Life Cycle Assessment Connections with Sustainability by xps54377

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									Life Cycle Assessment (LCA):
      Connections with
        Sustainability

         Scott Matthews
      Green Design Institute
Agenda
 •   Pre-Assessment
 •   Sustainability‟s Place in LCA
 •   Intro to LCA
Links to Sustainability
  •   This course is 3rd of 4th courses in CEE
      “Sustainability” sequence
      – Intro to Sustainable Engineering (Fall)
      – Industrial Ecology (Fall)
      – LCA (Spring)
      – Case Studies in Sust. Engineering (Spring)
  •   Most of you have taken first 1-2 courses
  •   All of you are prepared for this course
Why LCA?
 •   In “meeting needs of present without
     compromising our ability to meet future
     needs”, we are faced with some obstacles
     –   Corporate and social pressures
     –   Governmental/regulatory barriers
     –   Uncertain objectives/goals
     –   Lack of tools to measure our progress
 •   Sometimes our intuition is not a sufficient
     framework for analysis
    Definitions
•   A life cycle of a product (a.k.a. “cradle to grave”)
    begins with raw materials production and extends
    to manufacture, use, transport, and disposition
•   LCA is “a technique for assessing the
    environmental aspects and potential impacts
    associated with a product, process, or system by”:
     – Setting goals and scope of study
     – Compiling an inventory of inputs / outputs
     – Evaluating potential impacts of those
     – Interpreting result of the inventory and impact
       assessment in context of study objectives
     – Suggesting improvements for future benefit
What is LCA?
  •   LCA is not a cure-all for our
      environmental problems
  •   LCA is a way of structuring/organizing
      the relevant parts of the life cycle
  •   It is a tool to track performance
Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)
•   A concept and methodology to evaluate the environmental effects of
    a product or activity holistically, by analyzing the whole life cycle of a
    particular product, process, or activity (U.S. EPA, 1993).
•   LCA studies analyze the environmental aspects and potential
    impacts throughout a product's life cycle (e.g., cradle-to-grave) from
    raw material acquisition through production, use and disposal (ISO).
        Waste            Waste            Waste          Waste

                                         Use/
         Mining          Manuf.          Operation       Disposal

                             Recycling
                                             Reuse
                             Reuse
  Stages of the Product Life Cycle
        Inputs                                                             Outputs

                                                                           Atmospheric Emissions
                            Raw Materials Acquisition
                                                                           Waterborne Wastes
Raw Materials
                                   Manufacturing
                                                                           Solid Wastes
                             Use/Reuse/Maintenance
     Energy
                                                                           Coproducts
                           Recycle/Waste Management
                                                                           Other Releases

                 System Boundary                        Source: U.S. EPA
Quick Example
 •   In early 1990s, California had a policy goal of
     reducing emissions of air pollution by
     encouraging the adoption of „zero emission
     vehicles (ZEVs)‟ into 2% of the fleet by year
     1998 (10% in 2003).
     – These vehicles were fully battery-powered
     – These vehicles had no tailpipes
 •   A study in Science by Lave et al (1995)
     suggested this policy would not achieve its
     intended goals
 •   What were the problems?
Example - Answers
 •   Cars fully powered by batteries
     – Batteries of this type need to be recharged
     – Recharging happens with electricity
     – Electricity production has air emissions!
 •   Also - at the time, batteries were lead-acid
     – Large batteries for battery-only power
     – Large amounts of lead needed (with significant
       manufacture/recycling emissions of lead)
     – More lead released than without ZEVs!
 •   A Life Cycle Assessment framework if
     adopted would have pointed out these issues.
History of LCA
•   Note: Life Cycle Cost Analysis is a subset
    – Cost focused: big factor in infrastructure management
•   Initial LCA work was focused on energy
•   1969 - first multi-criteria study for Coca-Cola
    –   Choice between glass and plastic for container
    –   Choice between internal / external container production
    –   End of life options (recycling or one-way)
    –   Result: plastic bottle was best, contrary to expectations.
    –   Study was never published
    –   Questions of validity then occurred
    –   Led to calls by scientific community for a standardisation
        process
History (cont.)
  •   Early 1990s: US Environmental Protection
      Agency (EPA), Society for Environmental
      Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), etc
  •   1997-2000: International Organization for
      Standardization (ISO) 14040 documents
      – A piece of global “EMS standard”
      – First international LCA „standard‟
  •   Look over these documents on web site!
Current State of the Art
  •   Most “LCAs” end at the inventory stage
  •   These studies yield „results‟ that are a laundry
      list of emissions, energy, etc.
  •   The impact assessment stage is still being
      developed, validated, and tested globally
  •   Given that, how do we currently translate
      these inventories into a practical answer?
Next Class Assignment
  •   Read First 2 ISO Framework
      documents (PDFs) posted on website
      – Note #1 is very similar to reading from EPA
        (for today) - probably can skim.
      – #2 is fairly different

								
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