finite material resources to sustain human consumption is brought into question (Global Footprint Network 2007). Reducing the footprint of the built environment requires solutions that improve building efficiency, both in an operational sense and a material sense. In seeking to achieve these improvements, techniques such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provide useful insights into the sources of burdens that can help to identify design options that reduce these impacts (ISO14044(2006).
In an Australian context, sustainability is increasingly becoming a key consideration of building practitioners, policy makers and industry alike. As solutions are sought to reduce the impacts of buildings, LCA is seen as an objective measure for comparing building designs that avoids problems, such as ‘burden shifting’, apparent in more subjective approaches that focus on single environmental issues in isolation (UNEP 2004). In order to support and further the use of LCA in building related decision making, initiatives such as the AusLCI project have been established to develop and retain the data needed to undertake LCA. Drawing from these themes, this study explores the application of LCA through the assessment of a typical and alternative Australian houses (Rebitzer, G. et al, 2004).

  1. Literature Review

Program Description

LCA as defined by the ISO14040 (2006) series of standards forms the fundamental methodology for comparing the building construction types described in the paper. The key elements of the LCA methodology are indicated.
LCA is the process of evaluating the potential effects that a product, process or service has on the environment over the entire period of its life cycle. Illustrates the life cycle system concept of natural resources and energy entering the system with products, waste and emissions leaving the system. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has defined LCA as: “[A] Compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its lifecycle” ISO 14040(2006).

Evaluability Assessment

The technical framework for LCA consists of four components, each having a very important role in the assessment. They are interrelated throughout the entire assessment and in accordance with the current terminology of the International Standards Organisation (ISO). The components are goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment and interpretation as illustrated in.
The primary aim of an impact assessment is to identify and establish a link between the product’s life cycle and the potential environmental impacts associated with it (Trusty, 2010). The impact assessment stage consists of three phases that are intended to evaluate the significance of the potential environmental effects associated with the product system:

  1. i) The first phase is the characterisation of the results, assigning the elemental flows to impact categories, and calculating their contribution to that impact.
  2. ii) The second phase is the comparison of the impact results to total national impact levels and is called normalisation.

iii) The third phase is the weighting of these normalised results together to enable the calculation of a single indictor result. In this study, only the first two phases are undertaken.

Evaluation Approach

At the commencement of an LCA, the goal and scope of the study needs to be clearly defined. The goal should state unambiguously the intended application/purpose of the study, the audience for which the results are intended, the product or function that is to be studied, and the scope of the study. When defining the scope, consideration of the reference unit, system boundaries and data quality requirements are some of the issues to be covered (Crawford, 2011).
Inventory analysis which is concerned with the collection, analysis and validation of data that quantifies the appropriate inputs and outputs of a product system will be used. The results include a process flow chart and a list of all emissions and raw material & energy inputs (inventory table) that are associated with the product under study. Full Audience Checklist and analysis is shown in Figure 1: Evaluation Audience Checklist.


Interpretation is a systematic evaluation of the outcomes of the life cycle inventory analysis and/or impact assessment, in relation to the goal and scope. This interpretation result into conclusions of the environmental profile of the product or system under investigation, and recommendations on how to improve the environmental profile. In addition to the basic LCA methodology, specific methods have been used in the study to develop inventory data for building material quantities and energy consumption over the life of the building.
The goal of this study is to compare the impacts associated with the materials of these systems only, including end-of-life management. This study is intended to inform the possible outcome of a full life cycle assessment, which would include the additional impacts associated with the occupation and use of the building.
This study utilises life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to quantify and compare the greenhouse potential and cumulative energy demand (CED) of the following single-story detached house designs:

  • Conventional, timber-frame brick-veneer house design of equivalent floor area and interior amenity (without thermal performance upgrades)
  • New house wall (1), reinforced concrete wall with polystyrene insulation R1.5
  • New house wall (2), reinforced concrete wall with rock wool insulation R1.5

