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      ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF REFURBISHMENT VERSUS DEMOLITION AND RECONSTRUCTION: A COMPARATIVE LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF AN ITALIAN CASE STUDY

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          ABSTRACT

          In the building sector, new standards for energy efficiency are reducing the energy consumption and the carbon emissions for building operation to nearly zero. As a result, the greenhouse gas emissions and related environmental impacts from materials production, and especially insulation, are becoming key factors. In the near future, most of the building stock is expected to be refurbished and a great amount of construction materials will be consequently required. A relevant share of waste is generated from building construction and demolition and limiting the volume is a priority of the EU community. In this work the renovation of industrial buildings in a dismissed area located in Lecco, Italy, was considered as a case study. Five alternative construction systems (EPS, WOOD, ROCK, PU, HEMP) for renovating the building envelopes were assumed, and a life cycle assessment (LCA) adopted in order to measure the environmental impact of each alternative. The results were compared with a scenario which included demolition and reconstruction of a similar building with the same net volume and thermal resistance. The results showed that timber and concrete are the most environmentally friendly materials to rebuild the structures in case of demolition, contrary to steel which leads generally to higher environmental impacts, except land use. In general, EPS, WOOD and HEMP technological alternatives accounted for the highest scores, both in terms of burdens on the ecosystems and on depletion of resources, while ROCK accounted for the lowest scores. Finally, refurbishment scenarios generally accounted for a lower global warming potential (GWP) even if demolition, waste treatment and the benefit from recycling/reuse are taken into account.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Significance of decision-making for LCA methodology

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            “The changing role of life cycle phases, subsystems and materials in the LCA of low energy buildings”

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              “Building rehabilitation versus demolition and new construction: Economic and environmental assessment”

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                jgrb
                Journal of Green Building
                College Publishing
                1943-4618
                1552-6100
                Fall 2020
                9 December 2020
                : 15
                : 4
                : 155-172
                Author notes

                1. ETH Zürich, Institut für Bau- und Infrastrukturmanagement, Chair of Sustainable Construction, Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.

                2. Politecnico di Milano, School of Architecture, Urban planning and construction Engineering (AUIC), Via Golgi 42, 20133 Milano, Italy.

                3. Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering (ABC), Via G. Ponzio 31, 20133 Milano, Italy.

                * Corresponding author: giuliana.iannaccone@ 123456polimi.it , phone: +39 02 2399 6009.
                Article
                i1943-4618-15-4-155
                10.3992/jgb.15.4.155

                Volumes 1-10 of JOGB are open access and do not require permission for use, though proper citation should be given. To view the licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

                Page count
                Pages: 18
                Product
                Categories
                RESEARCH ARTICLES

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