Rating “Green” Projects by the LCA Process

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The term “Life-cycle assessment” (LCA) is defined by Wikipedia as a cradle to grave analysis used to assess the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life.  This includes raw material extraction and materials processing as well as the manufacturing, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling of the product.

The demand for green building projects is motivated by owners and developers as well as the marketplace as they offer reduced operating costs, improved health benefits, and perform better environmentally throughout the life-cycle of the building.  The EPA states that green buildings should reduce the environmental impact on human health and the natural environment by:

  • “Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environment degradation”

When sustainable criteria are considered early in the planning and design stages, it can offer a greater cost-efficiency as well as influence design.  ConstructConnect reports on a recent study done for the USGBC by Booz Allen Hamilton that states, “Green construction spending to increase from $150.6 billion in 2015 to $224.4 billion in 2018.”  The study also suggests that, “between 2015 and 2018, green construction will generate $303.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP); support 3.9 million jobs, and provide $268.4 billion in labor earnings.”

Typically green products are made from reused or recycled-content or from renewable resources.  The EPA explains that the product should promote clean air and reduce the emissions of VOC (volatile organic compounds) and formaldehyde.  They should not contain CFCs, HCFCs or other toxic substances and need to promote practices that conserve energy and water.  Furthermore, they should offer good durability and ease of maintenance, and aid in reducing a building’s overall operating cost.

The Conco Companies are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products.  While we tackle projects both big and small, our experience includes providing the complete concrete package for the Levi’s Stadium along with other notable projects.  We serve California, Washington State, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada.

Sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_assessment

archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/html/about.html

constructconnect.com/blog/green-construction/green-sustainable-building-future/

 

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