This paper presents a quantitative environmental impact assessment tool for the decision making of construction processes including structures, infrastructures and buildings by means of an Environmental Impact Index (EII) to be applied at design and/or construction stages. The research is based on multi-attribute utility theory, interviews with experts representatives of the different stakeholders in construction, and an analysis of fifty-nine European and Spanish environmental legislative acts. The resulting tool was applied to two construction alternatives for road drains (one precast and one cast-in-place). The findings show that the tool enables the prioritisation of construction processes and the selection of the best alternative in terms of environmental impact and that the results are stable to reasonable weight variations. The tool contributes to decision making in the context of project management in construction: it can help professionals in public administration, and design and construction companies. It helps to quantify the cradle-to-gate impact of construction work, which has usually been less studied than the operational impact in the life-cycle assessment of buildings. The tool is being piloted in construction projects of the Barcelona City Council.
Vegetal materials were one of the first construction materials used by humans, but the development of petrol-based synthetic materials in the last century replaced them in mainstream construction techniques. However, since environmental impact and resource depletion are increasingly becoming a central issue, vegetal materials are revisited. Natural thermal insulations are mainly developed from woody materials and industrial fibres, but these raw materials are not always locally available. Thus, the use of crop by-products is proposed here. The availability of crop by-products to be used as raw materials for building thermal insulations in Spain is evaluated. It is then compared to demand forecasts based on two different scenarios. Results vary greatly from one scenario to another, but they indicate that the amount of crop by-products is sufficient to meet estimated demand. Barley and wheat straw are by far the most abundant by-products, followed by corn, rice and sunflowers. Available corn by-products would be sufficient to insulate between 250,000 and 450,000 dwellings yearly
In this paper, the implementation of effective waste management practices in construction projects and sites is analyzed, using data from a survey answered by 74 Spanish construction companies based in Catalonia. Most commonly implemented practices were found to be on-site cleanliness and order, correct storage of raw materials, and prioritization of the nearest authorized waste managers. The least widespread practices were the use of a mobile crusher on site, the creation of individualized drawings for each construction site, and the dissemination of the contents of the waste management plan to all workers, to help them to meet its requirements. Waste regulations for construction and demolition, and the corresponding construction waste management facilities, were designed before the recession in the Spanish construction sector. Current waste generation rates are still below predicted levels, and the infrastructure was designed for five times more waste generation. Even so, the percentage of reused and recycled waste currently amounts to 43%. Survey respondents highlighted various instruments and measures that would make the management of construction and demolition waste more sustainable. Most of the opportunities identified by construction firms are within the scope of government and related to a combined system of bonus and penalties and the establishment of environmental awareness and training programmes for all the stakeholders. Within the scope of authorized waste managers, firms suggested improvements such as the standardization of fees, a reduction of the time until the issue of waste management certificates, a higher number of inspections, and a change in the current model of a few large construction waste management facilities. This research is useful to better understand the current status of construction and demolition waste management in construction projects and sites. Thus, the results of this research will guide policy makers and relevant stakeholders such as contractors, clients, architects and engineers to achieve the EU target of recovering 70% of construction and demolition waste in 2020. In this sense, reliable information can help governments and professional associations to set future C&D waste management regulations, training programmes and dissemination tools, inspections, etc.
Santasmasas Rubiralta, C.; Rovira, M.; Clarens Blanco, F.; Valderrama, C. Resources, conservation and recycling Vol. 72, p. 102-107 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.01.004 Data de publicació: 2013-03 Article en revista
Grey water treatment and reuse for non-drinking water requirements has become of great interest in arid and semi-arid zones where water resources are becoming both quantitatively and qualitatively scarce. In this study a decentralized and automatic MBR prototype has been designed and installed in the REMOSA facilities for treatment of low-load grey water to be recycled in flushing-toilet application. The recycling treatment of grey water comprises four stages: screening, biological oxidation, filtration and a final disinfection by chlorination. The influent and effluent were monitored in order to determine the treatment efficiency and assessment of the quality potential of treated grey water. The results obtained indicate that recycling of grey water allows an effluent of excellent quality with organic, surfactants and microbial parameters under the limits defined by Spanish legislation for urban water reuse. The disinfection of treated grey water is required to ensure compliance with microbial standards and to avoid the health risk in storage and application of recycled water.
