Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Technology Management-Construction Management

First Advisor

Wilfred Roudebush

Second Advisor

C. Wayne Unsell

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The need to explore environmentally friendly materials to avoid the depletion of the nonrenewable resources is very significant. The human race has been heavily dependent on nonrenewable resources since the industrial revolution. The rate of consumption of these resources is higher than the rate at which these resources replenish themselves since it has been established that most of these resources take millions of years to replenish. A critical look into the future reveals that there is a looming resource crisis since these resources are being depleted.

Fossil fuel combustion is linked to the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Global warming, which is as a result of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere, is one of the major problems we are facing today. Faced with the shortages of natural resources, pollution, overgrowth, and concern for protecting the environment, human beings are coming to realize that new concepts are needed to analyze the interdependent parts of the built environment as a whole (Roudebush, 1992). The current concern is to reduce further human impact on the environment and to find ways to adapt to the change that has already occurred over the past several decades

In light of the present need for optimal use of our resources, as opposed to maximizing, there is an increasing shift of focus to system evaluation methodologies that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product or system. It is with this in mind that this study was carried out to compare the environmental impact and contribution of both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and NON-LEED® window systems. The LEED® window was SAS Series 3 at The Oaks dining hall at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and the NON-LEED® was the Kawneer 1600 used at the Stroh Center on the same campus. The study employed the use of the Environmental Value Engineering (EVE) methodology which, unlike any other environmental life cycle assessment method, accounts for the inputs of environment, fuel energy, goods, and services to the alternatives competing for similar resources. Inputs are in terms of Emergy. EMERGY is defined as all the available energy that was used in the work of making a product, including environmental impacts relating to inputs of: environment, fuel energy, goods, and services (labor) (Roudebush, 2003).

The EVE analysis carried out indicated that the NON-LEED® (Kawneer 1600) window system has substantially less impact on the environment than the LEED® (SAS Series 3) window system. The results show that the LEED® window system accounts for 1.46x1019 SEJs while the NON-LEED® window system accounts for 9.49x1015 SEJs. The LEED® window system requires 1.46x1019 SEJs more than the NON-LEED® window system. Therefore the LEED® alternative A has an impact of 99.93% greater than that of the NON-LEED® alternative B making the NON-LEED® alternative B more environmentally friendly.

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