Low Carbon Economy, 2011, 2, 152-158
doi:10.4236/lce.2011.23019 Published Online September 2011 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/lce)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. LCE
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on
Construction Sector
Nuki Agya Utama1*, Keiichi N. Ishihara1, Tetsuo Tezuka1, Qi Zhang1, Miguel Esteban2
1Graduate School Energy Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan; 2Graduate School Civil and Environmental, Waseda University,
Tokyo, Japan .
Email: *agyautama@energy.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Received June 24th, 2011; revised July 28th, 2011; accepted August 8th, 2011.
Pollution sources in Indon esia have been classified into those from movable and unmovable so urces. Transportation of
goods and peop le throu gh water, air and land are the movable sources of pollution, these sources of pollution originate
mainly from gasoline and diesel combustion. This pap er will discuss the movable pollutio n, which will be referred to as
the embedded emissions from the transportation sector in buildings. The embedded emissions refer to the emissions,
which occur ind irectly throughout a building s lifetime (for instance, during manufacturing, transportation etc). This is
in contrast to the emissions normally considered for buildings, which usually only include those originating from its
usage during a certain life span. By using life cycle analysis tools the value of the impacts of the transportation sector
on building s can be q uantifie d. GEMIS 4.4 was used to simulate the emissions during the process of transporting mate-
rials as well as any other goods related to the construction of the building. The research however did not include the
transportation of materials after the demolition of the building to the landfill. The results show that the transportation
emissions from glass, sand, gypsum and concrete roof production have the highest emissions per kilogram of product.
Concrete roofs emit 1.82 × 10–4 kg CO2/kg, transporting raw material and glass products to customers emits 1.05 ×
10–3 kg NOx/kg, and transporting wood material 1.33 × 10–5 kg of particulates/kg. Furthermore, the future emissions
caused by this sector are also analysed in the present paper by compa ring four potential scenarios regarding different
types of future fuels that could be used by vehicles, including a (JCL) Jatropha Curcas L. based biodiesel scenario that
uses a perennial harvesting system, a (PME) Palm Methyl Ester based biodiesel both scenarios, Natural Gas Vehicles
(NGV) that could replace the current petroleum diesel engines and the business as usual (BaU) scenario.
Keywords: Transportation, Construction, Environmental Impacts, Materials
1. Introduction
Globally the construction industry is a major contributor
to socio-economic development and also a major user of
energy and natural resources. The construction industry
consumes 40% of the materials entering the global e-
conomy and generates 40% - 50% of the global output of
greenhouse gases and the agents of acid rain [1].
The energy used by the building sector can be grouped
into two categories. First, the embodied energy, or indi-
rect energy used to 1) Extract raw materials; 2) The pro-
duction of materials or components; 3) Transportation;
and 4) Construction. Second is the direct energy use dur-
ing the utilization of th e buildin g. In the UK, for example,
the embodied energy accounts for approximately 5% -
6% of the total, compared with 50% used for heating and
the remaining 44% for cooling, water heating, lighting,
power and other appliances. Different research has men-
tioned that energy uses during utilization can be seven
times greater than during the construction and the mate-
rial production ph ase [2-4]. Studies carried out in the UK
[5] and Indonesia [6,7] have calculated the embodied
energy and CO2 emissions for the main materials used in
the buildings (including transportation). For example,
UK timber emits 0.1 kg CO2/kg of product and utilizes
5.2 MJ/kg of product, corresponding to 0.05 kg CO2/kg
and 0.8 MJ/kg of energy for the case of Indonesia. Glass
and aluminium in the UK emits less CO2 and utilizes
more energy than in Indonesia, and for the case of con-
crete the UK emits more CO2 and utilizes more than half
more energy compared to that produced in Indonesia.
These studies also concluded that the lower the embodied
and operational energy used in the bu ilding, the lower th e
carbon dioxide (CO2) that is produced.
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on Construction Sector153
Transportation itself is responsible for 27% of Indone-
sia’s total emissions in 2006, making it the second larg est
CO2 emitter, after industry, and is predicted to become
the largest source by 2030 [8]. Five to ten percent of the
overall country’s emissions relate directly or indirectly to
transportation in the building sector (calculated from the
GDP and construction sector in th e country) [9].
The Indonesian Ministry of the Environment predicts
that by 2015 the amount of CO2 emitted will increase to
up to 3.5 million tons/year compare to 957,000 tons in
1998. SO2 emissions by that date will also increase to up
to 2.4 times their present rate (4900 tons/year) and PM10
will rise to more than 2.7 times the curren t level of 6300
tons/year [10]. These increases will result mainly from an
increase in the consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel.
