Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Road Pavements in Metro Manila
Posted: 13 Jun 2019
Date Written: August 21, 2018
Many countries around the world have a rapid rate of urbanization which often leads to the depletion of our natural resources. One of the major sectors that contribute to this rapid rate of urbanization is the construction sector. The construction sector is considered to be one of the largest contributors to our greenhouse gas emissions and in this study, the part within this sector to be considered are concrete road pavements. This environmental hazard has continuously posed a threat to our environmental development as well as our safety. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of factors in construction materials and/or practices is important to determine the governing causes of these greenhouse gas emissions.
With the Philippines having an agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the country is expected to work towards lowering its greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Furthermore, there has been an increasing number of concrete road construction or rehabilitation in the country throughout the past few years leading to now. Therefore, it is crucial to determine the effects of these concrete road constructions and the amount of greenhouse gas the Philippines’ construction sector contributes to the environment. To be able to quantify and analyze these greenhouse gas emissions, a comprehensive tool must be used in order to assess the entire life cycle of a product, process, material, or activity involved in a construction project.
This comprehensive tool is called a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Through the use of life cycle assessment, the environmental impact of concrete road pavements can be quantified and analyzed in order to gain an understanding of how much greenhouse gas the concrete road construction industry alone contributes and how this would aid in making the country more sustainable. This study aims to provide a clearer understanding of this recurring problem and suggest preventive measures by means of a thorough life cycle assessment on the different stages of the construction of a concrete road pavement. In this study, the initial three stages of the life cycle, material production, construction, and use, of concrete road pavement is assessed. Using the software Simapro, the greenhouse gas emissions of each phase of the life cycle of concrete road pavement is evaluated and significant factors that are causing the greenhouse gas emissions are identified.
Results of the study show that among all three phases, the production phase contributes to the highest greenhouse gas emission, followed by the construction phase, and lastly the use phase. The production of cement is the highest contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the prevalent researches on cement alternatives are beneficial in ensuring a lower greenhouse gas emission from concrete road construction activities. With this study, a concise and practical way of monitoring greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved in the form of developing a greenhouse gas report that accounts for the emissions of each activity performed within a project or research. From this, the optimal solution for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be identified.
Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, Concrete Road Pavements, Simapro, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Construction Sustainability, Monitoring, Environmental Impact, Transportation, Construction Technology
JEL Classification: R42, F64, O13, N65, Q20, C67
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