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The quantification of the embodied impacts of construction projects on energy, environment, and society based on I-O LCA


  • Chang, Yuan
  • Ries, Robert J.
  • Wang, Yaowu


With rapid social development and large-scale construction of infrastructure in China, construction projects have become one of the driving forces for the national economy, whose energy consumption, environmental emissions, and social impacts are significant. To completely understand the role of construction projects in Chinese society, this study developed input-output life-cycle assessment models based on 2002, 2005, and 2007 economic benchmarks. Inventory indicators included 10 types of energy, 7 kinds of environmental emissions, and 7 kinds of social impacts. Results show that embodied energy of construction projects in China accounts for 25-30% of total energy consumption; embodied SO2 emissions are being controlled, and the intensities of embodied NOx and CO2 have been reduced. However, given that the construction sector related employment is 17% of the total employment in China, the accidents and fatalities related to the construction sector are significant and represent approximately 50% of the national total. The embodied human and capital investments in science and technology (ST) increased from 2002 to 2007. The embodied full time equivalent (FTE) of each ST person also increased while the personal ST funding and intramural expenditures decreased. This might result from the time lag between RD activities and large-scale implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang, Yuan & Ries, Robert J. & Wang, Yaowu, 2011. "The quantification of the embodied impacts of construction projects on energy, environment, and society based on I-O LCA," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6321-6330, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:10:p:6321-6330

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chang, Yuan & Ries, Robert J. & Wang, Yaowu, 2013. "Life-cycle energy of residential buildings in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 656-664.
    2. Chang, Yuan & Huang, Runze & Ries, Robert J. & Masanet, Eric, 2015. "Life-cycle comparison of greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption for coal and shale gas fired power generation in China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 335-343.
    3. Hong, Jingke & Shen, Qiping & Xue, Fan, 2016. "A multi-regional structural path analysis of the energy supply chain in China's construction industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 56-68.
    4. Hong, Jingke & Li, Clyde Zhengdao & Shen, Qiping & Xue, Fan & Sun, Bingxia & Zheng, Wei, 2017. "An Overview of the driving forces behind energy demand in China's construction industry: Evidence from 1990 to 2012," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 85-94.
    5. Seksan Papong & Norihiro Itsubo & Yuya Ono & Pomthong Malakul, 2016. "Development of Social Intensity Database Using Asian International Input–Output Table for Social Life Cycle Assessment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-25, November.
    6. Seksan Papong & Norihiro Itsubo & Pomthong Malakul & Masanori Shukuya, 2015. "Development of the Social Inventory Database in Thailand Using Input–Output Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-30, June.
    7. Zhang, Bo & Chen, Z.M. & Xia, X.H. & Xu, X.Y. & Chen, Y.B., 2013. "The impact of domestic trade on China's regional energy uses: A multi-regional input–output modeling," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1169-1181.
    8. Diana Carolina Gámez-García & José Manuel Gómez-Soberón & Ramón Corral-Higuera & Héctor Saldaña-Márquez & María Consolación Gómez-Soberón & Susana Paola Arredondo-Rea, 2018. "A Cradle to Handover Life Cycle Assessment of External Walls: Choice of Materials and Prognosis of Elements," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-24, August.
    9. Hong, Jingke & Shen, Geoffrey Qiping & Guo, Shan & Xue, Fan & Zheng, Wei, 2016. "Energy use embodied in China׳s construction industry: A multi-regional input–output analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1303-1312.
    10. Chang, Yuan & Huang, Runze & Ries, Robert J. & Masanet, Eric, 2014. "Shale-to-well energy use and air pollutant emissions of shale gas production in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 147-157.
    11. Marina Nikolić Topalović & Milenko Stanković & Goran Ćirović & Dragan Pamučar, 2018. "Comparison of the Applied Measures on the Simulated Scenarios for the Sustainable Building Construction through Carbon Footprint Emissions—Case Study of Building Construction in Serbia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-19, December.


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