Evaluation Approach
The planning system will be designed for sole purposes of ensuring that suitable land is apportioned for development projects which consider environmental, social and economic policies. Such level of developments should be consistent with various principles of development. Planning system will ensure that holistic view is maintained based on local concerns and circumstances in the process of delivering sustainable homes and communities. Greater synergy should exist between the planning system and building regulations for the purposes of encouraging new housing development. Planning of homes has major impact on functioning level within societies. The planning and design of homes should consider various factors such as access to jobs, community facilities and access to transport. Well organized and planned housing development assist in the creation of unity hence contribute towards reduction in anti-social behavior. Sustainable systems should consider various issues regarding economic, social and environmental dimensions. Planning system assists in determining issues of land use and location for the purposes of advancing quality design capable of considering environmental and social terms. Planning for sustainable development involves issues on efficient utilization of renewable and local energy sources, waste management, pollution and waste control in the process of construction, transport generation, landscape protection, management of water resources as well as health and social impacts of design layouts.
Planning systems within country and towns are endowed with responsibility of regulating nature of land development across regions. The planning process should include balancing of competing objectives with aim of considering issues on sustainable development as well as sustainable construction as per Planning Policy Guidance. The system should entail previous, existing and proposed new arrangements as per regional tiers (National, regional, Sub-regional, County and Local). Planning authorities should produce policies with details on sustainable design and construction. The system should entail spatial strategies for regions, sustainable development frameworks, minerals and waste management development frameworks, local development frameworks as well as community involvement frameworks.
Building designs and materials should incorporate existing good practices for housing. The building design should entail internal layout capable of maximizing clean energy sources such as passive solar heating. There should be provision of good natural ventilation and conservation of heat through the use of recommended material such as atria and porches. Adequate access and ventilation should be enabled through the use of good layout for windows, doors and roof lights. The design should as well provide for recycling of rainwater as well as active solar systems and all domestic wastes on site should be cleared. Materials used in building should have reduced energy inputs, locally manufactured and require low maintenance processes; such materials as bricks and timber are applicable in this case (Nimda, 2011).
In the construction phase the process of development should consider some aspects such as the nature of buildings appropriate for different locations since this would help in maintaining heritage of some specific areas. The nature of the landscape should be used in the duty of establishing appropriate building heights. Any developmental activity should strictly consider the various sections of the city in order to maintain height diversity. Government Department concerned with development should ensure that low rise accommodates appropriate buildings as well as low density areas since this would enhance diversity within the commercial area. Preservation of the ridgelines in the process of development could be of great benefit since they are considered valuable assets. Height profile should be aimed at enhancing the relationship between new houses and natural landscape, hence building free zone under the ridgelines would be necessary for viewing from key points (Porritt, 2003).
Planning system is considered in new housing development due to the attention given to the general health of urban inhabitants. Such cases should consider separation of industrial sections from residential areas, process referred to as zoning. Planning system in urban areas should also consider separation of work and family life and at the same time development of infrastructure including transport network. However, issues on health should be addressed through planning with health aspiration as core concern (Victorian Department of Sustainability and the Environment, 2005).
Metropolitan plans play an important role in the process of creating and developing new housing within healthy cities. They are responsible for setting housing frameworks for various plans within cities giving detailed and specific guidelines concerning urban construction. In the process of encouraging new housing development, high standards of living are mandatory irrespective of whether an individual lives in the city or country side. This is supported by quality economic provision from the government and private sector (Victorian Department of Sustainability and the Environment, 2005).
Development of modern quality housing requires the use of upgraded technology capable of producing modern designs and at the same time maintaining a sustainable environment. Infrastructural development does not entirely define an urban metropolis; it is also defined by the expectations and ambitions of its habitants and characterized by its upsides and downsides. The region’s background, practices and communal set up, form the core of the nature of houses to be built. There is need to effectively administer region’s populace, community and academic resources. Effective management portrays administrators’ ability of initiating exclusive strategies for growth, which should involve the population and focus on alleviating poverty. The political dispensation needs to be improved and corresponding reorganization of the societal set up achieved. All available capital should be called to use so as to uphold a well balanced growth. Whatever the methodology employed to attain these objectives should encompass the following precedence; discrepancies that exist in the population, dissimilarities in the metropolis, ecological perils and the city’s development (Scott 2000).
For the purposes of encouraging more sustainable patterns of new housing development, planning system and the environment should be in correspondence. The infrastructure should encourage environmentally friendly means of transport. There should be enough room to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles in essence reducing air contamination from fumes emanating from motor vehicles. The value of human life is elevated with good housing development and planning system that reflects accountability and far sightedness on the side of the administration. The global benchmark advocates for provision of clean water, observation of hygiene, permanent housing structures and adequate room to reside. These factors constitute a good living environment. The administration should concentrate its efforts on making all services accessible to the whole populace, using environmentally friendly and alternative fuels and ensuring the city’s environmental impression does not cross outside its boundaries (Scott 2000).
