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Publication Citation: Critical Sustainability Impacts from Polymeric and Concrete Inputs to Construction

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Author(s): Barbara C. Lippiatt;
Title: Critical Sustainability Impacts from Polymeric and Concrete Inputs to Construction
Published: February 29, 2012
Abstract: This paper analyzes environmentally-extended I-O tables to identify and quantify the sustainability impacts of most concern for broad categories of polymeric and concrete materials used in the U.S. construction industry. The extended I-O tables trace an industry‰s production throughout its supply chain, enabling consideration of multiple environmental impacts across all life-cycle stages of production, installation, and use. One year‰s worth of U.S. construction activity, exclusive of operating energy use, was shown to generate 5.81 % of the U.S. economy‰s annual environmental impacts, with the industry‰s polymeric inputs contributing a 0.35 % share and concrete inputs a 0.44 % share of the economy‰s impacts. This analysis identifies the top environmental impacts for each material in terms of both construction industry outputs (buildings and civil infrastructure) and polymer/concrete industry inputs. The most impactful polymer/concrete products are further examined to identify the environmental impacts of most concern. Taken together, these multidimensional results can help industry experts target polymer and concrete measurement science research toward areas most likely to yield the greatest sustainability improvement.
Citation: OTHER -
Keywords: concrete; construction industry; input-output analysis; life cycle assessment; polymers; sustainability measurement
Research Areas: Polymers/Polymeric Composites, Concrete/Cement, Sustainability Metrics and Tools