Sustainable Materials Selection for Canadian Construction Industry: An Emergy-Based Life-Cycle Analysis (Em-LCA) of Conventional and LEED Suggested Construction Materials

  •  Navid Hossaini    
  •  Kasun Hewage    


Building industry is a major cause of ecological and environmental problems in the global scale. It accounts for 40% of material and 30% of global energy consumption. Emergy (spelled with an “m”) is the energy of one kind (usually solar energy) that is used, directly or indirectly, to make a product or service. The objective of this paper is to identify sustainable construction materials by assessing the specific emergy of major construction materials used in Canada, including a few rapidly renewable materials suggested by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Lifecycle analysis (LCA) of the selected materials was carried out to identify all type of natural, human, and energy resources used in their production process. The specific emergy of each selected material was calculated using the corresponding transformity functions. Results show that rapidly renewable materials suggested by LEED should not be taken blindly without considering the location of construction.

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