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Visualizing greenhouse gas emissions from construction activities

Leila Hajibabai (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA)
Zeeshan Aziz (School of Built Environment, University of Salford, Manchester, UK)
Feniosky Peña‐Mora (School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




Construction activities, particularly related to transportation, have a considerable impact on the environment and air quality. This paper aims to present a geographic information systems (GIS) and computer‐aided design (CAD)‐based approach for visualizing, communicating and analysing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from construction activities.


A methodology using GIS is developed to graphically represent spatial aspects of construction. The approach adopted involves use of a 3D model developed in CAD environment, which was synchronized with a construction schedule stored in Excel spreadsheets. GIS environment is used to link spatial and scheduling information relevant to GHG emissions from construction activities. A baseline was created to enable effective monitoring of construction emissions.


The presented GIS model has the potential to enhance visualisation of distribution and dynamic variations of GHG emissions and could help stakeholders better analyse and understand how construction activities impact the environment.


This paper presents a novel method of graphically presenting GHG and other hazardous air emissions from construction activities using a GIS‐based approach. The paper presents the result of comparing the 3D surface representation of simulated estimated and actual construction emissions to show the impact of construction activities on the environment to support the engineering analysis and decision‐making process.



Hajibabai, L., Aziz, Z. and Peña‐Mora, F. (2011), "Visualizing greenhouse gas emissions from construction activities", Construction Innovation, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 356-370.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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