Holistic evaluation of resilient structures: The environmental performance of beyond New Zealand building code structures (2020)
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Designing a structure for higher- than-code seismic performance can result in significant economic and environmental benefits. This higher performance can be achieved using the principles of Performance-Based Design, in which engineers design structures to minimize the probabilistic lifecycle seismic impacts on a building. Although the concept of Performance-Based Design is not particularly new, the initial capital costs associated with designing structures for higher performance have historically hindered the widespread adoption of performance-based design practices. To overcome this roadblock, this research is focused on providing policy makers and stakeholders with evidence-based environmental incentives for designing structures in New Zealand for higher seismic performance. In the first phase of the research, the environmental impacts of demolitions in Christchurch following the Canterbury Earthquakes were quantified to demonstrate the environmental consequences of demolitions following seismic events. That is the focus here. A building data set consisting of 142 concrete buildings that were demolished following the earthquake was used to quantify the environmental impacts of the demolitions in terms of the embodied carbon and energy in the building materials. A reduced set of buildings was used to develop a material takeoff model to estimate material quantities in the entire building set, and a lifecycle assessment tool was used to calculate the embodied carbon and energy in the materials. The results revealed staggering impacts in terms of the embodied carbon and energy in the materials in the demolished buildings. Ongoing work is focused developing an environmental impact framework that incorporates all the complex factors (e.g. construction methodologies, repair methodologies (if applicable), demolition methodologies (if applicable), and waste management) that contribute to the environmental impacts of building repair and demolition following earthquakes.
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