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responsibility, Product stewardship, Specific audit, certification, standards and Environmental reporting. Keywords-Libya; LCA; LCA tools. I. INTRODUCTION.

International Journal of Zero Waste Generation Vol.1, No.2, 2013; ISSN 2289 4497 Published by ZW Publisher

Implementation of LCA tools during Construction Phase in Context of Libyan Building Projects Tarek. A. A. Elkaseh1*, Ismail Abdul Rahman2, Aftab Hameed Memon2 1 Technical Office for Engineering Consultants (TCG), Libya 2 Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Malaysia *Corresponding Author: [email protected] Abstract—After recent revolution in Libya, construction development works have been increased significantly. This has resulted in huge quantity of cement use which is contributing to the large amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emission. It has become a major risk for the environment and human life. Hence, life cycle assessment is being popularized in the construction industry for analyzing environmental impact of the projects. Current study has examined various life cycle assessment tools used during the construction phase of project. The study has gathered data using questionnaire survey. With statistical analysis of the surveyed data, it is found that, in Libyan building projects, level of implementation of life cycle assessment is very low. Among 18 LCA tool examined in the study, five commonly adopted tools in construction phases of the project are Environmental accounting, Extended procedure responsibility, Product stewardship, Specific audit, certification, standards and Environmental reporting.



Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systemic way of assessing the effect of any product or system on the environment. It covers through production system and life and hence it is also known as ‘cradle to grave’ assessment approach for products or processes. It identifies and quantifies the inputs and outputs for a whole life cycle in a systematic way. It is used for analyzing the environmental impact problems; comparing improved variants of a given product; designing new products, or choosing between a numbers of comparable products. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) described LCA as “a process to evaluate the environmental burdens associated with a product, process, or activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment; to assess the impact of those energy and materials used and released to the environment, and to identify and evaluate opportunities to affect environmental improvements.” [2] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refers LCA as “a cradle-to-grave approach for assessing industrial systems at every stage of a product’s life [3]. Any industrial system can be represented by a system boundary that encloses all the operations of interest. The region surrounding this boundary is known as the system environment as shown in Figure 1 where all raw materials taken from the environment is the inputs and the outputs are waste materials released back to the environment.

Keywords-Libya; LCA; LCA tools


INTRODUCTION After recent revolutions in Libya, the construction development is growing very fast, and many big projects have been started for restoration. However, modern construction works highly depend on the use of cement. Since, cement contributes significantly to carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and greenhouse gas emission to the atmosphere which has caused the significant risk to the environment and human life. Currently, in construction practitioner, environmental awareness is increasing, and they have started the assessment that how their activities affect the environment. Further, society also has concern about the issues of natural resource depletion and environmental degradation caused by the construction industry. For this, many organizations have started exploring ways of moving beyond compliance using pollution prevention strategies and environmental management systems to improve their environmental performance. One of the approaches used for such environmental performance assessment is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which considers the entire life cycle of a product [1]. Since, LCA application is Libyan construction context is a new concept. Hence, this study focused on assessing awareness and currents status of LCA among the construction practitioners. However, the scope of the study is limited to two different cities of Libya, which are Benghazi (famous economic city) and Tripoli (the capital city).

Figure 1. Life cycle assessment stages and system boundary (Source: EPA [4])


International Journal of Zero Waste Generation

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impact.”) It should be noted here that the description of building life-cycle stages presented above is based on review of previous LCA studies. Each life-cycle stage may or may not include all the activities described above, depending on the scope of the project [6].

III. PROJECT LIFECYCLE Every product or process goes through various phases or stages in its life known as lifecycle stages. Each stage is composed of a number of activities. For industrial products, these stages can be broadly defined as material acquisition, manufacturing, use and maintenance, and endof-life. In the case of buildings, these stages are more fully delineated as materials manufacturing, construction, use and maintenance, and end of life. A building life cycle according to EN 15978 standards is as shown in Figure 1 which consists of four stages. Every stage consumes material; energy and labour regarded as inputs which may contribute in the generation of waste that is treated or untreated before disposal to air, water or land. Within the cycle, wastes and retired materials may be reused, remanufactured or recycled to minimize the net output.

Overall LCA or environmental assessment covers the environmental and resource impacts of alternative disposal processes, as well as those other processes which are affected by disposal strategies such as different types of collection schemes for recyclables, changed transport patterns and so on. IV. LCA IMPLEMENTATION WORLDWIDE Now days, implementation of LCA is increasing rapidly. But in developing countries, it is still in early stages, and level of implementation is very low. Ahmed [7] had research the implementation of LCA in various countries which was reviewed and presented in following sub-sections.