For the purposes of encouraging more sustainable patterns of new housing development, planning system should consider the nature of construction activities which would to an extent affect the environment, economy and culture of the natives. Construction projects should comply with all the set environmental standards and the various laws safeguarding the people’s rights. The quality of the environment and sustainability proves vulnerable hence care should be taken to prevent slight changes which might trigger great and permanent damages to the environment. Planning systems within urban centers face many challenges in the process of trying to minimize the level of harm on the environment. To be regarded as world-class destination towns, the specified regions should give priority to environmental improvement.
All stakeholders within the construction industry should cooperate in ensuring development of sustainable forms of housing. There is need for partnership between public and private sectors especially in planning and making viable strategies capable of producing results in the long-run. The same level of cooperation and partnership is required between local and foreign based organizations for the purposes of ensuring continuous provision of clients as well as the required services. There is also need for reinforced partnership between the community and the visitors ensuring harmonized understanding and co-existence. Planners should consider striking a balance between economic returns and environmental conservation for the purposes of achieving sustainable development. All practices need to be environment friendly and consider various social responsibilities. There needs to be complete reduction in the level of waste both in form of human and natural resources with the focus on tourists and local community. Planning system should incorporate construction of infrastructure used for general works such as storm-water drainage system, sewerage system, water supply alongside utility services. The other important work would involve stabilizing the sloppy ground alongside landscaping works.
Key environmental impacts arising from the construction activities and project construction includes several processes with various effects. The impact on the Air quality could be related to effects of dust nuisance alongside gaseous emissions from the construction machinery. The various activities include site formation, construction of various facilities such as hotels, water recreation Centre, roads, and railway including pedestrian footpaths. Air emissions from fuel combustion from the machineries used, odor emissions from sewage stations and also fireworks displays are all the concern of the various developments (The Government Logistics Department 2005).
Noise also has a very big impact on the environment, powered mechanical equipment used in the construction process presents primary source of noise to the immediate environment. Some of the major activities involve reclamation of the site and the construction of the surrounding sea walls, construction of access roads as well as pedestrian paths, construction of railway link, sport recreation centre, and the construction of other facilities. Other potential impact is on the quality of water caused by formation of reclamations, other land based works such as construction of roads and theme parks. Further assessment anticipated presence of an exceeding Water Quality Objectives caused by suspended sediment caused due to accumulation of all residues from construction sites. However, all these cumulative impacts could be managed through preventive measures which include the use of advanced technological construction methods. Increase in the level of concentration of suspended sediments was discovered to have less adverse effects on the cultured fish hence not much negative impact (The Government Logistics Department 2005).
The other impact concerns waste management. Majority of the waste originate from the construction sites which includes; dredged materials, fragments from demolished sites, spilled chemicals amongst others. Reclamation of the Penny Bay would accommodate over 1.8 million cubic metre of land fill. All the reclamation activities done on the constructed bays would utilize sand fill. There would be an increase in the amount of municipal solid waste owing to the nature of massive construction activities involved, this was estimated to be approximately thirty eight tons per day (tpd) within the last five years but expected to triple fifteen years from now. However out of the massive waste, good percentage is expected to be recycled through local means. This is since there is major market for the existing recyclables. Planning and development sector should encourage programs enhancing recovery of recyclable wastes from the stream of both compostable and non-compostable refuse. Waste management department should adopt targets for various recovery plans which would assist in the determination of practical recycling rate (The Government Logistics Department 2005).
Social Issues
In the process of planning for new housing development access has been considered as one of the most important aspects within various cities where facilities as well as information are available to all. For the purposes of encouraging more sustainable patterns of new housing development, the planning department is required to design methods which would enable the industry to develop responsibly and in a sustainable manner. The level of pollution and exhaustion of the environment determines the nature of the carrying capacity within the destined area. Statistics reveals that within the current time a city like Hong Kong receives approximately 15 million visitors. Despite the growing number of visitors the government has placed little consideration on developing sectors meant to overcome the demands placed upon the environment (Scott 2000).
Sustainable development requires updated proactive initiatives which could be for longer periods of time. All the initiatives need to be market oriented rather than those which only follow trends (Kaye and Heung, 2002). Several environmental issues could always be addressed through observation of the economic status of the region. This could be realized based on the population trends and nature of carrying capacity. Such data would easily reveal level of exhaustion of natural resources as well as human capital. The concepts used in defining sustainable development and economic growth should be connected with the objective providing enough protection to the available resources as well as providing the necessary satisfaction to the population. The kind of construction work taking place as well as the level of emissions could pose dangerous effects to the climate. The level of productivity and consumption could at times result into increased rate of environmental degradation. However the increase in such rates in most cases symbolizes economic growth.
Knowing and understanding planning system and the way in which people operate is critical for business. Keeping track of societal changes is also important such as the number of household owning motor vehicles. It’s also noted that many people choose to drive rather than use public transport. Keeping track of such information, social trends allows organizations to design plans which correspond to societal needs and at the same time anticipate their needs as a whole.
