Interest in sustainability and resilience of buildings has led to a growing body of literature on merging environmental impact assessment methods with seismic loss estimation methods. Researchers have taken different approaches to connecting the two fields with the common goal of estimating the social, environmental, and economic impacts of damage to buildings subject to seismic events and thus enabling the study of tradeoffs between performance objectives. The differences among these studies include topics such as treatment of uncertainty, types of components and systems considered in the performance assessment, fidelity of structural analysis ranging from region-specific empirical fragility curves to detailed building-specific finite element analysis, scope of life cycle assessment, and so on. One of the aspects of the most diverse treatment has been in obtaining environmental impact data and relating it to pre-use impact estimates. For example, the translation of damage and repairs into life-cycle environmental impacts has been done by one of three approaches: (1) Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) has been applied to economic loss estimates; (2) repair cost-ratios have been applied to environmental impacts from the pre-use stage; and (3) repair descriptions have been used to model environmental impacts of damage scenarios directly using process life cycle assessment (LCA). All of the approaches are generally accepted but may pose limitations in certain applications and can potentially result in inconsistent conclusions from study to study. A review of existing literature in the area is presented and is followed by a comparative analysis and discussion of the outcomes of taking different environmental life cycle assessment approaches. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the research efforts in this area and discusses opportunities for further development in order to make the implementation consistent and practical for design decision making.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering