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Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 389;

Analysis of Environmental Impact for Concrete Using LCA by Varying the Recycling Components, the Compressive Strength and the Admixture Material Mixing

Building and Urban Research Institute, Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology, Daehwa-dong 283, Goyandae-Ro, ILsanseo-Gu, Goyang-Si 10223, Korea
School of Architecture & Architectural Engineering, Hanyang University, Sa 3-dong, Sangrok-Gu, Ansan-Si 04763, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vivian W. Y. Tam, Khoa N. Le and Liyin Shen
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Assessment on Green Building Implementation)
PDF [3645 KB, uploaded 20 April 2016]


Concrete is a type of construction material in which cement, aggregate, and admixture materials are mixed. When cement is produced, large amounts of substances that impact the environment are emitted during limestone extraction and clinker manufacturing. Additionally, the extraction of natural aggregate causes soil erosion and ecosystem destruction. Furthermore, in the process of transporting raw materials such as cement and aggregate to a concrete production company, and producing concrete in a batch plant, substances with an environmental impact are emitted into the air and water system due to energy use. Considering the fact that the process of producing concrete causes various environmental impacts, an assessment of various environmental impact categories is needed. This study used a life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of concrete in terms of its global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and abiotic depletion potential (GWP, AP, EP, ODP, POCP, ADP). The tendency was that the higher the strength of concrete, the higher the GWP, POCP, and ADP indices became, whereas the AP and EP indices became slightly lower. As the admixture mixing ratio of concrete increased, the GWP, AP, ODP, ADP, and POCP decreased, but EP index showed a tendency to increase slightly. Moreover, as the recycled aggregate mixing ratio of concrete increased, the AP, EP, ODP, and ADP decreased, while GWP and POCP increased. The GWP and POCP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa) of high strength concrete were found to be about 13% lower than that for its normal strength concrete counterpart. Furthermore, in the case of AP, EP, ODP, and ADP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa), high-strength concrete was found to be about 10%~25% lower than its normal strength counterpart. Among all the environmental impact categories, ordinary cement was found to have the greatest impact on GWP, POCP, and ADP, while aggregate had the most impact on AP, EP, and ODP. View Full-Text
Keywords: concrete; life cycle assessment; environmental impact; admixture; recycled aggregate concrete; life cycle assessment; environmental impact; admixture; recycled aggregate

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Kim, T.; Tae, S.; Chae, C.U. Analysis of Environmental Impact for Concrete Using LCA by Varying the Recycling Components, the Compressive Strength and the Admixture Material Mixing. Sustainability 2016, 8, 389.

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