Construction of geotechnical structures produces various environmental impacts. These include depletion of limited natural resources, generation of wastes and harmful substances during material productions and construction, ineffective usage of energy during processing of raw materials into construction materials, and emissions of unwanted gasses during transportation of materials and usage of equipments. With increasing interests in sustainability at the global scale, there is a need to develop a methodology that can assess environmental impacts at such scale for geotechnical construction. Using embodied energy and gas emission, quantitative measures of environmental impact are evaluated using a case study of a new high speed railway line construction in the UK. Based on the results, the keys to energy savings are (a) to optimise the usage of materials with high embodied energy intensity value (b) to optimise the transportation network and logistics for processes using primarily low embodied energy intensity materials and (c) to reuse as much materials on-site as possible to minimise the quantity of spoils or distance to disposal sites. The evaluated embodied energy and embodied carbon values are compared to those of other types of structures and of other activities and carbon tax values. Such comparisons can be used to discuss among various interested parties (clients, contractors, consultants, policy makers, etc) to make the construction industry more energy efficient.
KeywordsTunnel Boring Machine Fuel Consumption Rate Shield Machine Channel Tunnel Limited Natural Resource
The author would like to thank Chris Chau, Ronan Workman, and Wilson Kwang, who conducting the case studies as part of their PhD or Masters projects, Arup and EPSRC for their financial support and Nishimatsu Construction, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and RLE for providing their valuable data. The details of the case study described in this paper are given in Chau et al. (2011).
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