Variants edit Cradle-to-grave edit Cradle-to-grave is the full Life cycle Assessment from resource extraction cradle to use phase and disposal phase grave. For example, trees produce paper, which can be recycled into low-energy production cellulose (fiberised paper) insulation, then used as an energy-saving device in the ceiling of a home for 40 years, saving 2,000 times the fossil-fuel energy used in its production. After 40 years the cellulose fibers are replaced and the old fibers are disposed of, possibly incinerated. All inputs and outputs are considered for all the phases of the life cycle. Cradle-to-gate edit Cradle-to-gate is an assessment of a partial product life cycle from resource extraction ( cradle ) to the factory gate (i.e., before it is transported to the consumer). The use phase and disposal phase of the product are omitted in this case. Cradle-to-gate assessments are sometimes the basis for environmental product declarations (EPD) termed business-to-business edps. 24 One of the significant uses of the cradle-to-gate approach compiles the life cycle inventory (LCI) using cradle-to-gate.
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If an lcas conclusions are to be valid, the data must be recent; however, the data-gathering process takes time. If a product and its related processes have not undergone significant revisions since the last lca data was collected, data validity is not a problem. However, consumer electronics such as cell phones can be redesigned as often as every 9 to 12 months, 23 creating a need for ongoing data collection. The life cycle considered usually consists of a number of stages including: materials extraction, processing and manufacturing, product use, and product disposal. If the most environmentally harmful of these stages can be determined, then impact on the environment can be efficiently reduced by focusing on making changes for that particular phase. For example, the most energy-intensive life phase of an airplane or car is during use due to fuel consumption. One of the most effective ways to increase fuel efficiency is to decrease vehicle weight, and thus, car and airplane manufacturers can decrease environmental impact in a significant way by replacing heavier materials with lighter ones such as aluminium or carbon fiber-reinforced elements. The reduction during the use phase should be more than enough to balance additional raw material or manufacturing cost. Data sources first are typically large databases, it is not appropriate to compare two options if different data sources have been used to source the data. Data sources include: soca eugeos' 15804-ia needs ecoinvent psilca esu world food gabi elcd social Hotspots ProBas bioenergiedat Agribalyse usda ökobaudat Agri-footprint Comprehensive environmental Data Archive (ceda) Calculations for impact can then be done by hand, but it is more usual to streamline the process. This can range from a simple spreadsheet, where the user enters the data manually to a fully automated program, where the user is not aware of the source data.
19 lca has also been used to assess the environmental impacts of pavement maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation activities. Data analysis edit a life cycle analysis is only as valid as its data ; therefore, it is crucial that data used for the completion of a life cycle analysis are accurate and current. When comparing different life cycle analyses with one another, it is crucial that equivalent data are available for both products or processes in question. If one product has a much higher availability of data, it cannot be justly compared to another product which has less detailed data. 21 There are two basic types of lca data unit process data and environmental input-output data (eio where the latter is based on national economic input-output data. 22 Unit process data are derived from direct surveys of companies or plants producing the product of interest, carried out at writing a unit process level defined by the system boundaries for the study. Data validity is an ongoing concern for life cycle analyses. Due to globalization and the rapid pace of research and development, new materials and manufacturing methods are continually being introduced to the market. This makes it both very important and very difficult to use up-to-date information when performing an lca.
Lca will be continuously integrated into the built environment as tools such as the european write enslic building project guidelines for buildings or developed and implemented, which provide practitioners guidance on methods to implement lci data into the planning and design process. 16 Major corporations all over the world are either undertaking lca in house or commissioning studies, while governments support business the development of national databases to support lca. Of particular note is the growing use of lca for iso type iii labels called Environmental Product Declarations, defined as "quantified environmental data for a product with pre-set categories of parameters based on the iso 14040 series of standards, but not excluding additional environmental information". 17 18 These third-party certified lca-based labels provide an increasingly important basis for assessing the relative environmental merits of competing products. Third-party certification plays a major role in today's industry. Independent certification can show a company's dedication to safer and environmental friendlier products to customers and ngos. Lca also has major roles in environmental impact assessment, integrated waste management and pollution studies. A recent study evaluated the lca of a laboratory scale plant for oxygen enriched air production coupled with its economic evaluation in an holistic eco-design standpoint.
