RESEARCH ARTICLE


Approach to the Use of Global Indicators for the Assessment of the Environmental Level of Construction Products



M. V. Montes-Delgado 1, *, D. Monterde Pereira 1, P. Villoria Saez2
1 University of Seville, Building Engineering Technical School Reina, Mercedes 4A, 41012, Seville, Spain
2 Polytechnic University of Madrid, School of Building Engineering Juan de Herrera 6, 28040 Madrid, Spain


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Creative Commons License
© V. Montes-Delgado et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Seville. Reina Mercedes 4A, 41012, Seville, Spain.


Abstract

The European construction industry is supposed to consume the 40% of the natural European resources and to generate the 40% of the European solid waste. Conscious of the great damage being suffered by the environment because of construction activity, this work tries to provide the building actors with a new tool to improve the current situation. The tool proposed is a model for the comprehensive evaluation of construction products by determining their environmental level.

In this research, the environmental level of a construction product has been defined as its quality of accomplishing the construction requirements needed by causing the minimum ecological impact in its surrounding environment. This information allows building actors to choose suitable materials for building needs and also for the environment, mainly in the project stage or on the building site, contributing to improve the relationship between buildings and environment. For the assessment of the environmental level of construction products, five indicators have been identified regarding their global environmental impact through the product life cycle: CO2 emissions provoked during their production, volume and toxicity of waste generated on the building site, durability and recycling capacity after their useful life. Therefore, the less environmental impact one construction product produces, the higher environmental level performs.

The model has been tested in 30 construction products that include environmental criteria in their description. The results obtained will be discussed in this article. Furthermore, this model can lay down guidelines for the selection of ecoefficient construction products and the design of new eco-competitive and eco-committed ones.