Minimizing environmental impact from optimized sizing of reinforced concrete elements

  • Santoro, Jair F. (Faculty of Engineering, Sul-Rio-Grandense Federal Institute) ;
  • Kripka, Moacir (Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Program, University of Passo Fundo)
  • Received : 2019.11.01
  • Accepted : 2020.01.23
  • Published : 2020.02.25


The construction field must always explore sustainable ways of using its raw materials. Studying the environmental impact generated by reinforced concrete raw materials during their production and transportation can contribute to reducing this impact. This paper initially presents the carbon dioxide emissions from reinforced concrete raw materials, quantified per kilo of raw material and per cubic meter of concrete with different characteristic strengths, for southern Brazil. Subsequently, reinforced concrete elements were optimized to minimize their environmental impact and cost. It was observed that lower values of carbon dioxide emissions and cost savings are generated for less resistant concrete when the structural element is a beam, and that reductions in the cross section dimensions of the beams, sized based on the use of higher strength concrete, may not compensate for the increased environmental impact and costs. For the columns, the behavior differed, presenting lower values of carbon dioxide emissions and costs for higher concrete strengths. The proposed methodology, as well as the results obtained, can be used to support structural projects that have less impact on the environment.


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