PhD Project: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Dimensional Stone

Technological University Dublin


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  • Dublin
    Technological University Dublin
    Oct 5, 2020

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake fully-funded, industry-relevant research while completing a PhD at Technological University Dublin. The successful candidate with work closely with the industry partner, Valentia Slate, County Kerry, Ireland.

Future buildings must be net-zero emissions on a life cycle basis; that is, including construction, maintenance and operational phases. To date, regulators and designers have concentrated on mitigating operational emissions. However, construction-related emissions are now becoming a focus of attention. Modern cladding and flooring/paving systems have a significant impact on the overall embodied emissions of a structure. Two main products are available: quarried dimensional stone, or manufactured products which are typically more damaging to the environment. While current best design practice involves the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) data, there are no product-specific methodologies, standards or data available to the dimensional stone industry to help it compete with these alternatives.

The aim of this research project is to develop a product-specific life cycle assessment methodology which is appropriate to the dimensional stone industry and apply this using Irish case studies. The base case study will involve studying the manufacturing and supply chains of the business partner, Valentia Slate Quarry. The work will comprise, in general terms: reviewing the current state of the art; developing novel product-specific LCA methodologies; undertaking comparative studies with alternative materials; developing appropriate guidance; and communicating results to relevant research and industry stakeholders.