LCA and LCCA in the design of geotechnical engineering works

Abstract: Geotechnical engineering works are part of almost all construction and infrastructure projects. The geotechnical engineering work contributes to the impact on the environment and gives rise to costs throughout its life cycle. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) are established methods for evaluating a product's environmental impact and costs. However, the use of these methods is not extensive for geotechnical engineering works. A literature review showed that there is published research, but as the research topic is relatively new, there are many research gaps. A few topics in geotechnical engineering are better investigated than others and the entire life cycle is often not evaluated, usually only the production and construction stages. Although LCA and LCCA are established methods, the methodology for evaluating geotechnical engineering works needs further development to increase the evaluation work of sustainability aspects. In this licentiate thesis, a methodology is presented of how LCA and LCCA can be integrated into the geotechnical design process. The integration enables changes to the geotechnical design to further reduce the LCA and LCCA result, which is presented in the methodology. The methodology also presents a way to evaluate the possible geotechnical designs to select the most sustainable design based on the LCA and LCCA results. The thesis also presents the performance of LCA and LCCA for geotechnical engineering works and solutions to several difficulties that the geotechnical engineer may encounter during the evaluation of environmental impact and costs.