Structural engineers need to understand the environmental impact of their designs. This paper describes a project undertaken to review the confusing array of data and provide an approach which links data, tools and real-life material specification. The aim was to find a method of presenting environmental impacts alongside other design parameters, such as strength, so that these issues can be considered as a normal part of the design process. Environmental impact factors have been reviewed from international sources for a set of structural materials. A methodology for presenting the range of values for unreinforced concrete was developed using practice guidelines. Default data was developed to familiarise engineers with the relative impacts of materials and lead them to mitigation strategies through specification and further exploration of the issues. This data is for inclusion in structural software programs Oasys AdSec and GSA so that embodied impacts are reported alongside other structural design parameters. Because the software offers design options for different codes of practice in different countries, impact values for different countries were also needed.
Sarah C. Kaethner, BSc, CEng, MIStructE
Frances Yang, MEng, PE State of CA, LEED® AP