In some cases trends include fast paced lifestyles, more impatient attitudes and people are less tolerant to delays. Such system has the capability of shaping the various complex interactions between the public and private institutions. The government plays a big role in an economic system since it has the capability of enhancing the economic functions through provision of security, establishment of legal system safeguarding the construction of basic facilities including infrastructure. And at the same time, supervising Agencies involved in the provision of safety within the economic cycles, hence reducing costs of expenditure.
Key overall recommendations for the Planning system
In the process of development it is recommended that local policies should reflect various strategies within the region and follow national planning guidance. There should be clear policies on sustainable development, design characteristics, sustainable housing and construction. All planning policies should entail basis on which various planning applications are judged in relation to sustainable development. There is also need to encourage development of Eco-Homes since they are environmentally friendly (Davies and Charter, 2003). Additionally, communities should be trained on the benefits of developing and maintain clean environment through such new housing schemes. At the same time it is important for planning authorities to identify important resources recommended for sustainable construction of distinctive buildings. The planning authorities should be capable of encouraging use of environmentally friendly energy fuels capable of constituting a good living environment. All residents irrespective of their social class should be capable of accessing important services without experience on congestions.
Equitable planning for urban development should follow the nature of environmental improvement. This starts from development of every part of the new houses based on sanitation, improved water services, as well as sufficient living space. However the creation of high standard houses normally requires much effort in terms of resources. This includes protecting populations from environmental hazards, ensuring the availability of adequate and affordable social services, conservation of available clean energy deposits for the purposes of reducing environmental footprint and impact. There is crucial achievement realized when practicing integrated spatial development as well as committing the development towards achieving social equity in the process of planning are very instrumental in creating harmonious cities.
Sustainable development in the whole planning process is a requirement which can only be achieved through candid planning from various authorities. Pollution levels and environmental exhaustion determines the capacity that can be supported by regions at a given point of time, this calls for comprehensive measures on pollution control. Such measures can only prove successful when planning system and building control works together with authorities dealing with environmental health. Owing to such considerations there is need of empowering various development sectors for the purpose of overcoming environmental demands. Decrease in resource base prevents anticipated growth of regions hence calls for great concern over sustainable development which is a prerequisite to economic growth.
Urban planning could be referred to as the art involved in designing places for the purpose of settling urban population. The various methods used in design processes present one of the vital elements of urban planning. The planning process should encompass various aspects such as health and aesthetic value of buildings based on the intended functions. In addition the design should incorporate construction of passage areas capable of enhancing easy movement of people and traffic (Australian Bureau of Statistic, 2001). Improvement in the nature of social status through communication plays an important role in linking crucial centres within the towns. Urban planning and design incorporates healthy frameworks capable of providing quality outlook of the development formats hence accommodating comfortably higher percentage of population and developmental activities and at the same time maintaining socio-cultural activities (Susan and John, 2004).
Mining activities within the outcasts of potential cities presents big threat to sociological issues. The process usually begins with exploration which is considered as very technical and expensive task. The process helps in finding potential mineral deposits before the actual mining process (Bridge and Watson, 2002). Excavation that accompanies the whole process is considered a potential source of health hazard. Mineral deposits after extraction are considered non-renewable resources contrary to other natural resources, hence new deposits of minerals should constantly be found. Mining is found within many countries of the world with London being referred to as the capital of global mining houses. The level of consumption of minerals within the world is attributed to high population growth rate. The level has considerably increased placing the demand at higher level in the 20th and 21st century. Such increase is attributed to higher dependency on automobiles within the transport sector amongst the city dwellers. At the same time the use of heavy machinery for production amongst other human and industrial services. The United States is considered major importer of minerals and large producer of mineral products. However, the conservation on mineral resources has become a crucial issue within the society making the mining industry endorse policies favouring extraction of minerals (National Mining Association, 1998).
Contemporary social issue
Recent crises within public health reveals the extent to which coordinated activities within government ensures efficacy of public policies aimed at enriching population’s health. The need for well-coordinated intervention activities within areas of intense human activities faces various challenges based on responsibility allocation, power and jurisdiction required for public administration. Great concern has been voiced on the physical and psychological illness found amongst various city populations within Australia (ABS, 2007b). There are increasing rates in juvenile diseases, epidemic of depression and emotional stress reflecting decline in lifespan owing to lifestyle related diseases. Research reveals that urban planning go hand-in-hand with current health patterns within Sidney. Most cities share almost same urban set-up whereby there is car dependency, separation of home and work with poor health patterns. Such scenario presents extensive evidence with demonstrations on how city dwellers are becoming increasingly insensitive towards health. Those living in suburban environments are always relaxed from undertaking regular physical exercises owing to heavy traffic and unpleasant environment. Single family dwelling further has got pronounced challenges since they are considered isolated from the general population hence do not have time to interact with their neighbours. This leads to reduction in social capital as well as human compassion. Such scenarios of urban planning and development are common to Australian cities due to lack of integrated health facilities, equity amongst the social classes (Butterworth, 2000; Johnson, 2004; Knox, 2003). Various scenarios underpin the existing living patterns in Australia such as; loss of biodiversity, loss of habitat, increase in suburban areas, marginalization of low income earners and competition on privatization of public land. However, previous researches revealed the role of the physical environment in addressing various social issues on isolation and mental sicknesses such as depression (Victorian Department of Sustainability and the Environment, 2005).