The building related industry, and especially the trans-
port of materials using diesel engines contributes most of
the GWP (Global Warming Potential) of Indonesia, and
is also responsible for the acidification of certain areas.
On top of the substances mentioned above, the transpor-
tation sector also emits other hazardous substances, such
as lead, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, chrome, and other
hazardous air pollutants [10].
Biofuels, which are alternative fuels that can replace
diesel, have been increasing in importance in recent
times, and although they can have positive benefits, they
can also negatively affect land use, contribute to defor-
estation, and influence food production. The following
figure shows the percentage increase in the price of sev-
eral food stocks resulting from the development of the
first generation of biofuels. The comparison shows dif-
ferent scenarios developed by the International Institute
for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) [11] using the
future projection of agriculture production by the Inter-
national Energy Agency (IEA) and also shows a refer-
ence scenario, which assumes that biofuels feedstock
demand is kept constant after 2008. The result shows that
there is a real potential for biofuels to compete with food
production. One of their scenarios (TAR-VI) for 2020
assumes that the second generation biofuels will be
commercially available in 2015 and the deployment will
be gradual, and that the mandatory, voluntary or in-
dicative targets for biofuels use announced by major de-
veloped and developing countries will be implemented
by 2020 (as projected by IEA in its WEO 2008). This
scenario results in a 50 percent increase in coarse grain
price, 30 percent increase of wheat and other food (non
rice, wheat, protein feed and grains) and 12 percent in-
crease in the price of rice. Therefore it is important to
analyze the real environmental and socio-economical
impact of biofuels as well as the cost. Another alternative
fuels have less environmental impact (in terms of green-
house gas emissions) are natural gas. Worldwide the
growth in the number of natural gas vehicles (NGV) has
been remarkable, around 30% on average since 2000,
with Asian nations being responsible for more than 53%
of this growth [12].
For buildings, the transporting of construction materi-
als from quarry to site or from factory to site are impor-
tant parts of the construction process. Environmental
analyses of the impact of transportation systems on the
environment from the cradle to the grave are rare [13]
especially when they are related to the construction sec-
tor. One study which has been carried out for transporta-
tion in the construc tion sector compares the use of diesel
fuel and biodiesel in cement mixers using portable emis-
sion measurement systems shows no significant change
in CO2 and NO but a significant decrease in CO, hydro-
carbon and PM emissions [14]. (Life Cycle Assessment
based research for transportation and construction done
by Huang in China [15] shows that the higher the engine
capacity the lower the CO and NMVOC released into the
The present paper will assess the environmental bur-
den from transportation as part of the construction proc-
ess. It will include material flows from quarry to site, and
also show some future prediction on how the use of al-
ternative fuels such as biodiesels and natural gas vehicle
(NGV) would impact the environmental burden of con-
struction. The economic analysis will also include meas-
uring the potential for replacing the current oil based
machines with NGV by using a learning curve analysis.
However this paper will only concern itself with trans-
portation related to the build ing sector, leaving the rest of
the transportation sector as a subject for futur e research.
2. Methodology
The present research used Life Cycle Analysis tools to
assess the potential impact on the environment of the
transportation activities of the building sector in Indone-
sia. The life cycle assessment method considers the proc-
ess analysis and combination between primary and sec-
ondary databases. There were two types of data used in
the study. The primary data was obtained by direct meas-
urement from selected factories or by questioning rele-
vant individuals in each of the factories. The secondary
database was mostly taken from GEMIS 4.4 (Global
Emission Model for Integrated Systems) a comprehen-
sive life cycle database, which covers processes for en-
ergy (fossil, nuclear, renewable), materials (metals, min-
erals, food, plastics, etc), and transport (person and
freight), as well as recycling and waste treatment proc-
esses [16]. Figure 1 shows the boundar ies of th e resear ch ,
which considers all asp ects of the transportation.
The functional unit of hauling per kilogram product in
ilometer distance basis has been used; the direct meas k
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. LCE
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on Construction Sector
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. LCE
Figure 1. Framework of research on transportation influence as part of the overall construction processes.
urement as well as interview had been delivered in the
quarry, factories (and or small industries), construction
site as well as the retailing process of the products. The
collected information included as the amount of goods
that can be produced in a certain time, type of vehicles
used, the efficiency of the vehicles, number of vehicles
(approximate number on the road), type of fuel, year
when each vehicle was produced, number of vehicles
used (vehicle used in the construction sector), types of
the roads, the efficiency of the packaging (in order to
find the average amount of product that could be deliv-
ered) and any other data related to the transportation
process, includes the transportation within the compound
(in case of the large industrial compounds such as cement
and gypsum plants). The secondary data contained in-
formation such as the emission from each type of the
combustion process of the fuel, which was obtained by
using GEMIS 4.4.
