Influence of allocation methods when modelling buildings end-of-life stage

Xavier Tanguay (Master student, civil and building engineering, USherbrooke)

Supervisor: Ben Amor

Context

Material resource management is a major challenge for today's and tomorrow's society. The building sector is a major player in terms of material consumption and waste generation. These materials can be landfilled but can also be recycled. The latter initiates a new cycle of use and extends the life span of the material. Such loop extension makes the assessment of environmental impacts more complex to implement.

Goal

The purpose of this project is to evaluate, through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) modelling, the influence of sharing (allocation) environmental impacts due to subsequent uses of materials in other life cycles.

Methods

To do so, the project will start with a characterization of the Quebec building residue management practices. Three scenarios are initially considered. The first model is a polluter pays principle, where only the current use of materials is considered. The second and third consider extending the lifetimes of materials when they are reused or recycled through different circular economy principles. These different approaches will then be compared with each other. The project implementation involves attributional LCAs. The modelling software is SimaPro 8.5. It will be used in conjunction with the Ecoinvent 3.5 database and the impact assessment will be conducted using Impact 2002+.

Applications

The rendering will quantify the gap between environmental impact sharing approaches and establish whether these methods are significant in the building sector. The project will therefore be used to position avenues for Quebec LCA practitioners working in the building sector and to take stock of the sharing of environmental costs in situations of prolonging the lifetimes of these materials.

Industrial partner

FP Innovations