Advantages of structural inspection and diagnosis for traditional buildings’ refurbishment: A Life Cycle Assessment perspective

Renata Silva, Elena Surra, Bruno Quelhas, Alexandre A. Costa, N. Lapa, Cristina Delerue-Matos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This work demonstrated, through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the environmental advantages brought by the application of the Structural Inspection and Diagnosis (SID) methodology to the structural refurbishment of 7 traditional buildings located in the city of Porto (Portugal), when compared to the common total demolition and reconstruction approach.
The early diagnosis of the conservation state of the existing structural elements, and their characterization provides fundamental information for optimizing the design of the refurbishment towards environmental sustainability. SID approach can reduce by 75.3%, on average, the demolished material and provide the lowest environmental burdens in the environmental categories of Global Warming, Acidification, Eutrophication, Ozone, and Abiotic Depletion, Photochemical Ozone Creation potential, Human Toxicity as well as Energy Demand when compared with the total demolition and reconstruction scenarios. In terms of relative environmental impact for the reconstruction scenarios, it was concluded that reinforced concrete, in the form of lightweight and solid slabs, presents the worst performance due to the concrete production process. Furthermore, timber structures show better environmental performance when compared to the use of glued laminated timber. The establishment of the SID tool as a consolidated methodology can be a unique opportunity to systematically include, in the refurbishment of traditional buildings, the principles of the environmental sustainability required by EU policies in the construction sector, providing a significant reduction of demolition wastes and the maximization of the preservation of existing structural materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109485
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


  • Construction industry
  • Demolition
  • Diagnosis
  • Environmental impact
  • Environmental management
  • Eutrophication
  • Global warming
  • Gluing
  • Inspection
  • Laminating
  • Ozone
  • Ozone layer
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Sustainable development
  • Timber


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