Membrane structures are lightweight spatial structures made of tensioned membranes. They are mostly structurally optimized and highly efficient, prefabricated and designed for a varying lifetime. Like with conventional construction systems, it is important to understand and assess the ecological impact of these lightweight constructions.
This research studies the environmental performance of membrane structures by analysing a case study, the ‘OCMW Zoutleeuw’ canopy. In addition, the LCA of the membrane case study is compared with the LCA of a canopy made from steel with a similar size and function. Although the design is different, it allows to see some intrinsic qualities for both.
The literature review shows that few LCA studies on membrane structures have been performed and that LCA data for these structures are still very limited or even not available (such as data for structural steel cables, ETFE-foils, or PTFE-fabric). The existing data in Environmental Product Declarations need to be verified to interpret the results. Generally, the research shows that the impact of the product stage (A1-A3) on the environmental indicators is high, while the ‘end-of-life’ stage (C1-C4) and the ‘benefits and loads beyond the system boundaries’ stage (D) can also have a non-neglectable impact, certainly for temporary structures.
The LCA of the considered membrane structure and of the steel canopy shows that the Global Warming Potential (GWP) for the membrane structure is lower, even if the membrane is replaced during the service life of the canopy, while the available end-of-life processes of the steel/aluminium canopy are beneficial.
Originele taal-2English
TitelProceedings of the TensiNet Symposium 2023 TENSINANTES2023
UitgeverijTensiNet Association
Aantal pagina's13
ISBN van elektronische versie9789464787313
ISBN van geprinte versie9789464787313
StatusPublished - jun 2023
EvenementTensiNet symposium TENSINANTES2023: Membrane architecture: the seventh established building material. Designing reliable and sustainable structures for the urban environment. - Nantes Université, Nantes, France
Duur: 7 jun 20239 jun 2023
Congresnummer: 7


ConferenceTensiNet symposium TENSINANTES2023
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