School of Engineering
Fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) have been presented as materials that possess properties that are comparable to conventional building materials, while also being more sustainable. This study describes the material and its properties and compares the materials using a life-cycle assessment (LCA) modelling approach. The objective of this paper is to perform a cradle-to-grave (from resource extraction to the disposal stage) analysis of pultruded FRP material and compare it to conventional building materials used in a typical dwelling. This analysis was conducted in accordance with LCA standard EN15978. A streamlined LCA was conducted, whereby the major impacts observed included the global warming potential in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent and the embodied energy in megajoule net calorific value. The products compared with the FRP profiles were the most commonly used materials in a residential dwelling; bricks and timber. The results of the LCA modelling provided a comparative assertion of the FRPs to conventional materials by demonstrating that they perform better than double-brick dwellings and external timber framed walls in both environmental impact categories of global warming potential and embodied energy. The results shows that the FRP-walled house had the lowest emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent, which was around 17% lower than that of the double-brick wall and 1.46% less than that of the timber wall house.
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