Assessment of Environmental Impact of Thai Housing
Building and construction has consumed a lot of various resources and emitted pollution. These cause environmental problems, especially global warming. The buildings and constructions in various regions and different styles will lead to different environmental problems and levels of seriousness. The objective of this research is to assess the global warming impact from the use of construction materials in residential buildings since this type of building represents about 89% of all buildings in Thailand. The principles of ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 were used as the research methodology. The study started with collection of data and analysis of residential buildings in Thailand to conclude which type of building would be studies. Based on the data collected, most of the residential buildings in Thailand are two-storey reinforced concrete houses with an average space of 152 m2 consisting of 3 bedrooms, 2 restrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 dining room, 1 living room, hip roof and 1 car-parking area. This information was used as the functional unit. The system boundary of this study included all life cycles of building materials i.e. raw material extraction and processing, product manufacturing, transportation, installation, operation and maintenance, and disposal (at the end of the life-span of the materials). The life-span of the building is 50 years. From the calculation, it is found that the value of global warming potential of Thai housing is 4.98E+07 gCO2 eq. A reinforced concrete causes global warming of 4.98E+07 gCO2 eq, and concrete is the construction material having the greatest environmental impact representing up to 2.55E+07 g CO2 eq or 54.80%, followed by mortared brick wall of 1.35E+07 gCO2 eq or 29.08%, and steel structures of 6.12E+06 gCO2 eq or 13.13%. However, laminated timber and door timber both have a positive effect upon the environment.
Keywords: environmental impact; global warming; Thai housing; building materials; life-cycle assessment.