Life Cycle Assessment Connections with Sustainability by xps54377


									Life Cycle Assessment (LCA):
      Connections with

         Scott Matthews
      Green Design Institute
 •   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
•   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

         Mining          Manuf.          Operation       Disposal

  Stages of the Product Life Cycle
        Inputs                                                             Outputs

                                                                           Atmospheric Emissions
                            Raw Materials Acquisition
                                                                           Waterborne Wastes
Raw Materials
                                                                           Solid Wastes
                           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
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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