American Society of Civil Engineers

Life Cycle Assessment Modeling of Heavy Construction Activities

by Robert Ries, (M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction, University of Florida, 311 Rinker Hall, Gainesville, 32611. E-mail:, Sudha Velayutham, (PMI Construction Co., 2310 County Road D, St. Paul, MN, 55112), and Yuan Chang, (M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction, University of Florida, 324 Rinker Hall, Gainesville, 32611. E-mail:
Section: Sustainable Construction and Facilities, pp. 1467-1476, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Construction Research Congress 2010: Innovation for Reshaping Construction Practice
Abstract: Cost and time are the traditional criteria for selecting heavy equipment for construction tasks. However, non-road diesel-powered construction equipment can have health and environmental effects. For example, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines impact local air quality, carbon dioxide emissions lead to climate change, and diesel fuel consumption is a non-renewable resource. In addition, diverse materials are used for manufacturing heavy-duty construction equipment, which can also impact the environment. An environmental life cycle model of construction equipment including uncertainty was developed to select equipment combinations for tasks based on the environmental impact associated with the life cycle of the construction equipment in addition to time and cost. Selecting equipment for a task based on life cycle environmental impact is another criterion that may be relevant for construction companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact. Results of modeling alternative equipment combinations that can be used to accomplish an example construction activity are presented in terms of time, cost, and life cycle global warming potential.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Life cycles
Construction management
Sustainable development