Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide Emissions amongst Alternative Slab Systems during the Construction Phase in a Building Project

Inkwan Paik - Super-Tall Building Global R & BD Centre, South Korea, Seunguk Na - Department of Architectural Engineering, College of Architecture, Dankook University, South Korea

Global warming is now considered to be one of the greatest challenges worldwide. International environmental agreements have been developed in response to climate change since the 1970s. The construction industry is considered one of the main contributors to global warming. In order to mitigate global warming effects, the construction industry has been exploring various approaches to mitigate the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions over the entire life cycle of buildings. The application of different structural systems is considered a means of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from building construction. The purpose of this research is to assess the environmental performance of three different slab systems during the construction phase. In this study, a process-based life cycle assessment (LCA) method was applied in order to evaluate the level of performance of the three slab systems. The results showed total CO2 emissions of 3,275,712, 3,157,260, and 2,943,695 kg CO2 eq. for the ordinary reinforced concrete slab, flat plate slab, and voided slab systems, respectively. The manufacturing of building materials is by far the main contributor to CO2 emissions, which indicate 3,230,945, 3,117,203, and 2,905,564 kg CO2 eq., respectively. Comparing the building materials in the three slab systems, reinforcing bars and forms were significant building materials to reduce the CO2 emissions in the flat plate slab and voided slab systems. In this study, reinforcing bars were the main contributor to lowering the carbon dioxide emissions in the flat plate slab and voided slab systems. The results of this study show that amongst all the three different slab systems, the voided slab system shows the greatest reduction potential. Moreover, replacing the ordinary reinforced concrete slab system by alternative methods would make it possible to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in building projects.

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