This research investigates the development of life cycle assessment (LCA) in the building and healthcare industries. The ultimate goal is to advance necessary contributions and provide strategic recommendations on the development of LCA in both industries. Because the building industry has progressed farther in terms of environmental and economic assessments than the healthcare industry, the lessons learned from past implementation and market adoption of building LCAs is essential for the future of healthcare LCAs. To achieve the goal of this dissertation, the evolution of LCA in each industry was studied, followed by recommendations and strategies for future sustainable development.
To understand the building industry, three different studies are presented. The first building LCA study focused on building materials, comparing green building materials to traditional building materials and concluding that there is a quantitative need for LCA integration in the zero-energy building definition. The second LCA study integrated LCA with life cycle cost assessment (LCCA) as a complimentary tool for building owner decision-making. The last LCA study builds on the LCA/LCCA study and developed an integrated pathway linking LCA with a host of other environmental and economic tools that broaden the scope of building projects.
To understand the healthcare industry, three different studies are presented. The use of LCA in the healthcare industry is relatively new; therefore the first study compared two different birth procedures to determine the high-impact areas within healthcare. The second LCA study focused on disposable products discussing streamlining efforts and strategies that could be applied universally across the healthcare industry. The last healthcare LCA study is a set of organizational techniques that can be applied to any healthcare institution attempting to reduce their environmental impacts; the more advanced green teams integrating LCA for quantitative information.
The final study presented connects the building and healthcare industries, quantifying design decisions of evidence-based design and green building design through a host of metrics such as quality of care, utilities, and staff satisfaction. Both the building and healthcare industries have a tremendous amount of potential to enhance sustainable development utilizing life cycle assessment.
|Advisor:||Bilec, Melissa M.|
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental Health, Civil engineering, Environmental engineering|
|Keywords:||Green building, Life cycle assessment, Sustainability, Sustainable healthcare|
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