Assessment of ecological sustainability of a building subjected to potential seismic events during its lifetime

  • Costantino MennaEmail author
  • Domenico Asprone
  • Fatemeh Jalayer
  • Andrea Prota
  • Gaetano Manfredi



Sustainable development aims to enhance the quality of life by improving the social, economic and environmental conditions for present and future generations. A sustainable engineering decision-making strategy for design and assessment of construction works (i.e., civil engineering and buildings) should take into account considerations regarding the society, the economy and the environment. This study presents a novel approach for the life cycle assessment (LCA) of a case-study building subjected to seismic actions during its service life, accounting for structural reliability.


A methodology is presented that evaluates the time-dependent probability of exceeding a limit state considering the uncertainty in the representation of seismic action. By employing this methodology, the earthquake-induced damages are related to the environmental and social losses caused by the occurrence of the earthquake. A LCA of a case-study building accounting for the time-dependent seismic reliability is conducted using a damage-oriented LCA approach.

Results and discussion

The contributions of the different life cycle phases to the total environmental impact related to the building lifetime are in agreement with previous results in this field of study. However, the LCA results revealed significant risk-based contributions for the rehabilitation phase due to the induced damage resulting in seismic events. Particularly, the rehabilitation phase is expected to contribute to the total environmental impact with around the 25 % of the initial environmental impact load (related to the pre-use phase) as a consequence of seismic damage.

Conclusions and recommendations

The probability of occurrence of seismic events affects the LCA results for various life cycle phases of a building in terms of all the indicators adopted in the analysis. The time-dependent probability of collapse in a year can represent a benchmark indicator for human safety in the context of social sustainability for the building sector. The proposed approach can be implemented in a sustainable decision-making tool for design and assessment.


Life cycle assessment Limit state probability Loss assessment Sustainability Time-dependent seismic risk 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Costantino Menna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Domenico Asprone
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Jalayer
    • 1
  • Andrea Prota
    • 1
  • Gaetano Manfredi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Structural EngineeringUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly

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