3. Result and Discussion
Glass, concrete roofs, aluminium, cement and gypsum
accounted for the largest emissions per kg of each mate-
rial compared to other materials in the buildings. Factors
relating to the level of emissions in transporting these
materials include the type of vehicle, efficiency of the
vehicle, distance from the quarry to factory, factory to
storage and storage to construction sites. The present
work also takes into account the transportation of the
secondary production materials, such as concrete blocks
and roofs, which also need cement and sand.
Figure 2 shows that an accumulated of 0.547 kg CO2
eq/kg (100 years impact) occurs in one year from the
transporting the building materials. An accumulated of
0.00146 k g SO2 eq/kg products, the impact would be the
increases of acid rain potential regionally, and 0.00092
kg particulates/kg products, will increase the potential of
human toxic reactions (as these particulates affect human
health through the respirator y syste m).
Emission from transporting glass, concrete roofs and
aluminium are higher than for other materials, as the raw
materials have to be taken further than in the other cases.
The alumina for instance is currently imported from Aus-
tralia, and silica in this case is transported by sea, which
emits up to 3 times more SO2 than road transport and 6
times more than railways [17]. For primary production
materials such as sand and wood, the emissions from
transportation occur mainly between the quarry and the
temporary storage. For the case of wood, sea transporta-
tion is used to carry it from wild forests to the construc-
tion sites or storage. For the case of sand, most of the
quarries are located in rural areas while the majority of
he construction sites are in cities, explaining the sub- t
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on Construction Sector155
Figure 2. Main emission from transportation sector in some of the building materials (kg emission/kg products).
stantial emissions for transporting this material. Cement,
which has the highest embodied energy during produc-
tion, accounts for far less emissions in terms of transpor-
tation, as the production plants are typically located
nearby quarries (gypsum and clay), as is the case with
3.1. Scenarios for Future Transportation System
The utilization of biofuels as well as NGV for transp orta-
tion shows a promising future. As the demand for trans-
portation in the construction sector increases, an increase
in the usage of fuel types which have lower emissions
will also be beneficial to the environment. However, the
problem with natural gas is the cost in modifying the
engine, which can be con si de rabl e .
Biodiesel is a fuel made by a chemical reaction be-
tween alcohol and vegetable oil, and most of the bio-
diesel used today in Indonesia is made from CPO (Crude
Palm Oil). It is then blended with petroleum diesel in
ratios of five per cent (B5), ten percent (B10) or pure
(100%, or B100). These alternative fuels can be used
with existing eng ines with little or no modification to the
engine or the fuel system [18].
The number of non-passengers vehicles in the sector
reached 549,708 in 2009 (baseline). The amount of CO2
eq in the sector reached 2.9 million tons of CO2 eq
(based on the number of construction sector related vehi-
cles [19] and the total CO2 eq in the transportation sector
in Indonesia calculated from [8]. The average distance
for hauling material in 2008 was 233.2 km and the aver-
age amount of CO2 eq per ton of product was 2.54 × 10–1
kg. By using Equation 1, the amount of CO2 eq in a cer-
tain year can be calculated, and it is also possible to es-
timate future emissions,
2 (n)()()2()
 n
TOT CO2 eq(n) is the total CO2 eq emissions from ve-
hicles in the selected sector in a certain year of (n), VEH(n)
to the number of vehicles in year (n), the AVG.VEH(n)
reflects the average distance (km) of the vehicles in year
(n) and the AVG.CO2(n) is the average amount of CO2 eq
in a certain year per ton of product.
