Exergetic life cycle assessment: An improved option to analyze resource use efficiency of the construction sector

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Abstract

This article presents an effort to pinpoint how efficiently resources are used in the construction sector applying exergetic life cycle assessment methodology in a cradle-to-grave life cycle approach. Polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), two widely used thermoplastics in construction applications, are chosen as case study materials in this analysis involving raw material extraction, resin manufacturing, and post-consumer waste management life-cycle stages. Overall life cycle exergy efficiency of PP and PVC is quantified 27.1% and 9.3%, respectively, characterized by a low efficiency of manufacturing and recycling processes for both materials. Improving the efficiency of manufacturing and recycling processes will thus reduce exergy losses from the system. From resource conservation point of view, mechanical recycling can be the viable option for end-of-life plastic waste management, since it loops materials back directly into new life cycle, and thus reduces primary resource inputs in the production chain and associated environmental impacts. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Journal6th International Conference on Research into Design, ICoRD 2017
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Cradle-to-grave
  • Exergy efficiency
  • Exergy loss
  • Thermoplastic
  • Waste management

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