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Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Sevigne-Itoiz E.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Rojas-Gutierrez L.A.,University of Sao Paulo | Barbassa A.P.,Federal University of São Carlos | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2015

Green and grey stormwater management infrastructures, such as the filter, swale and infiltration trench (FST), can be used to prevent flooding events. The aim of this paper was to determine the environmental and economic impacts of a pilot FST that was built in São Carlos (Brazil) using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). As a result, the components with the greatest contributions to the total impacts of the FST were the infiltration trench and the grass cover. The system has a carbon footprint of 0.13kgCO2eq./m3 of infiltrated stormwater and an eco-efficiency ratio of 0.35kgCO2eq./USD. Moreover, the FST prevented up to 95% of the runoff in the area. Compared to a grey infrastructure, this system is a good solution with respect to PVC stormwater pipes, which require a long pipe length (1070m) and have a shorter lifespan. In contrast, concrete pipes are a better solution, and their impacts are similar to those of the FST. Finally, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the changes in the impacts with the varying lifespan of the system components. Thus, the proper management of the FST can reduce the economic and environmental impacts of the system by increasing its durability. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Angrill S.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Segura-Castillo L.,University of Barcelona | Segura-Castillo L.,University of the Republic of Uruguay | Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: The rapid urbanization and the constant expansion of urban areas during the last decades have locally led to increasing water shortage. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems have the potential to be an important contributor to urban water self-sufficiency. The goal of this study was to select an environmentally optimal RWH strategy in newly constructed residential buildings linked to rainwater demand for laundry under Mediterranean climatic conditions, without accounting for water from the mains. Methods: Different strategies were environmentally assessed for the design and use of RWH infrastructures in residential apartment blocks in Mediterranean climates. The harvested rainwater was used for laundry in all strategies. These strategies accounted for (i) tank location (i.e., tank distributed over the roof and underground tank), (ii) building height considering the number of stories (i.e., 6, 9, 12, and 15), and (iii) distribution strategy (i.e., shared laundry, supply to the nearest apartments, and distribution throughout the building). The RWH systems consisted of the catchment, storage, and distribution stages, and the structural and hydraulic calculations were based on Mediterranean conditions. The quantification of the environmental performance of each strategy (e.g., CO2eq. emissions) was performed in accordance with the life cycle assessment methodology. Results and discussion: According to the environmental assessment, the tank location and distribution strategy chosen were the most important variables in the optimization of RWH systems. Roof tank strategies present fewer impacts than their underground tank equivalents because they enhance energy and material savings, and their reinforcement requirements can be accounted for within the safety factors of the building structure without the tank. Among roof tanks and depending on the height, a distribution strategy that concentrates demand in a laundry room was the preferable option, resulting in reductions from 25 to 54 % in most of the selected impact categories compared to distribution throughout the building. Conclusions: These results may set new urban planning standards for the design and construction of buildings from the perspective of sustainable water management. In this sense, a behavioral change regarding demand should be promoted in compact, dense urban settlements. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Roige N.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | de la Fuente A.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Pujadas P.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | And 3 more authors.
Water Resources Management | Year: 2016

The demand for sanitation infrastructures is increasing due to a rise in the urban population. To meet the need for wastewater collection, the construction of sewer networks must comply with a series of technical parameters that indicate whether a solution is feasible or not. Considering that this construction implies a series of environmental impacts, this study coupled a structural analysis of one linear metre of sewer constructive solutions with their life cycle impacts. Different pipe materials (concrete, polyvinylchloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE)) were combined with different trench designs and their environmental performance was assessed using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). These solutions complied with technical parameters consisting of traffic loads and pavement conditions, among others. Concrete pipes embedded in granular matter result in fewer environmental impacts, such as Global Warming Potential or Cumulative Energy Demand. Further, re-using the excavated soil results in up to 80 % of environmental savings with respect to extracting new materials. Concerning traffic loads and pavement conditions, failures in plastic pipes could be avoided if these are embedded in concrete. Moreover, the environmental impacts of this solution are similar to those resulting from the substitution of pipes that do not comply with the mechanical requirements of the construction site. Therefore, proper planning is needed to provide cities with sewers that are resilient to time and external loads and reduce the urban environmental impacts. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Sanjuan-Delmas D.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Chenel S.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Marin D.,Water Technology Center | And 7 more authors.
Water Resources Management | Year: 2015

