Developments in life cycle assessment applied to evaluate the environmental performance of construction and demolition wastes

M D Bovea, J C Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a review of the literature that applies the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to the assessment of the environmental performance of the life cycle of construction and demolition waste (CDW) management systems. This article is focused on generating a general mapping of the literature and on identifying the best practices in compliance with LCA framework and proposing directions for future LCA studies in this field. The temporal evolution of the research in this field and the aim of the studies have grown in parallel with the legal framework related to waste and energy efficiency of buildings. Most studies have been published in Europe, followed by USA. Asia and Australia, being at an incipient application stage to the rest of the world. Topics related to "LCA of buildings, including their EoL" and "LCA of general CDW management strategies" are the most frequently analysed, followed by "LCA of EoL of construction elements" and "LCA of natural material vs recycled material". Regarding the strategies, recycling off-site and incineration, both combined with landfill for the rejected fractions, are the most commonly applied. Re-use or recycling on-site is the strategy least applied. The key aspect when LCA is applied to evaluate CDW management systems is the need to normalise which processes to include in the system boundary and the functional unit, the use of inventory data adapted to the context of the case study and the definition of a common set of appropriate impact assessment categories. Also, it is important to obtain results disaggregated by unit processes. This will allow the comparison between case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-172
Number of pages22
JournalWaste Management
Early online date23 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Life cycle assessment
  • LCA
  • Construction and demolition waste
  • CDW
  • Review

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