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Title:An integrated framework for sustainable construction processes: understanding and managing the environmental performance of construction operations
Author(s):Ahn, Changbum
Director of Research:Pena-Mora, Feniosky A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Liu, Liang Y.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Pena-Mora, Feniosky A.; Lee, SangHyun; El-Rayes, Khaled A.; El-Gohary, Nora
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sustainable Construction
Construction Operations
Environmental Performance
Exhaust Air Pollutant Emissions
Operational Efficiency
Abstract:The environmental impact from construction activities has largely been underestimated, even though these processes constitute significant economic activity. They account for a substantial amount of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and other diesel emissions, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). However, the efforts of contractors to reduce their construction-related air pollutant emissions remain minimal, due to (1) a lack of mechanisms to promote their voluntary efforts to mitigate such emissions, and (2) a lack of planning techniques and monitoring technologies that enable contractors to consider the environmental aspects of their day-to-day operations. Therefore, this study aims to establish an integrated management framework that encompasses the selection of green contractors, environmentally conscious planning, and environmental performance monitoring in order to facilitate environmentally sustainable construction practices. The environmental performance of construction operations can be formulated as a function of the operational efficiency of a process, which indicates the efficient use of resources, along with the environmental properties of resources used and fuel consumed. Among the determinant factors of environmental performance, the environmental properties of resources and fuel to be used in construction operations are key parameters in determining the green capabilities of contractors in contracting. The evaluation method of the green capabilities of contractors is developed to assess the environmental properties of contractors’ legacy equipment fleets. The feasibility of a multi-criteria bidding system that includes the evaluation of contractors’ green capabilities is tested. The operational efficiency is the most important and controllable factor during construction, and it is greatly affected by planning and control decisions. However, current environmental impact assessment schemes lack the capability to evaluate the impact of improving operational efficiency on environmental performance. The predictive assessment model of the environmental performance is developed to enhance current assessment schemes’ capability to incorporate the operational efficiency of emission/energy resources in construction. In addition, the outcome assessment system of the environmental performance is developed to monitor the operational efficiency of emission/energy resources, based on signals captured from low-cost accelerometers. The development of such enabling tools and framework will allow construction managers to identify and capture opportunities to mitigate the environmental impact of construction operations, and to improve the operations’ overall productivity. A set of methods and tools (forming a framework) developed by this study will support the incorporation of environmental assessments into current contracting, planning, and controlling practices for construction operations. This will result in a substantial reduction of both energy use and the generation of emissions in the construction industry, by improving the operational efficiency of construction operations and by accelerating contractors’ use of greener equipment and fuel.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Changbum Ahn
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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