Advertisement

Marlo’s windows: why it is a mistake to ignore hazard resistance in LCA

  • Jeff Plumblee
  • Leidy Klotz
BUILDING COMPONENTS AND BUILDINGS

Abstract

Purpose

Hazard-resistant materials for homes promise environmental benefits, such as avoided waste and materials for repairs, which can be overlooked by scoping in life-cycle assessment (LCA) approaches. Our motivation for pursuing this research was to see how incorporating these avoided losses in the LCA could impact choices between hazard-resistant and traditional materials.

Methods

Two choices common in home construction were analyzed using an LCA process that incorporates catastrophe modeling to consider avoided losses made possible with hazard-resistant materials. These findings were compared to those based on a similar LCA that did not consider these avoided losses. The choices considered were standard windows vs. windows with impact-resistant glass and standard windows with no opening protection vs. standard windows with impact-resistant storm panels.

Results and discussion

For the window comparisons, the standard products were environmentally preferable when avoided losses from storm events were not considered in the LCA. However, when avoided losses were considered, the hazard-resistant products were environmentally preferable. Considering avoided losses in LCAs, as illustrated by the window choices, can change which product appears to be the environmentally preferable option. Further, as home service life increases, the environmental net benefit of the hazard-resistant product increases.

Conclusions

Our results show the value of an LCA approach which allows more complete scopings of comparisons between hazard-resistant materials and their traditional counterparts. This approach will help translate the impacts of hazard-resistant products into the more familiar language used to talk about “green” products, enabling more informed decisions by product manufacturers, those who develop building certification systems and codes, researchers, and other building industry stakeholders.

Keywords

Buildings Catastrophe models Durability Hazard resistance Hurricanes Hybrid LCA LCA Resilience Risk management Windows 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through their Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors are also grateful for the opportunity to undertake an intensive research experience with Risk Management Solutions (RMS) and for access to their RiskLink software.

References

  1. Aktas C, Bilec M (2012) Impact of lifetime on US residential building LCA results. Int J Life Cycle Assess 17(3):337–349Google Scholar
  2. Athena Sustainable Materials Institute (2010) Athena impact estimator for buildings—V4.1 software and database overview. http://www.athenasmi.org/tools/docs/ImpactEstimatorSoftwareAndDatabaseOverview.pdf. Accessed 28 Apr 2012
  3. Bare J (2002) Developing a consistent decision-making framework by using the U.S. EPA's TRACI, National Risk Management Laboratory. http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/std/traci/traci.html. Accessed 10 Feb 2013
  4. Citherlet S, Di Guglielmo F, Gay J (2000) Window and advanced glazing systems life cycle assessment. Energy Build 32(3):225–234Google Scholar
  5. Committee on Structural Wind Engineering (2012) Wind issues in the design of buildings. American Society of Civil Engineers PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  6. Green Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (2012) Economic input–output life cycle assessment. http://www.eiolca.net. Accessed 28 Apr 2012
  7. Grinsted A, Moore J, Jevrejeva S (2013) Projected Atlantic hurricane surge threat from rising temperatures. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(14):5369–5373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grossi P, Kunreuther H (2005) Catastrophe modeling: A new approach to managing risk. Springer, HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guggemos A, Horvath A (2005) Comparison of environmental effects of steel- and concrete-framed buildings. J Infrastruct Sys 11(2):93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ISO (2006) 14040 Environmental management-life cycle assessment-principles and framework. British Standards Institution, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Jonsson A, Bjorklund T, Tillman A (1998) LCA of concrete and steel building frames. Int J Life Cycle Assess 3(4):216–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ochoa L (2004) Life cycle assessment of residential buildings. Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon UniversityGoogle Scholar
  13. Padgett J, Tapia C (2012) Examining the integration of sustainability and natural hazard risk mitigation into life cycle analyses of structures. Struct Congr 2012:1929–1940Google Scholar
  14. Reap J, Roman F, Duncan S, Bras B (2008) A survey of unresolved problems in life cycle assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(4):290–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Recio J, Narváez R, Guerrero P (2005) Estimate of energy consumption and CO 2 emission associated with the production, use and final disposal of PVC, aluminum and wooden windows. Département de Projectes d’Engineyeria, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Environmental Modelling Lab, Barcelona, SpainGoogle Scholar
  16. Salazar J, Sowlati T (2008) Life cycle assessment of windows for the North American residential market: case study. Scand J For Res 23(2):121–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Smith A, Katz R (2013) US billion-dollar weather and climate disasters: data sources, trends, accuracy and biases. Nat Hazards 67(2):387–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Terrachoice (2010) Sins of greenwashing: a report on environmental claims made in the North American consumer market. http://sinsofgreenwashing.org/index35c6.pdf. Accessed 10 Jun 2013
  19. Trusty W (2011) The future of life cycle assessment (LCA) in codes. Building Safety Journal Online. http://www.icc-es.org/Education/Feb2011_BSJ_Future_of_LCA_in_Codes.pdf. Accessed 10 Jun 2013
  20. U.S. Department of Energy (2012) Home energy saver pro. http://hespro.lbl.gov/pro/. Accessed 28 Apr 2012
  21. UNEP (2003) Sustainable building and construction: facts and figures. UNEP Industry and Environment. http://www.uneptie.org/media/review/vol26no2-3/005-098.pdf. Accessed 10 Jun 2013

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fluor CorporationGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

Personalised recommendations