Carbon and environmental profiling of hard landscape materials
Carbon and Environmental Profiling of Hard Landscape Materials
Executive Summery from the Report, the entire report can be found at the link below.
This study examines the ways in which the choice of hard materials in landscape projects affects the total level of CO2 emissions from those projects. It aims to better inform landscape design and construction professionals in New Zealand about some of the consequences of their choices. The findings are also relevant to those in other professions or organisations which specify or use hard materials when implementing landscape change.
The research questions are to:
1. Identify and compile a list of typical hard landscape materials and techniques (see table 2);
2. Define the carbon and environmental footprint of selected materials, with reference to embodied energy (see Chapter 4.2); and
3. Develop an outline approach to the ways in which this information could be used as a tool for professional landscape architects, to better inform their decision-making processes in regard to specification of materials and techniques (see Chapter 5).
The study reviewed the application of three key sustainability measurement systems to landscape design (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Green Star and Life Cycle Assessment). The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was adopted as a tool to enable evaluation of the full 'cost' of materials used in landscape projects, and therefore facilitate a more informed choice of those materials. A sample of five commonly used materials was chosen for this study in the form of 'functional units', which were defined as 10m2 surfaces. The materials were: timber, steel, concrete, aggregate and asphaltic concrete. Timber was found to be the 'least cost' material with regard to CO2 emissions, while aggregate and asphaltic concrete were 'least cost' with regard to embodied energy and dollars.
Potential tools for the landscape profession that build upon the findings from this study were discussed, and it was noted that there is a substantial amount of landscape and NZ-specific research that still needs to be undertaken to enable more detailed comparisons of materials options to be made for landscape projects.
The preliminary work was conducted by Kirsten O'Connor as part of a Summer Research Scholarship offered by Lincoln University, in partnership with Craig Pocock of Pocock Design:Environment Limited, based in Christchurch New Zealand. Supervision was provided by Mike Barthelmeh and Dr. Shannon Davis from the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University.
Lincoln University LEaP Research Report No.22,2011
Craig Pocock, Kirsten O'Connor, Mike Barthelmeh, Shannon Davis