UBC Undergraduate Research

A life cycle assessment of UBC ICICS building Charif, Malek


In demonstration of skills learned during the course of the term, students of CIVL 498C were asked to evaluate the environmental and health impacts resulting from the product and construction phases, i.e. to conduct a limited Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), of assigned building. In this case, the object of the assessment is the ICICS building at UBC. The predominant use of the building, which measures about 9711 square meters in floor area, is research in the domains of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and computer animation and other related research fields. Athena’s Impact Estimator (IE) and On-Screen Takeoff programs are the main tools used to complete the LCA study. Inputs in the IE model were re-organized according to a modified CISQ format. Also, models corresponding to level 3, in CISQ format, were created in the IE. Models were then evaluated for their individual and combined effects. Results were then compared to a UBC wide benchmark which represented the average of all studies by the class. ICICS Global Warming impact for the two stages included in the study is about 50 percent more than the average UBC building. Level-3 Element A22 (Upper_Floor_Construction) contributes half the total impact of the building. Its impact is due mainly to the reinforced concrete floor slabs that cover a substantial surface area. It is not clear what would the relative (normalized) environmental performance of ICICS if the LCA were extended to the Use stage. The heavy construction environmental toll could potentially contribute to the longevity of the building. Longer service life will not reduce Use impact but it could defer new construction projects for decades. The would-beimpact of deferred projects could be credited to the present building. However, under the present constraints of the study, ICICS building imposes much higher environmental impacts than the average UBC academic building.Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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