Environmentally Conscious Design for Construction

EPA Grant Number: R825370C042
Subproject: this is subproject number 042 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825370
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)
Center Director: Crittenden, John C.
Title: Environmentally Conscious Design for Construction
Investigators: Patty, R. M. , Baillod, C. R. , Grandy, David , Hertz, Darryl W. , Sutherland, John
Current Investigators: Patty, R. M. , Harper, Jim , Hertz, Darryl W.
Institution: Michigan Technological University , M.W. Kellogg Limited
Current Institution: Michigan Technological University
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period:    
RFA: Exploratory Environmental Research Centers (1992) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT) , Targeted Research


The goal of this project is to develop a CD-ROM based multimedia system for designers to infuse environmental considerations into the design process for constructed facilities, while simultaneously evaluating other facility performance criteria. This system will also serve as a resource database for manufacturers desiring to better understand field problems associated with installing their products.


The M. W. Kellogg Company and MTU are collaborating in this co-development project. The combined effort will create an interactive multimedia information database, containing constructability examples from environmental and safety perspectives, applicable to many of the tasks performed during design and construction. Advanced ergonomics are being incorporated into this tool.

The demonstration module produced by this research will contain sufficient material to plant principles of pollution prevention and sustainable development at the forefront of constructability design tools. It will be a saleable product (on CD-ROM). A team and track record will be established, which can attract new data sources and funding to expand and update the database with environmental/safety/constructability technology appropriate for use by practicing facilities designers. Promising new or existing pollution prevention technologies, requiring additional research to enable and encourage reduction to practice, will be identified, and white-papers and proposals drafted.


Chosing environmentally preferred options can produce beneficial effects to the entire construction or remodeling project. A well-known example of this is the use of citrus or other aqueous-based solvents to strip paint to avoid volatile organic compound (VOC) releases which are associated with chlorinated solvents. When employees are not distracted by health or safety hazards, they can be attentive to production. Modular designs, to reduce the cost of field assembly, are also likely to be safer to build. Modular considerations, beyond their initial construction, could make them easier to maintain, and hence, more reliable. This extends the life of the facility and reduces waste, which is of primary environmental concern. Further, modular prefabrication and assembly can allow large assemblies to be hoisted into place, reducing worker exposure to elevated work tasks. Included in the database are specific examples, pictures and video clips on how to successfully do these things at several facilities.

Incorporating safety and environmental issues routinely into design decisions requires improved availability of usable and applicable information for the work at hand. If information is unavailable or hard to reach, one must rely on one's own experience, plus that of others to make decisions. These other sources of advice or experience are not always available, so decisions are often made in rather isolated conditions. The new software being developed in this project is intended to fill this important void, and to improve constructability within the engineering design stages, as well as during construction operations.

Advanced ergonomic and cognitive learning research in this area by the primary investigator and others has found constructability data to be diverse and interrelated, usually containing issues relating to more than one facility performance criteria. Further, use of a large constructability information base must be intuitive, matching the natural cognitive organization of other information used in the design process. By extracting and matching this natural organization, the interface becomes intuitive and easy to use. The search process actively draws existing knowledge into the engineer's working memory, preparatory to infusing it with the new environmental criteria.

Supplemental Keywords:

construction, environmentelly preferred, multimedia, safety, database., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, computing technology, Civil Engineering, decision-making, New/Innovative technologies, Environmental Engineering, Economics & Decision Making, CD-ROM, sustainable development, waste reduction, decision analysis, environmental decision making, decision making, Chemcial Industry Planning System (CIPS), modeling, environmental simulation and design tools, models, Design for Environment, pollution prevention

Main Center Abstract and Reports:

R825370    EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R825370C032 Means for Producing an Entirely New Generation of Lignin-Based Plastics
R825370C042 Environmentally Conscious Design for Construction
R825370C046 Clean Process Advisory System (CPAS) Core Activities
R825370C048 Investigation of the Partial Oxidation of Methane to Methanol in a Simulated Countercurrent Moving Bed Reactor
R825370C054 Predictive Tool for Ultrafiltration Performance
R825370C055 Heuristic Reactor Design for Clean Synthesis and Processing - Separative Reactors
R825370C056 Characterization of Selective Solid Acid Catalysts Towards the Rational Design of Catalytic Reactions
R825370C057 Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing: Prediction of Processing Waste Streams for Discrete Products
R825370C064 The Physical Properties Management System (PPMS™): A P2 Engineering Aid to Support Process Design and Analysis
R825370C065 Development and Testing of Pollution Prevention Design Aids for Process Analysis and Decision Making
R825370C066 Design Tools for Chemical Process Safety: Accident Probability
R825370C067 Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing: Design for Disassembly (DFD) in De-Manufacturing of Products
R825370C068 An Economic Comparison of Wet and Dry Machining
R825370C069 In-Line Copper Recovery Technology
R825370C070 Selective Catalytic Hydrogenation of Lactic Acid
R825370C071 Biosynthesis of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymers from Industrial Wastewater
R825370C072 Tin Zeolites for Partial Oxidation Catalysis
R825370C073 Development of a High Performance Photocatalytic Reactor System for the Production of Methanol from Methane in the Gas Phase
R825370C074 Recovery of Waste Polymer Generated by Lost Foam Technology in the Metal Casting Industry
R825370C075 Industrial Implementation of the P2 Framework
R825370C076 Establishing Automated Linkages Between Existing P2-Related Software Design Tools
R825370C077 Integrated Applications of the Clean Process Advisory System to P2-Conscious Process Analysis and Improvement
R825370C078 Development of Environmental Indices for Green Chemical Production and Use