A LimesNet mission to Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden, is reported in this paper. The aim of the mission was to explore new ways of exploiting the untapped potential of life-cycle assessment, its application in the civil engineering and construction industries and, specifically, to debate the associated trade-off decisions for reinforced concrete structures (buildings and civil engineering). Life-cycle assessment is an important tool in sustainable design; engineers need robust life-cycle assessment data and must balance this with operational performance considerations (e.g. energy consumption, durability). Through the mission it was clear that much could be learned from the Swedish experience. The UK team noted the importance of life-cycle assessment studies which allow building performance and construction products to be benchmarked and the role of emerging European standards (e.g. product category rules for construction and the development of environmental product declarations). Valuable lessons exist for consulting engineers and materials manufacturers, and there is a need for the greater inclusion of life-cycle assessment skills in the civil engineering education curriculum.
- Structures & design/environment/sustainability