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Putting the material in the right place: Investigations into the sustainable use of structural materials to reduce the initial embodied environmental impact of building structures

Thirion, C; (2013) Putting the material in the right place: Investigations into the sustainable use of structural materials to reduce the initial embodied environmental impact of building structures. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The contribution of the built environment to current environmental issues is significant. The present thesis investigates the potential to reduce the initial embodied environmental impact of building structures through a more sustainable use of materials. Following a review of the growing importance of embodied environmental aspects in the whole life environmental impact of buildings, a framework is proposed for investigation into this topic. Two casestudies follow which relate to two areas of the framework. The first study focuses on the potential to reduce the quantities of materials required in the most common steel structural element, steel I-beams, by varying their section along their length. It has been instigated by the work done by a rolling mill manufacturer who is developing a method to roll varying section beams. For a configuration largely representative of contemporary office buildings, significant savings are shown to be possible. These are discussed in light of their implication on the complexity of the required fabrication method and the constraints associated with the building typology considered. Floors are the structural element concentrating the largest proportion of carbon embodied in building structures. The second case-study looks into the impact of two design choices on the carbon intensity of a commonly used flooring system: flat slabs. Significant savings are shown to be achievable which do not require technological advances but a greater attention to design choices. A number of such studies focused on a range of structural elements will develop our understanding of how to design concrete structures to minimise their embodied carbon content, and enable designers to make informed design decisions. It would also constitute a useful framework for a review of current design practice aimed at quantifying the savings obtainable from a more environmentally conscious practice, making best use of currently commonly available design and construction techniques.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Putting the material in the right place: Investigations into the sustainable use of structural materials to reduce the initial embodied environmental impact of building structures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1396779
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