  1. Methodology

The study will utilize qualitative and quantitative approach which will employ interviews, survey and questionnaire for data collection, and analysis. Depending on the data that the research will be collecting, the study is subjective experimental and this type of design is very appropriate for this type of research as it will minimize the chance of drawing incorrect causal inferences from the collected data.
Evaluation Design

Description of product systems under investigation

This project focuses on the structural material elements of a residential building. It compares the environmental impacts due to material systems associated with the following house designs:

  1. Conventional, timber-frame brick-veneer house design of equivalent floor area and interior amenity (without thermal performance upgrades)
  2. New house wall (1), reinforced concrete wall with polystyrene insulation R1.5
  3. New house wall (2), reinforced concrete wall with rock wool insulation R1.5

The scope does not include fixture and fittings within the building envelope. The floor plans for each of the three house design options are the same living space. The differences between the house designs are predominantly associated with the structural elements, cladding systems or wall system. All house designs rely on a reinforced concrete slab foundation and conventional timber roof system. The windows and doors are also kept the same for all three house types.

Functional unit

The purpose of the functional unit is to provide an equitable measure to compare the houses considered that is solely based on the service provided by the house. The residential living space comprising is one single storey house of 100.2 m2 of likeable area for the duration of 60 years, in Melbourne, Victoria.
Functional unit: 1 square meter of internal floor area for 1 year.

System boundary

The life cycle stages of this assessment include:

  • Embodied impacts associated with materials used
  • Transport
  • construction
  • Waste management of materials at end of life

The system boundary describes the processes which are included in the analysis, including material and energy flows to and from the environment associated with the manufacture and disposal life cycle stages. As outlined in Figure 3-2, the system boundary of this study includes the:

  • Processes for extraction and production of the raw materials;
  • Transport and conversion of the materials into products;
  • End of life waste management of the materials, including recycling and landfill.

