UBC Undergraduate Research

Life cycle assessment of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Building Van Hemmen, Cayley


This report contains an in-depth Life Cycle Analysis of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering (CEME) Building at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. The life cycle analysis scope includes the envelope and structure of CEME from cradle to gate, that is, from the building’s product manufacturing to end of construction stage. The methods used to achieve a detailed analysis included contributions from two authors. The first author included a thorough on screen takeoff of CEME’s level three elements including foundations, walls/floors above and below grade, roof structure and interior partition walls. The second contributor then assessed the quality of the initial study and made improvements to the accuracy of that study. An impact assessment was then performed on each element to determine its contribution by impact category to overall impacts for CEME as a whole. The results of the impact assessment were then compared to 22 other institutional buildings at UBC to determine how CEME equated. It was determined that CEME’s had less of an environmental impact than the majority of other buildings at UBC as it’s impact category values were lower than the benchmark’s value. Furthermore, CEME’s level three element “A23 Upper Floor Construction” contributed the most in all seven impact categories included in the Athena Impact Estimator. Finally, it was discovered that the product stage had a larger impact that the construction stage for all level three elements, it was approximately 80-90% larger in all cases. This report also includes interpretations of the results such as recommendations for LCA use to be put in practice and an author’s reflection of the project and CIVL 498C as a whole. 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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