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Enhancing characterization of water use practices in cement manufacturing and related construction sectors

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Title: Enhancing characterization of water use practices in cement manufacturing and related construction sectors
Author: Bezerra, Stella Maris da Cruz
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Khosrow, FarahbakhshLee, Hung
Abstract: This work presents an investigation into water use patterns for cement manufacturing, ready-mixed concrete production, and buildings under construction and after occupation. Cement is the main component in making concrete, which is the most widely used structural building material in the world, and therefore plays an important role in global water use in the construction sector. The data collection methodology included review of refereed journals, analysis of published Corporate Social Responsibility Reports from worldwide cement companies, as well as case studies conducted in two cement plants (one in Brazil and one in Canada), thus incorporating real-world operating conditions. Analysis of water usage at ready-mixed concrete plants and buildings under construction and after occupation was also undertaken in Brazil. Water use at the two cement plants ranged from 250 to 2,000 litres per tonne of cement (compared to reported 147 to 3,500 L/tonne), indicating a wide range in water use patterns. Eleven stages of water use were identified for cement manufacturing, but accurate water use data could not be obtained for all these stages. Identifying and implementing water saving opportunities in cement manufacturing was hampered by a lack of reliable water use data. To address this, an approach was developed for categorizing levels of data reliability according to methods of data acquisition, and this approach was used to characterize the reliability of data compiled during this research. Reliability for the collected data in this study was then characterized to be between A+ to C-. The proposed data reliability approach can help improve data collection, reporting and decision-making around water conservation, both locally within manufacturing facilities and on jobsites, and at the level of governmental policy. This work therefore contributes to the field of water management by (a) shedding light on the lack of water usage data availability and reliability in the globally important sectors of cement manufacturing, concrete production, and buildings under construction and after occupation; (b) proposing an approach for improving the reliability of water usage data; (c) suggesting steps to improve knowledge of water usage in various sectors of construction industry; and (d) promoting best water management practices in this field.
Description: PhD dissertation
Date: 2014-07
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