CUED Publications database

Embodied Energy and Gas Emissions of Retaining Wall Structures

Inui, T and Chau, C and Soga, K and Nicolson, D and O'Riordan, N (2011) Embodied Energy and Gas Emissions of Retaining Wall Structures. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 137. pp. 958-967. ISSN 1090-0241

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Abstract

The embodied energy (EE) and gas emissions of four design alternatives for an embankment retaining wall system are analyzed for a hypothetical highway construction project. The airborne emissions considered are carbon dioxide (CO 2), methane (CH 4), nitrous oxide (N 2O), sulphur oxides (SO X), and nitrogen oxides (NO X). The process stages considered in this study are the initial materials production, transportation of construction machineries and materials, machinery operation during installation, and machinery depreciations. The objectives are (1) to determine whether there are statistically significant differences among the structural alternatives; (2) to understand the relative proportions of impacts for the process stages within each design; (3) to contextualize the impacts to other aspects in life by comparing the computed EE values to household energy consumption and car emission values; and (4) to examine the validity of the adopted EE as an environmental impact indicator through comparison with the amount of gas emissions. For the project considered in this study, the calculated results indicate that propped steel sheet pile wall and minipile wall systems have less embodied energy and gas emissions than cantilever steel tubular wall and secant concrete pile wall systems. The difference in CO 2 emission for the retaining wall of 100 m length between the most and least environmentally preferable wall design is equivalent to an average 2.0 L family car being driven for 6.2 million miles (or 62 cars with a mileage of 10,000 miles/year for 10 years). The impacts in construction are generally notable and careful consideration and optimization of designs will reduce such impacts. The use of recycled steel or steel pile as reinforcement bar is effective in reducing the environmental impact. The embodied energy value of a given design is correlated to the amount of gas emissions. © 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Embodied energy Gas emissions Retaining walls
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div D > Geotechnical and Environmental
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:45
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2014 19:18
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0000507