The environmental impacts resulting from sewer networks are best analysed from a life-cycle perspective to integrate the energy requirements into the infrastructure design. The energy requirements for pumping wastewater depend on the configuration of the city (e.g., climate, population, length of the sewer, topography, etc.). This study analyses and models the effect of such site-specific features on energy consumption and related effects in a sample of Spanish cities. The results show that the average annual energy used by sewers (6.4 kWh/capita and 0.014 kWh/m3 of water flow) must not be underestimated because they may require up to 50 % of the electricity needs of a typical treatment plant in terms of consumption per capita. In terms of Global Warming Potential, pumping results in an average of 2.3 kg CO2eq./capita. A significant positive relationship was demonstrated between the kWh consumed and the length of the sewer and between other factors such as the population and wastewater production. In addition, Atlantic cities can consume 5 times as much energy as Mediterranean or Subtropical regions. A similar trend was shown in coastal cities. Finally, a simple predictive model of the electricity consumption was presented that considers the analysed parameters. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Eijo-Rio E.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Villalba G.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Suarez-Ojeda M.E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering | Year: 2015

Sewers are known as longitudinal reactors where gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and hydrogen sulphide can be produced. However, gaseous emissions have been mainly assessed in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). This article presents a critical review of studies that quantify the generation of these gases in sewers and aims to identify the existing research gaps. Differences in sampling methods and site selection, as well as a limited number of studies, result in incoherent comparisons. To address some of these gaps, sampling campaigns were conducted in two Spanish cities. Results showed that wet wells were the most important sources of gases with concentrations up to 321 μg CH4 Lair-1 and 6.8 μg N2O Lair-1. Regarding emission factors, in the case of Calafell, the estimated annual emissions were 18.6 kg CH4 year-1 and 0.3 kg H2S year-1 in summer and 3.8 kg CH4 year-1 and 0.5 kg H2S year-1 in winter. About Betanzos, these values were 24.6 kg CH4 year-1 and 0.5 kg N2O year-1 in summer and 10 kg CH4 year-1 in winter. The summer campaign resulted in greater gas concentration than in the winter season for both cities, suggesting that temperature is a key parameter. We conclude that gas emissions from sewers are significant compared to those of WWTPs resulting in an important contribution to the carbon footprint. Further work needs to be done to assess the gas production along the entire sewer networks, which can result in very different emission factors depending on the sewer components. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sanjuan-Delmas D.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Petit-Boix A.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Martinez-Blanco J.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit | Rieradevall J.,Sostenipra ICTA IRTA Inedit
Energy Efficiency | Year: 2015

The environmental analysis of public nursery schools is of great interest since they are crucial in the early education of children and are expected to show high environmental standards. This paper aims to analyse the environmental profile (energy, water and transport flows) of this sector. A sample of 12 public nursery schools belonging to the Scholar Agenda 21 (SA21) of the city of Barcelona were selected given their data quality (eight centres applied to all analysis) to determine their energy and water consumption, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy consumption and transport use. For each centre, energy and water consumption were obtained from bills and surveys were conducted to get data regarding the transport associated with the centre. Results show that, on average, a child consumes 966 kWh of energy (electricity and gas) and 12.9 m3 of potable water every year. Nursery schools with more energy-efficient devices hold lower energy consumption, a trend which could not be found in the case of water and water-efficient devices. Regarding transport, car usage was the flow with highest impact, since it accounts for 69 % of CO2eq emissions, although only 19 % of the children commute by car. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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