On the contrary, EN 15978 standards have also classified the building lifecycle into four phases and named as material manufacturing, construction, maintaining the integrity of the specifications and maintaining the integrity of the specifications as elaborated below:

A. Life cycle assessment ( LCA ) Activities in Thailand In Thailand, LCA was first introduced in 1997 as part of the ISO 14000 series. It has been implemented for several projects, but due to lack of database and expertise, very few studies are published and recorded [8]. Basically, for promoting LCA implementation, it was divided into 4 areas. There areas were:

A. Material Manufacturing This stage includes removal of raw material from the earth, transportation of these materials to the manufacturing location, manufacture of finished or intermediate materials, building product fabrication, and packaging and distribution of building products [5].

1) Workshop and seminar: In order to promote LCA implementation, attention of the practitioners was attracted through workshops and seminar. Main objective of seminars and workshops was to introduce a clear picture of LCA, its importance and potential benefits to the practitioners. For this purpose, LCA workshop and seminar has been organized every year which was started in 1997. The entire seminar gained attention from Thai industries successfully. 2) Survey of LCA use: In 1998 and 2001, a study was conducted for investigating the LCA implementation inn Thai industries. Data gathering involved universities, industries and government agencies. In the first survey of 1997, a total of 43 respondents participated, and none of the respondents had applied LCA. This was mainly because of lack of LCA knowledge and expertise and difficult methodologies. However, 79% of the respondent showed their interested in order to implement LCA. The respondents were required assistance from Thai government to provide them training and more information about LCA. The second survey was conducted in December 2001. 3) Use of LCA studies in eco-labeling: Thai Green Label Scheme has declared current state of LCA as not applicable. It was decided because of high cost and time requirements in product completion according to LCA criteria. Hence, green label scheme adopted different mechanism where the findings of available projects completed with LCA implementation were used as a scientific tool to develop of environmental criteria for a few product categories.

B. Construction This phase accounts for activities relating to actual construction of a building project. Typically, the following activities are included in this stage: transportation of materials and products to the project site, use of power tools and equipment during construction of the building, on-site fabrication, and energy used for site work. Permanent impacts to the building site also fall into this stage, though these impacts are fully considered in current LCA methods. C. Maintaining the Integrity of the Specifications This stage refers to build an operation, which includes energy consumption, water use, and environmental waste generation. It also takes into account the repair and replacement of building assemblies and systems. The transport and equipment use for repair and replacement is also considered in this stage D. Maintaining the Integrity of the Specifications This includes energy consumed, and environmental waste produced due to building demolition and disposal of materials to landfills. The transport of waste building material is also included in this stage. Recycling and reuse activities related to demolition waste can also be included in this stage, depending on the availability of data. (The return of significant high-value materials to the inventory through recycling can even be considered as a “negative


International Journal of Zero Waste Generation

industry, followed by the chemical and paper and print industries.

4) Life cycle inventory (LCI) and LCA studies: Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) carried out first LCI projects in September 2000. It was aimed to improve LCI for Thailand Electricity Grid Mixes, which will be databases for a further LCA study. In addition, there were a few LCA thesis research in some universities, but all the research used databases from the commercial software program [7]

Ref [7] highlighted that, in German industry, LCA is growing fast. More commonly, it is used for product and process optimization, while for the procurement process; LCA is not yet widespread. LCA is also adopted for information purposes. However, automobile companies mostly do not allow making these studies available to the public. In the food industry, LCA is used in offensive way while chemical industry applies these instruments for more defensive reasons.

B. Life cycle assessment ( LCA ) in Malaysia In Malaysia, eco-labelling was started with the foundation of National Advisory Committee on EcoLabelling under the national standard infrastructure managed by SIRIM in 1992. Later in 1994, the Technical Committee on Environmental Management, and The National Advisory Committee on Eco-labelling was changed to Industry Standards Committee on Environmental Standards ISO TC 207. In 1996, SIRIM QAS International launched the Environmental Management System Certification Scheme. Industry Standards Committee on Environmental Standards assumed the role of the national mirror committee to TC 207 and was renamed (Industry Standard Committee) ISCZ on Environmental Management in year 1999 as shown in Table I. TABLE I.

V. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Data collection was carried out through questionnaire survey among clients, consultants, contracts and developers handling construction projects in Libya. The respondents targeted for this study are. Collected questionnaires will be analyzed statistically with software package Microsoft Excel for Frequency analysis. The frequency analysis generally is used for looking at the detailed information on nominal (category) data and describing the results. For gathering data, 100 questionnaire sets were distributed randomly in the city of Benghazi while 70 questionnaire sets distributed in the city of Tripoli. The response rate was very low in Benghazi, and only 35 completed questionnaires were received. From Tripoli city, 37 were received back. Data was analyzed with frequency analysis method using SPSS software package.





