Environmental and economical assessment of earth-retaining walls for design optimization

Al-Subari L., Yaqubi N. A., Selcukhan O., Ekinci A.

Environmental Geotechnics, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1680/jenge.21.00151
  • Journal Name: Environmental Geotechnics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 ICE Publishing: All rights reserved.The construction sector is one of the major contributors to global warming. This study aims to present a simplified method of evaluating the environmental impacts through the embodied energy (EE) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with earth-retaining walls (ERWs). The study considers a real case of slope movement caused fractures of a structure where four different types of ERWs were proposed to stabilise the slope. Moreover, an economical assessment of the selected ERWs is introduced. Recycled materials are also investigated as sustainable replacements of the natural materials. The results showed that concrete followed by steel production are the major contributors to CO2 emissions and have the highest embodied energy among other materials and stages by around 80% of the total amounts, regardless of the ERW design option. ERWs construction emits 13.5 to 19.5 tons of CO2 and consumes 130 to 175 GJ of energy while a reduction of 10-20% achieved by using recycled materials. In general, the pile wall is found to be the most environmentally friendly and economical option. Ultimately, the resulting CO2 emissions and EE of all the ERW alternatives was verified and found to be well-aligned with CO2 emissions and EE of the energy sources.