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July 1, 2022

Embodied Carbon as a Proxy for the Environmental Impact of Earthquake Damage Repair

Simonen, K.; Huang, M.; Aicher, C.; Morris, P. (2018). Embodied Carbon as a Proxy for the Environmental Impact of Earthquake Damage Repair. Energy And Buildings, 164, 131 – 139.

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In evaluating the life cycle environmental impacts of buildings, the contributions of seismic damage are rarely considered. In order to enable a more comprehensive assessment of a building's environmental impact by accounting for seismic events, this project developed an environmental impact database of building component seismic damage - the largest of its kind known to date - by combining data from Carnegie Mellon University's Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) database with cost estimates of repair previously developed for FEMA's Performance Assessment Calculation Tool (PACT), a software that models probabilistic seismic damage in buildings. Fifteen indicators of environmental impacts were calculated for the repair of approximately 800 building components for up to five levels of seismic damage, capturing 'embodied' impacts related to cradle-to-gate manufacturing of building materials, products, and equipment. Analysis of the data revealed that non-structural and architectural finishes often dominated the environmental impacts of seismic damage per dollar spent in repair. A statistical analysis was performed on the data using Principal Component Analysis, confirming that embodied carbon, a popular metric for evaluating environmental impacts in building LCAs, is a suitable proxy for other relevant environmental impact metrics when assessing the impact of repairing earthquake damage of buildings. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Life-cycle Assessment; Input-output; Buildings; Life Cycle Assessment; Seismic Analysis; Performance-based Design; Economic Input-output; Principal Component Analysis; Energy And Climate Change; Architectural Engineering; Carbon; Carbon Cycle; Earthquake Damage; Earthquakes; Environmental Impact; Environmental Management; Databases; Finishes; Environmental Assessment; Building Components; Construction Materials; Life Cycle Engineering; Life Cycle Analysis; Data Bases; Damage Assessment; Aseismic Buildings; Statistical Analysis; Equipment Costs; Cost Estimates; Data Processing; Data Analysis; Seismic Activity; Cost Analysis; Principal Components Analysis; Performance Assessment; Life Cycles; Repair; Impact Damage; Building Materials; Economic Analysis; Software