As construction types potentially affect thermal performance of the building, heating and cooling operational impacts have been included. Notable exclusions from the system are interior decoration, furnishing, floor coverings, cabinetry, skirting and trim, window coverings, electrical fit-out, plumbing fit-out, garden, surface concrete, mechanical systems infrastructure (operational heating and cooling to be included, but not the device itself). Also, excluded from the study are other operational impacts such as appliances, household domestic waste generation, water consumption etc. as there is limited connection between these processes and the building construction type.
Processes not affecting the building envelope have been excluded from the system boundary, including infrastructure processes (including capital equipment), human labour, fixtures and fittings. Construction impacts were included by modelling the transport of material to site. Onsite fabrication impacts are assumed to be minimal for all construction types.
Examples of house designs
Macau’s Shop Houses structural design is such that the key building is made of twin block walls which hold up the spherical wooden logs at the base and top. The purpose of the spherical log is to grip wooden floors and roof tiles in place. Twin walls form the roof gable and they stick out at about 30cm from the portico. The structural design of the roof is such that it extends above the street entrance establishing a shelter from extreme weather. This is an intelligent way of making the most of the twin walls. The typical measurements of the portico are established from the spherical four meter wooden logs. Alterations are minimal but consist of small units which are put together. The extent of the gable walls ranges between 5 and 30 meters whilst in certain conditions they attain larger measurements. There is an optional contracted entrance that lies amid the gable walls. The modern typology presented a structural design that had lots of its windows arched and adorned with stucco. The entrance is made of wood or granite rectangle. Inscribed in large fonts over the beam of the main entrance to rich households, is the family name of the kin. Many of its fortifications are constructed using “the blue brick” commonly referred to as Cheong Jun. In order to secure the lower portion of the portico from muck that splatters on the walls during the rainy spell, a beam that stands at one meter in height made of stonework or additional tier of plaster is constructed. The key entry is characterized with additional layers of security which provides for a variety of forms that allows a variety of   requirements. It could be a plain flat wooden model.   At the height of the Qing’s reign the typology’s windows were made of tiers of translucent mother pearls enclosed in an uneven wooden edifice (Pinheiro et al 2005, 15). The French windows were very popular with this typology as it provided for more aeration and privacy as it covered the inside of the house from inquisitive glare of neighbours.
Evaluation Plan

Life Cycle Impact Assessment method

A listing of the methods used in the assessment method is given. The methods translate emissions, resource extraction and other inputs into defined environmental or inventory indicators.

Inventory of : Preparer:
Life-cycle Stage Description:
Quality Assurance Approval:
Data Value (a) Type (b) Data (c) Age/Scope Quality Measures (d)
Other (e)
Water Usage
Co-products (f)
Air Emissions
Water Effluents
Solid Waste
Capital Repl.
(a) Include units
(b) lndicate whether data am actual measurements. engineenng esbmates. or meOreM or p u M M values and whether the numbers am from a specifc manufacturer
or laclhty, or whether they represent tndustIYavemge vdues bst a speatic source if pertnent e g , %blamed from Atlanta faality wastewater permit monitonng data ”
(c) lndcate rvhether emissions are all available, regulated only, or selected. Designate data as lo geographic specificity, e.g., North America. and indicate tba period
covered. e.g.. average of monthly lor 1991.
(d) List measures of data qualily available for the data item, e a . m t a c y , precision. repreantativeness. consislencychecked, olher, or none.
(e) Include nontrad*onal inputs. e.g.. land use, when appmp Mte and necessary.
(0 If coproduct allocation memod was applied, indicate basis in quality measures cdumn. e.g.. weight.

A typical Checklist of criteria with worksheet for performing a life-cycle inventory

Life Cycle Inventory

Inventory data

This section details the information and assumptions used to develop the life cycle inventory (LCI) for the products considered in this study. Unless otherwise indicated, process data are reported in the scale by which they were originally reported. The inventory was developed from bill of materials (BOM) data. Table above provides details on the inventories used for modeling the material systems under study.

Material quantities

Material quantities for the house considered are based on selected house of a typical Australian 3 bedroom. Roof, floor and windows were kept as is and basic floor plan layout was unmodified. Material quantities for the house have been developed from calculated wall, window, floor and roof areas and standard quantity factors based on Lawson (1996) which have been adjusted to accommodate more realistic quantities for foundation systems, elevated floor systems and to recognize contemporary building material sizes. This technique is similar to that applied by Maddox (2003).

