Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability: TechConnect Briefs 2016Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability TechConnect Briefs 2016

Materials for Green Building Chapter 9

Use life cycle assessment and risk assessment tools to oversee the development of nanomaterial in building industry

M. Hu
Catholic University of America, United States

pp. 287 - 289

Keywords: life cycle assessment, risk assessment, solar cell, building

While nanotechnologies offer tremendous benefits for society, they may also pose significant risks. The same properties that make nanomaterial’s promising-those that make them behave quite differently from bulk forms of the same materials-could lead to negative health and environmental consequences. Nano materials have already been applied and integrated into variety building materials and will have long-term effect to environment and immediate impact on users. This paper aims to investigate how risks from emerging nanotechnologies can be assessed and managed through life-cycle perspective as they are created, used, recycled and discarded. By setting up a comprehensive monitoring framework, it will be possible to identify the key gaps that must be addressed if risks to be managed effectively. This research will use silicon-based solar cells as the research object. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Risk Assessment (RA) are tools that will be used to create the framework as first step. Scaling up the framework from the lab scale and nanowire growth to a future commercial scale of the nanowire-based photovoltaic systems and assessment of the environmental and human health impacts, in terms of toxicity, is the second step of this research.