Floods and consequential life cycle assessment: integrating flood damage into the environmental assessment of stormwater Best Management Practices
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Stormwater management is essential to reducing the occurrence of flooding events in urban areas and to adapting to climate change. The construction of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) entails a series of life cycle environmental impacts but also implies avoided burdens, such as replacing urban infrastructure after flooding. The aim of this paper is to integrate flood damage prevention into the life cycle assessment (LCA) of BMPs for quantifying their net environmental impact (NEI) and environmental payback (EP) from a consequential LCA standpoint. As a case study, the application of a filter, swale and infiltration trench (FST) in a Brazilian neighborhood was assessed considering a high-intensity rainfall event. The potential avoided impacts were related to cars and sidewalks that were not destroyed due to flooding. In terms of CO2eq. emissions, the environmental investment related to the FST was recovered when the destruction of one car or 84 m2 of sidewalk was prevented. The NEI of the FSTs resulted in significant impact reductions (up to 700%) with respect to not accounting for the avoided products. This approach can be implemented to any type of BMP, and more accurate estimations can be made with data for different events and different types of material damage.
CitationPetit-Boix, A., Sevigné-Itoiz, E., Rojas-Gutierrez, L., Paceli, A., Josa, A., Rieradevall, J., Gabarrell, X. Floods and consequential life cycle assessment: integrating flood damage into the environmental assessment of stormwater Best Management Practices. "Journal of cleaner production", Setembre 2017, vol. 162, p. 601-608.