A total of four different scenarios were developed. The
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. LCE
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on Construction Sector
first one was the BAU (business as usual) scenario, with
information mainly based on current data from the Indo-
nesian statistical bureau [19] and the predictions and as-
sumptions developed by Purnomo [8]. The second is the
JCL (Jatropha Curcas L) scenario, which was based on
information on an assessment using LCA (Life Cycle
Assessment) approach [20]. The third scenario was the
PME (Palm Methyl Ester) or palm oil based assessment
scenario, which also includes the cultivation process up
to the use phase of the fuel [21]. The fourth scenario is
the NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle) scenario, were the in-
formation regarding CO2 eq emissions were based on
information from the International Natural Gas Vehicles
The reduction in CO2 emissions from JCL compared
to petrol diesel is significant [20]. Almost 80 per cent of
CO2 reduction can be achieved through a perennial cul-
tivation system for jatropha, where the plant is allowed to
grow for 20 years (instead of cutting it down each year),
as it requires less energy and fertilizer during the cultiv a-
tion and plantation processes. In comparison, the use of
PME resulted in 79.5 per cent less CO2 emissions than
diesel [21] and the utilization of natural gas would also
result in 18 percent less CO2 eq emissions [12].
The scenarios assume that the number of vehicles us-
ing alternatives fuels will only start to ch ange from 2013,
and increase by 5 percent each year up to 2025. The
number of trucks has been estimated to increase from 5.8
million to 17.6 million by 2025 [19], and this increase in
truck usage will result in a d ecrease in the cost of install-
ing NGV systems due to the “technology learning curve”,
as shown in Figure 3. This in turn will lower the barriers
in the uptake of NGV, as cost can be a significant barrier
for business to switch from regular fuel to NGV. By us-
ing this learning curve, the estimated cost of NGV could
be as low as US $2700 by 2025, and then steadily con-
tinue to drop in price up to 2040, costing on average
around US $2600 compared to US $3000 at present. The
infrastructure cost for all of these scenarios however is
not included.
Figure 4 shows the result of the future CO2 emissions
based on each of the transportation growth scenarios. The
figure expained th at the CO2 potential emission reduction
is the highest when all non-passenger transportation sys-
tem (including industrial sector) change to PME bio-
diesel, and would account for only 1.6% of the overall
CO2 emission from all the transportation sector in the
country (compare to 11% if there are no changes). The
transportation related buildings sector will also be af-
fected, and up to 20 - 60 million tons CO2 could be
eliminated. The overall impact analysis of biodiesel
should also be considered, since production of biodiesel
is not entirely without environmentally problems, which
can have up to double the impact potential during pro-
duction compared to regular diesel fuel, especially in
terms of the acidification and eutrophication potential
[22]. However, when considering the cost of NGV vehi-
cles, the cost of changing vehicle from diesel fuel to
NGV should also be taken into account, and this would
amount up to US $3000 extra for each vehicle, apart
from the cost of adapting petrol stations to the storage of
natural gas.
Figure 3. Current and predicted (t CO2 eq/t product) BAU and scenarios, includes NGV installation cost estimation (US $).
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. LCE
Transportation’s Impact Assessment on Construction Sector157
Figure 4. 2025 net CO2 emission (ton) from transportation
sector in Indonesia.
4. Conclusions
Transportation emissions in the buildings sector should
be given serious consideration in order to reduce green-
house gas production in Indonesia. The environmental
impact assessment carried out showed that building ma-
terials accounted approximately for 0.53 kg of CO2 per
kg of building material products.
A potential reduction in future greenhouse gas emis-
sions, and particularly CO2 in the transportation related
building sector, could come from the introduction of a
shift in the engine (case of NGV) or fuel type (case of
Biodiesel). Replacing the current gasoline vehicles with
NGV ones will reduce the potential CO2 emissions by
122,000 ton CO2/tons product in 2025 and 375,000 in
2040. Replacing the current fuel with biodiesel from jat-
ropha would reduce CO2 emissions by up 126,000 ton
CO2/tons product in 2025 and 388 in 2040. By replacing
diesel fuel with PME 28,600 ton CO2/tons product can be
eliminated in 2025 and 87,800 ton CO2/tons product
compared with the BAU scenario.
With regards to the cost the use of biodiesel is more
appealing than NGV, however since the comparison
should also take into account the overall environmental
performance, biodiesel has the disadvantage of having a
higher acidification and eutrophication potential com-
pared to diesel fuel. Another disadvantage of biodiesel is
the change of land use and the performance of its net
GHG emission as predicted by IIASA [11]. Although
NGV causes less acidification and eutrophication com-
pared to biodiesel, its higher GWP and the cost of adapt-
ing the infrastructure are a significant problem for the
development of this technology, which also suffers from
the fact of being a non-renewable resource.
It is not easy to decide which should be the future fuel
of preference for the transportation sector, especially
when the overall impact to th e enviro n ment as well as the
cost benefit is taken into account. However, the ultimate
decision should be taken by considering the implications
of all the technologies and the lo cal potential of each one
rather than nation al or regional level adjustment.
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