A comparative study of floor construction on sloping sites: an analysis of cumulative energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions

Grace Ding
Perry Forsythe

Abstract


In order to make environmentally aware decisions, there is growing interest in the comparative energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) performance of competing construction methods. Little research has been done concerning competing ground floor construction methods, especially given different site variables, such as slope and soil type. A life cycle assessment approach was adopted to analyse environmental impacts, including cumulative energy demand and GHG emissions for detached housing construction in Australia. Data was drawn from 24 case study housing projects, including 12 reinforced concrete and 12 suspended timber floor projects. The data presented in the paper compares cumulative energy demand, GHG and the constituent parts of competing construction methods. The findings indicate that the timber floors use/create significantly less cumulative energy demand and GHG emissions than concrete floors—approximately 2.1 to 2.7 times less energy and 2.3 to 2.9 times less GHG. These findings are limited to the site slope and foundation soil types identified in the paper. The main application of the work is in guidance concerning the lowest environmental impact options for detached housing construction.


Keywords


Cumulative energy demand; greenhouse gas emissions; ground floor construction; life cycle assessment

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/AJCEB.v16i1.4813