Project emissions estimator

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Because of the need to address challenges of global climate change, a project-based framework was developed and implemented for life-cycle assessment (LCA) that could be used to estimate the carbon footprint for typical construction work items in highway reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. The proposed framework considers the life-cycle emissions of products and processes involved in the raw material acquisition and manufacturing phase as well as the pavement construction phase. The framework also accounts for emissions from vehicular use and maintenance operations during the service life of the pavement. The framework introduces methods based on LCA to develop inventories of project emissions for highway construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance projects as well as to analyze inventories for the calculation of project-level construction metrics for estimating emissions. Fourteen highway construction and rehabilitation projects in Michigan were used to implement the method and validate the approach. In addition, the project emissions estimator (PE-2), a web-based tool that can be used to estimate and benchmark the carbon dioxide footprint of highway construction projects, is introduced. Results further the understanding of LCA methods for pavements while providing an emission estimation tool that can be used by decision makers to monitor and assess project emissions.

Publication Title

Transportation Research Record