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Hybrid Life-Cycle Inventory for Road Construction and Use

By Robert H. Crawford


Abstract: Life-cycle assessment �LCA � is a technique that is used worldwide by clients and their design team to assess the impact of their projects on the environment. The main advantage of LCA is in supporting decision making with quantitative data. LCA inventories can be either fully developed or streamlined. Fully developed LCAs are time-consuming and costly to prepare. Streamlined LCAs can be used as an effective decision-making tool when considering environmental performance during the design process, but with a loss of inventory completeness. Acknowledging the advantages and disadvantages of both types of LCA, this paper proposes a hybrid LCA method that uses input-output data to fill in those gaps routinely left in conventional LCA inventories. The developed hybrid LCA method is demonstrated using a life-cycle energy study of eight different road designs, including vehicle manufacture, maintenance, replacement, and operation. It was found that the road construction process was initially the most important, but in the long run the manufacture, use, and maintenance of vehicles using the road �which are an inevitable consequence of road construction � became paramount

Topics: CE Database subject headings, Life cycles, Inventories, Hybrid methods, Road construction
Year: 2013
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