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Doctoral defence in Civil Engineering -Nargessadat Emami

Doctoral defence in Civil Engineering -Nargessadat Emami - Available at University of Iceland
Fri, 27/08/2021 - 10:00 to 12:00

Veröld - Hús Vigdísar

Room 023

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Ph.D. student: Nargessadat Emami

Dissertation title: Embodied Environmental Impact from Built Environment Development – Focus on Buildings

Opponents: Dr. Andre Stephan, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Architectural Engineering and Urban Planning, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Dr. Matti Kuittinen, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Architecture, Aalto University, Finland

Advisor: Dr. Jukka Heinonen, Professor at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iceland

Doctoral committee: Dr. Björn Marteinsson; Senior Researcher at Innovation Center of Iceland
Dr. Seppo Junnila, Professor at the Department of Built Environment, Aalto University, Finland

Chair of Ceremony: Dr. Guðmundur Freyr Úlfarsson, Professor and the Head of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iceland

Buildings are the key components of urban areas and society as a complex system. Traditionally, the emissions embodied in construction materials have not been considered important, in comparison with impacts from the energy use when it comes to mitigating the climate change impact of buildings. Moreover, evaluating the environmental burden of construction materials has proven problematic and the reliability of the reported impact estimates is questionable. Following the multiple case study approach, four different single-case life cycle assessment (LCA) studies were conducted in this dissertation to contribute to filling this gap.

Based on the results, LCA approach can improve the understanding of the contribution of different traditional and alternative construction materials to several environmental impact categories. Another key contribution is about the share of transport in embodied impacts, often not explicitly considered forming a weakly understood uncertainty factor.

Yet, the results should be interpreted cautiously. The first concern relates to the selected LCA database for the assessment that can result in very different evaluation in almost all impact categories, with climate change and fossil depletion as the only exceptions (yet with some inconsistency in them as well). The other issue is linked to the uncertainties surrounding the input data (selection of material from the database and the method) as well as the uncertainties in the sequestration capacity of a few specific materials (compressed straw, reed panels, and wooden elements). It was clear that the assessment depends heavily on those input data and sequestration capacity assumptions. 

Thus, the study revealed that extensive work is still needed to improve the reliability of LCA tools in the building sector in order to provide reliable and trustworthy information for policy-making.

About the doctoral candidate:

Narges was born in Tehran, Iran on February 16, 1987. She started her academic path by participating in a three-year bachelor's degree program in Civil Engineering at ISEP in Porto, Portugal in 2012. She completed her MSc in Civil Engineering, Specialization in Renewable Energy – Hydroelectric Engineering at the University of Iceland in 2016. She then started her PhD research on Embodied Environmental Impacts from the Built Environment Development at the University of Iceland in April 2016. Her professional experiences are in the area of Life-cycle assessment, and sustainability evaluation of built environment. She is currently working at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia. She is married and has a three year old daughter.

Nargessadat Emami

Doctoral defence in Civil Engineering -Nargessadat Emami