It is well known that reserves of non-renewable resources are limited and that waste emitted into the air, soil and earth pollute the environment. In addition to proposing a change in the architects' way of thinking, the climate change further requires an improvement in the environment, politics and social consciousness. The chase for sustainable architecture must also consider the end of the life cycles of materials. The aim of this work is to introduce new concepts regarding materials and building elements that reach the end of their first life cycle and to evaluate the potential for recyclability of those materials. The research method is based on a hierarchic upside down pyramid that gives priority to the reuse and recycling of materials and afterwards allows for the creation of recyclability levels of the materials and elements. The results show that the concepts created regarding recycled, infracycled, reused and infraused materials are more suitable to the current situation. The indexes of recyclability quantify the betterment of the environment in the construction processes of buildings that are made from recycled or recyclable materials. In this manner, recyclability allows changing the way architects design and construct buildings, and it is a step forward to the closed-loop material cycle.
It is well known that reserves of non-renewable resources are limited and that waste emitted into the air, soil and earth pollute the environment. In addition to proposing a change in the architects’ way of thinking, the climate change further requires an improvement in the environment, politics and social consciousness. The chase for sustainable architecture must also consider the end of the life cycles of materials. The aim of this work is to introduce new concepts regarding materials and building elements that reach the end of their first life cycle and to evaluate the potential for recyclability of those materials. The research method is based on a hierarchic upside down pyramid that gives priority to the reuse and recycling of materials and afterwards allows for the creation of recyclability levels of the materials and elements. The results show that the concepts created regarding recycled, infracycled, reused and infraused materials are more suitable to the current situation. The indexes of recyclability quantify the betterment of the environment in the construction processes of buildings that are made from recycled or recyclable materials. In this manner, recyclability allows changing the way architects design and construct buildings, and it is a step forward to the closed-loop material cycle.
Nabarlatz, D.; Stüber, F.; Font, J.; Fortuny, A.; Fabregat, A.; Bengoa, C. Resources, conservation and recycling Vol. 59, p. 9-13 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.06.017 Data de publicació: 2012-02 Article en revista
Huerta, O.; Gallart, M.; Soliva, M.; Martinez, F.; Lopez, M. Resources, conservation and recycling Vol. 55, num. 11, p. 1095-1099 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.06.008 Data de publicació: 2011-09 Article en revista
Lopez, M.; Soliva, M.; Martinez, F.; Fernández, M.; Huerta, O. Resources, conservation and recycling Vol. 54, num. 4, p. 222-228 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2009.08.003 Data de publicació: 2009-09-02 Article en revista
Organic fraction (OF) from municipal solid waste (MSW) was sampled from several Spanish composting facilities just before the composting process began, considering the two groups of OF treated at the current time: OF from source sorted collection (SC) and OF from non-source sorted collection but selected in the plant by mechanical devices (MS). Moisture content (MC), pH, electric conductivity (EC), total organic matter (TOM), resistant organic matter (ROM), organic nitrogen (org-N), resistant organic nitrogen (nh-N), and soluble inorganic nitrogen (NH4+-N) were analysed from both samples. These parameters are significant in the composting process and have environmental implications. Most of the Spanish composting facilities treat MS from the MSW collected in mass. This study was carried out to assess and underline the variation in the composition of OF depending on the sorting system. Significant differences were detected between the two groups. SC showed higher values for MC, TOM, org-N than MS which resulted in the highest pH and EC values. No differences were detected for ROM and nh-N, indicating a similar degradable potential. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that the composting process be carried out in a way that reflects the category of OF treated as well as considering the addition of yard trimmings to avoid leachates formation, balance the C/N ratio and improve aeration.
Güereca, L.P.; Gasso, S.; Baldasano, J.; Jiménez, P. Resources, conservation and recycling Vol. 49, num. 1, p. 32-48 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2006.03.009 Data de publicació: 2006-11-01 Article en revista
A life cycle assessment (LCA) is performed in this study in order to evaluate the environmental implications of the management of the fermentable fraction of waste in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (BMA), comparing the present management system with the system proposed for the future. The energy and water consumption were quantified, as well as the used area and the emissions to the atmosphere and water. The software TRACI was used in order to assess the potential impact on the categories of acidification, eutrophication, toxicity and harm to the human health (under the criteria of cancer, non-cancer and pollutants), global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, formation of photochemical smog, water use, land use and fossil fuel use. The results show that the management system proposed for the future reduces 7 out of the 12 potential impacts analyzed, due mainly to the change in the technology of landfill (baling-wrapping landfill). However, this system requires of further research to assess the impacts on a long term. The worst option for biowaste management is the traditional landfill, based on the multibarrier concept. The results of this work suggest that the future biowaste management system is better in environmental terms than the present system.