Life-Cycle Cost Is Key to Zero Waste

The nature and impact of "pollution" is dependent upon the type of project; listing the sources and methods to reduce them is less important than knowing how to develop an approach that will be truly successful.When a client charges a design firm with maximizing environmental sustainability, the first step the designer should take is to clearly and quantitatively define the client's objectives.

03/01/2001


The nature and impact of "pollution" is dependent upon the type of project; listing the sources and methods to reduce them is less important than knowing how to develop an approach that will be truly successful.

When a client charges a design firm with maximizing environmental sustainability, the first step the designer should take is to clearly and quantitatively define the client's objectives. Then, for example, if the primary objective is to minimize release of greenhouse gases, the designer must fully understand the impact of each source of emission.

The next frontier in sustainable engineering design is in the true and full life-cycle assessment of building materials, furnishings, equipment and supplies. Using this approach, decision-making is required for each product that will be a component of a building. This decision-making addresses the environmental impact of:

  • Development of the product's raw material.

 

  • Manufacturing of the product itself.

 

  • Transportation of the product to the site.

 

  • The very product itself while it serves its useful life.

 

  • The ultimate reuse, recycling or disposal of the product.

One example of a company pressing new limits in sustainable manufacturing is Interface, Inc., a leading provider of interior furnishings. In addition to continually striving towards "zero waste" at their manufacturing facilities, Interface offers upholstery to customers on a "fiber-lease" basis. Interface never relinquishes ownership of the fiber, selling customers only the right to use it. When the fiber has served its useful life, Interface removes it, installs new "leased fiber"-if requested-and incorporates the expended fiber back into their manufacturing process.





Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me