Given the fact that during the recent years the majority of buildings in Iran have been constructed either on steel or concrete frames, it is essential to investigate the environmental impacts of materials used in such constructions. For this purpose, two multi-story residential
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Given the fact that during the recent years the majority of buildings in Iran have been constructed either on steel or concrete frames, it is essential to investigate the environmental impacts of materials used in such constructions. For this purpose, two multi-story residential buildings in Tehran with a similar function have been considered in this study. One building was constructed with a steel frame and the other was constructed with a concrete frame. Using the life cycle assessment tool, a complete analysis of all the stages of a building’s life cycle from raw material acquisition to demolition and recycling of wastes was carried out. In this research, the environmental impacts included global warming potential in 100 years, acidification, eutrophication potential, human toxicity (cancer and non-cancer effects), resource depletion (water and mineral), climate change, fossil fuel consumption, air acidification and biotoxicity. It could be concluded from the results that the total pollution of the concrete frame in all eleven aforementioned impact factors was almost 219,000 tonnes higher than that of the steel frame. Moreover, based on the results, the concrete frame had poorer performance in all but one impact factor. With respect to global warming potential, the findings indicated there were two types of organic and non-organic gases that had an impact on global warming. Among non-organic emissions, CO2
had the biggest contribution to global warming potential, while among organic emissions, methane was the top contributor. These findings suggest the use of steel frames in the building industry in Iran to prevent further environmental damage; however, in the future, more research studies in this area are needed to completely investigate all aspects of decision on the choice of building frames, including economic and social aspects.