- 2 Components of LCA
- 4 Stages of LCA
- 1. Planning
- Statement of objectives
- Definition of the product and its alternatives (functional unit)
- Choice of system boundaries
- Choice of environmental parameters
- Choice of aggregation and evaluation method
- 2. Inventory Analysis
- 3. Evaluation
- 4. Interpretation
- Streamlined LCA
product life cycle
A product life cycle is the phases of a product’s life span from the origins of its material extraction through its end-of-life disposition.
- Material Acquisition
- Bulk Processing
- Manufacturing and Production
- Product Use
- Waste Treatment
Ideally material stays in the
technosphere. Much more efficient loop than going all the way to recycling or worse landfill and reclaiming.
life cycle assessment (LCA)
a systematic set of procedures for compiling and examining the inputs and outputs of materials and energy and the associated environmental impacts directly attributable to the functioning of a product thru its entire life cycle
Coca Cola was one of the first to do LCA in 1970s to evaluate beverage packaging
they found in the whole life cycle that plastic was less harmful than glass
2 Components of LCA
Inventory + Evaluation = LCA
- Describe which emissions will occur and which raw materials are used during the life of a product. This is usually referred to as the INVENTORY STEP (LCI)
- Assess what the impacts of these emissions and raw material depletions are. This is referred to as the EVALUATION STEP (LCIA)
4 Stages of LCA
- Planning — goals and scope
- Inventory Analysis — data collection
- Evaluation — impact assessment
- Interpretation — process improvements
evaluative toolbecomes a
generative toolthrough an
making iterative revisions to minimize impact revealed in LCA turns it into a generative design tool
Statement of objectives
Specify goals and scope of this assessment, eg full life cycle or maybe just production
Definition of the product and its alternatives (functional unit)
a predefined quantity of product or service used as a means of comparing the environmental performance of alternative like products and services
- length of service
Choice of system boundaries
The system boundaries determine which processes to be included in the LCA study. Defining system boundaries is partly based on a subjective choice, made during the Planning Stage, and would include all inputs and outputs of those processes defined within the study. As such these could include:
- Extraction of raw materials, and possibly, the production of intermediate feedstocks or the manufacture of equipment for that processing
- All material and energy flows of primary processes during material production and manufacturing
- All material and energy flows during the use of the product
- End of life disposition
Choice of environmental parameters
Choice of aggregation and evaluation method
2. Inventory Analysis
- Measurements, interviews, literature search, calculations, database search, qualified guessing.
- Computation of the inventory table
the process of identifying the relevant environmental impacts for a particular assessment. For example: global warming, acidification, eutrophication, etc.
the process of assigning LCI results to specific impact categories.
Since some LCI results may apply to more than one Impact category, you must determine which categories the data should apply and the manner in which to do the calculation.
the process of modeling LCI results within impact categories using science based conversion factors.
convert all of the pollutants into equivalents of a single chemistry, eg 1 kg CO2. CO2 is the standard measurer of climate change.
a technique for converting impact results with differing units into a common, unit-less format by dividing the value(s) by a selected reference quantity.
This process provides a frame of reference and increases the comparability of data among various impact categories.
According to ISO14040 rules, if the results of the LCA are intended to compare (competing) products and they are to be presented to the public, weighting is not allowed.
assigning subjective, value-based weighting factors to the different impact categories based on their perceived importance or relevance.
- Identify the underlying values of stakeholders
- Determine weights to place on impacts
- Apply weights to impact indicators
- Can calculate a Single Score
Mandatory ISO 14040/44 Steps
Find areas for improvement and feasibility of the product as a whole against design criteria.
- where did it come from?
- where does it go?
- what is its impact on the environment?
- how can it be improved?
- time consuming to produce
- results could vary widely based on boundary conditions
- difficult to compare environmental impacts
- identify potential environmental problems
- demonstrate prudent corporate behavior
- can differentiate product alternatives and give insight into new product concepts
- establish criteria for ecolabels
An easy-to-use instrument that enables designers to analyze a design solution and to select the most environmentally-responsive of the various options.
- Eco-it (Eco-Indicator 99)
- Sustainable Minds
- Results from SLCA’s are not intended for marketing purposes
- Likewise, results can not be used in the certification of an ecolabel
- The results should not be used to establish legislative guidelines
- It is not typically an accepted ISO14040 methodology