Building life

Building life has been assumed to be 60 years. This assumption is consistent with other studies as well as Australian Building Codes Board guidance (ABCB 2006).

Building operation

Building operation and maintenance are included in the study. Operational impacts are limited to the provision of heating and cooling only. Other operational impacts such as hot water, appliances, lighting etc are excluded from the system considered.
Each construction type assessed was modelled using the AccuRate energy simulation were assessed for a star rating then adjusted by adding energy efficiency enhancements as necessary in order to achieve a star rating of 6 stars in climate zones of Melbourne.

Energy sources for heating and cooling

In order to translate energy consumption during building operation into environmental impacts, assumptions regarding the heating and cooling systems employed are required. For heating and cooling it is assumed that an electric reverse cycle air condition system was used. For heating it is assumed that the average coefficient of performance (COP) is 4.271 and for cooling the energy efficiency ratio (EER) is 4.039. The assumption was based on the performance of air condition types available in the market. The thermal performance of cooling and heating air condition and required unit is shown in Table. The Carbon impacts per 1KWh of electricity consumption is 1.11 kg CO2-equ (Australian LCI database)


Maintenance requirements for the constructions have been estimated based on assumed replacement rates. Table 16 describes the estimated replacement rates for key components. In general, replacement frequencies are equal to or higher than technical design lives (Howard, Burgess et al. 2007; NAHB 2007) quoted in the literature. Accrual of maintenance impact is assumed to occur linearly from the commencement of house operation (as opposed to discrete intervals), thereby avoiding interval truncation errors. Disposal of components replaced is assumed to be to landfill.


Foreground transport processes were based on likely transport distances and modes. The following summarises the key transport distances and modes

  • Concrete from Nowra to Berry: Concrete truck (17.4 km)
  • Bricks from Nowra to Berry: Articulated truck (17.4 km)
  • Steel from Wollongong to Berry: Articulated truck (61.4 km)
  • Colorbond sheet from Wollongong to Berry: Articulated truck (61.4 km)
  • Oriented strand board (OSB) from Austria to Perth: Articulated truck from St Johan (Austria) to Slovenia (337 km) , sea freight from Slovenia to Perth via Singapore (19,443 km), articulated truck from Freemantle to Perth (20 km)
  • SIPS panels from Perth to Berry: Diesel train freight (4352 km)
  • SIPS panels from Sydney to Berry: Articulated truck (144 km)
  • Container unit from China to Berry: Articulated road freight to Shanghai port (10 km), sea freight from to Sydney (8604.3 km), articulated road freight from Sydney to Berry (143.7 km)
  • Structural soft and hard wood: Articulate truck (200 km); estimate only

All other transport modelling relied on inventories in the background databases. Road freight distances were used in conjunction with Australian Life Cycle Inventory and ecoinvent unit processes for articulated trucks. These inventories include the impacts of backhauls, including empty returns, based on regional averages. Sea freight distances were estimated using port-to-port freight distances available from shippingdistances.com. The inventory for international shipping freight inventory from ecoinvent was used.

End of life

Post-consumer waste inventories were modelled for each material and disposal region. The end-of-life consisted of treatment in landfill and construction and demolition (C&D) recycling. The split between these end-of-life treatments was modelled based on data for the material and region considered.

Approach to recycling

Recycling processes accounted for the impacts associated with collection and reprocessing into new products. In addition, credits were applied to recycling for the avoidance of materials from virgin sources. Regional-specific inventories were developed for all recycling processes.

End of life

At end-of-life the building materials are assumed to be disposed of to either a recycling process or a landfill process. The split between these end-of-life treatments was modelled based on data for the material and region considered.

Approach to recycling

Recycling processes accounted for the impacts associated with collection and reprocessing into new products. In addition, credits were applied to recycling for the avoidance of materials from virgin sources. Regional-specific inventories were developed for all recycling processes.


While these estimates are believed to be sufficient to compare alternative construction types, they could be further enhanced by a study that involves actual measurements, especially when it comes to construction material quantities and waste on-site.

