The changing climate and damaging effects of CO2 on the environment has led to awareness throughout the construction industry of the need to deliver more sustainable solutions. The use of geosynthetics as a sustainable construction solution was demonstrated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in a report entitled Sustainable Geosystems in Civil Engineering Applications (WRAP, 2010). The WRAP report presented a series of case studies in which geosynthetic solutions provided both cost and CO2 savings in comparison to non-geosynthetic solutions. However, in what is a huge field the report concentrated on specific areas relative to the calculation methods or on the potential construction applications. This EngD research built on this work by WRAP and aimed to establish a rigorous framework for the comparison of CO2 emissions between geosynthetic and non-geosynthetic solutions.
This EngD research reviewed CO2 calculation methodologies and techniques to produce a rigorous framework that could be adopted in comparative CO2 studies between geosynthetic and non-geosynthetic solutions. It was demonstrated on three case studies looking at geosynthetics in the function of containment, drainage, and reinforcement, highlighting the possible CO2 benefits of employing geosynthetics. The development of the case studies and framework highlighted the need for accurate embodied carbon data. There was an absence of geosynthetic specific embodied carbon values in the commonly employed databases. The EngD research sought to address this and through some experimental work in collaboration with geosynthetic manufacturers calculated embodied carbon values for four types of geosynthetics.
A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the
degree Doctor of Engineering (EngD), at Loughborough University.