A model to reduce earthmoving impacts
Meeting increasingly ambitious carbon regulations in the construction industry is particularly challenging for earthmoving operations due to the extensive use of heavy-duty diesel equipment. Better planning of operations and balancing of competing demands linked to environmental concerns, costs, and duration is needed. However, existing approaches (theoretical and practical) rarely address all of these demands simultaneously, and are often limited to parts of the process, such as earth allocation methods or equipment allocation methods based on practitioners’ past experience or goals. Thus, this study proposes a method that can integrate multiple planning techniques to maximize mitigation of project impacts cost-effectively, including the noted approaches together with others developed to facilitate effective decision-making. The model is adapted for planners and contractors to optimize mass flows and allocate earthmoving equipment configurations with respect to tradeoffs between duration, cost, CO2 emissions, and energy use. Three equipment allocation approaches are proposed and demonstrated in a case study. A rule-based approach that allocates equipment configurations according to hauling distances provided the best-performing approach in terms of costs, CO2 emissions, energy use and simplicity (which facilitates practical application at construction sites). The study also indicates that trucks are major contributors to earthmoving operations’ costs and environmental impacts.
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