Life cycle inventory

This results in assumptions being required regarding the bill of material quantities and overall operational requirements which are based on theoretical estimates rather than actual measuresthe secondary data sets utilized in existing life cycle inventories. The inventories and results in this study are based on recent supply-chain specific data.
Evaluation Reflection

Use phase exclusion

The assessment assessed the impacts of the material and end of life systems only. The exclusion of the use phase means that a full life cycle was not considered. The directional nature of the results may change if the use phase is included.

Impact assessment methodology

In assessing potential environmental impacts, the study does not differentiate between local and global impacts. For certain environmental indicators, this can be important. LCIA results are relative expressions and do not predict impacts on category endpoints, the exceeding of thresholds, safety margins or risks and, when included as a part of the LCA.

Cumulative Energy Demand indicator

In instances where fossil-based energy is used, CED can correlate to global warming potential. However, where renewable energy systems are used, CED will not correlate with any environmental indicator.

Impact assessment results

The results of the study are not intended to reflect an industry-wide outcome of production in Australia, nor to describe potential environmental impacts of utilizing the studied products considered in all circumstances.
Material Bill
The bill shows the major building materials considered in the basic building bill of quantities. Other items such as windows, sarking, insulation, door hardware, doors, damp-course and concrete membrane are also included in the model developed.
Table 1: Proposed Budget

Phase Description Cost
Desk Research 20 hours senior executive
30 hours junior executive
Cost of accessing relevant reports
Qualitative research Five focus groups
Quantitative research 300 CATI interviews
Total cost

Projected Costs

Subtotal = 10,000,000 Land
Subtotal = 2,600,000 Building
Subtotal = 379,285 Materials and Equipments
Subtotal = 50,000 Technology
Subtotal = 250,000 Personnel
Expert Staff
Total Funding Request = $13,279,285

Planning and housing construction system should manly focus on producing good designs of houses. This is since sustainable development presents core turning point on quality environment, attraction of major investments as well as healthy community. Increase in environmental problems is attributable to rapid increase in population which ultimately strains the carrying capacity of given areas. This can ultimately contribute towards poor provision of services and resources within specified places. Planning authorities should regulate various domains which contribute towards environmental degradation which include cases such as; industrial pollution, deforestation, land excavation and urbanization. Environmental pollution has been the result of extreme exploitation of the natural resources creating irreversible situations hence making pollution one of the biggest threats towards social livelihood within new housing development process. Records from World Health Organization, reveals that approximately two million people die every year out of air pollution the number being exclusive of those suffering ailments and diseases which could be traced from the same sources.
City’s design will be based on careful planning and robust international management style. The level of maintenance within public areas should signify high sensitivity to health matters. This demands that cleanliness should be of high standards and available structures maintained in seemingly orderly manner. The structures used on daily basis such as footpaths, restaurants and bridges should portray high efficiency levels (Gleeson and Randolph, 2002). Such organizations makes it possible to control and coordinate crown influx. The presence of parks should be seen as means for regulating crowd movement within cool and relaxed environments. Such organization makes it easier for the management to control public movements and behaviours extended to social sites. Visitors coming into the city experiences lots of ease especially when it comes to travelling in and out of the central business district (Anderson, 1999).
The kind of approaches utilized in urban planning and development has experienced great innovation over time. Such changes involve the use of local governments in the processes of planning, developing and maintenance of cities. The processes at times allow for public opinions before any major construction activity. Experiences on rapid growth of urban centres within developing nations are largely marred with various challenges such as traffic congestion, pollution, and overcrowding and high crime rates. However, utilizing appropriate strategies within governance and visionary leadership can assist in overcoming the stipulated challenges (Scott, 2000).
Sydney is one of the cities experiencing rapid increase in environmental problems. This is well attributed to rapid increase in urban population creating some strains within the recommended carrying capacity. Overcrowding leads to unhealthy standards such as poor provision of health services and vital resources within the required places. The change experienced due to rapid population increase provided disruptive scenarios to the entire environment. Such scenarios include cases such as; industrial pollution, deforestation and land excavation. Environmental pollution results from extreme exploitation of the limited natural resources which ultimately creates irreversible situations. Air pollution is recorded as one of the major sources of diseases as reported by World Health Organization. According to United Nations approximately two million people die every year from diseases associated with air pollution (Badcock, 1997, pp. 243-259).
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