Formation of a National Advisory Committee on Ecolabelling under the national standard infrastructure managed by SIRIM


ISO formed the Technical Committee on Environmental Management, ISO TC 207. The National Advisory Committee on Eco-labeling was changed to Industry Standards Committee on Environmental Standards


SIRIM QAS International launched the Environmental Management System Certification Scheme


Industry Standards Committee on Environmental Standards assumed the role of the national mirror committee to TC207 and was renamed Industry Standard Committee (ISCZ) on Environmental Management


Development of LCA Among APEC Member Economies: Malaysian Component (JEMAI Phase II – III)


SIRIM JETRO-Establishment of LCA Methodology and Application in Malaysia (Phase I)


22 LCA studies under MNRE (Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment) to support National LCA project

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A. Demography of the Respondents The respondents participating in the survey are involved with different types of organizations as shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. Respondent’s Type of Organization

C. Life cycle assessment ( LCA ) in Germany In Germany, LCA implementation level was comparatively higher and had rising relevance in the environmental policy of business [9]. Ecological Economics Research Institute with the cooperation of Federation of German Industry conducted a survey to examine the application of LCA in 1995 for providing an overview of the objectives and benefits of LCA. The companies participating in the survey were automobile

From figure 2, it is seen that the majority of the respondents is contractors with a percentage of response as 31.5%. It is followed by government department representative with 31% while 25% of respondents are consultants. These respondents are involved in handling construction projects for several years as shown in figure 3.


International Journal of Zero Waste Generation

Figure 3. Respondent’s Working Experience

Figure 3 indicates the at 44 respondents have working experience for less than 10 years while 18 respondents have worked for more than 10 years, and 10 respondents are engaged in the construction industry for more than 21 years. The respondents have completed different level of education as presented in figure 4.

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Environmental accounting




Design ford Environment




Environmental labeling




Environmental impact assessment (EIA)




Environmental reporting




Product stewardship




Extended procedure responsibility




Input –output analysis (IOA)




Solution –modeling techniques




Environmental risk assessment (ERA)




material flow analysis (MFA)




Environmental monitory




Full cost accounting.




Product stewardship




Extended procedure responsibility




From table II, it is seen that implementation level of LCA tools in construction of building projects of Libya is very low. At an average, it can be concluded that the use of LCA tools is only by 7.4% of the respondents. However, top 5 common tools used by respondent are environmental accounting performed by 20.83%, extended procedure responsibility is used by 20.83%, Product stewardship used by 18.06%, Specific audit , certification, standards adopted by 13.89% and environmental reporting used by 13.89% of the respondents.

Figure 4. Respondent’s Academic Qualification

Figure 4 shows that the majority of respondents with 46 of 72 respondents have attained master level of study while 14 respondents are PhD holders and 12 respondents have finished engineering degree.

VII. CONCLUSION The survey was conducted in Benghazi and Tripoli, the cities of Libya among clients, consultants, contractors, developers and government departments responsible for managing construction works. A total of 72 completed questionnaire forms were received and analyzed statistically. It was found that the use of LCA in building projects of Libya is very low. The general LCA tools applied in the construction phase of the projects are environmental accounting implemented, extended procedure responsibility, product stewardship, specific audit, certification, standards and environmental reporting.

B. Level of LCA Implementation in Libyan Construction Industry The respondents were asked about the implementation of LCA in their projects. It was found that, on average, only 26.2% and 12.3% respondents implement LCA in building projects of Benghazi and Tripoli cities respectively. Thus, it can be concluded that level of LCA implementation is very low in Libyan construction industry C. Application of LCA Concepts and System in BMM Stage of a Buidling Project The implementation of level of LCA was assessed based on frequency presented in percentile for each tool of LCA in a construction phase as shown in table II. TABLE II.



Procedural Concepts and Systems



Environment and management systems (EMS)




Specific audit , certification, standards









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International Journal of Zero Waste Generation

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[8] [9]


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Conservation Technologies In School Buildings In MendozaArgentina,” Building And Environment, 38(2), p. 359-368, 2003 T. N. T. Ahmad, “Awareness on the implementation of Life cycle assessment in light industries,” MSc thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2009 P. Lohsomboon, “LCA Activites in Thailand,” International Conference Eco Balance, 2002 G. Susanne, and S. Gerd, “Application of LCA in German Industry,”, International Journal of Life cycle assessment, 4, p. 226-230, 1996.