The results from the inventory analysis and impact assessment are summarized during the interpretation phase. The outcome of the interpretation phase is a set of conclusions and recommendations for the study. According to iso 14040:2006, the interpretation should include: identification of significant issues based on the results of the lci and lcia phases of an lca; evaluation of the study considering completeness, sensitivity and consistency checks; and conclusions, limitations and recommendations. A key purpose of performing life cycle interpretation is to determine the level of confidence in the final results and communicate them in a fair, complete, and accurate manner. Interpreting the results of an lca is not as simple as "3 is better than 2, therefore Alternative a is the best choice"! Interpreting the results of an lca starts with understanding the accuracy of the results, and ensuring they meet the goal of the study. This is accomplished by identifying the data elements that contribute significantly to each impact category, evaluating the sensitivity of these significant data elements, assessing the completeness and consistency of the study, and drawing conclusions and recommendations based on a clear understanding of how the lca. Reference test edit more specifically, the best alternative is the one that the lca shows to have the least cradle-to-grave environmental negative impact on land, sea, and air resources. 14 lca uses edit based on a survey of lca practitioners carried out in 2006 15 lca is mostly used to support business strategy (18) and r d (18 as input to product or process design (15 in education (13) and for labeling or product.
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However, in addition to the above mandatory lcia steps, other optional lcia elements normalization, grouping, and weighting may be conducted depending on the goal and scope of the lca study. In normalization, the results of the impact categories from the study are usually compared with the total impacts in the region of interest, the. Grouping consists of sorting and possibly ranking the impact categories. During frank weighting, the different environmental impacts are weighted relative to each other so that they can then be summed to get a single number for the total environmental impact. Iso 14044:2006 generally advises against weighting, stating that weighting, shall not be used in lca studies intended to be used in comparative assertions intended to be disclosed to the public. This advice is often ignored, resulting in comparisons that can reflect a high degree of subjectivity as a result of weighting.
Citation needed life cycle impacts can also be categorized under the several phases of the development, production, use, and disposal of a product. Broadly speaking, these impacts can be divided into "First Impacts 13 use qut impacts, and end of life impacts. "First Impacts" include extraction of raw materials, manufacturing (conversion of raw materials into a product transportation of the product to a market or site, construction/installation, and the beginning of the use or occupancy. Use impacts include physical impacts of operating the product or facility (such as energy, water, etc. maintenance, renovation and repairs (required to continue to use the product or facility). End of life impacts include demolition and processing of waste or recyclable materials. Interpretation edit life cycle Interpretation is a systematic technique to identify, quantify, check, and evaluate information from the results of the life cycle inventory and/or the life cycle impact assessment.
At an industry level, care has to be taken to ensure that questionnaires are completed by a representative sample of producers, leaning toward neither the best nor the worst, and fully representing any regional differences due to energy use, material sourcing or other factors. The questionnaires cover the full range of inputs and outputs, typically aiming to account for 99 of the mass of a product, 99 of the energy used in its production and any environmentally sensitive flows, even if they fall within the 1 level of inputs. One area where data access is likely to be difficult is flows from the technosphere. The technosphere is more simply defined as the man-made world. Considered by geologists as secondary resources, these resources are in theory 100 recyclable; however, in a practical sense, the primary goal is salvage. 12 For an lci, these technosphere products (supply chain products) are those that have been produced by man and unfortunately those completing a questionnaire about a process which uses a man-made product as a means to an end will be unable to specify how much.
Typically, they will not have access to data concerning inputs and outputs for previous production processes of the product. The entity undertaking the lca must then turn to secondary sources if it does not already have that data from its own previous studies. National databases or data sets that come with lca-practitioner tools, or that can be readily accessed, are the usual sources for that information. Care must then be taken to ensure that the secondary data source properly reflects regional or national conditions. Lci methods edit Process lca economic Input Output lca hybrid Approach Life cycle impact assessment edit Inventory analysis is followed by impact assessment. This phase of lca is aimed at evaluating the significance of potential environmental impacts based on the lci flow results. Classical life cycle impact assessment (lcia) consists of the following mandatory elements: selection of impact categories, category indicators, and characterization models; the classification stage, where the inventory parameters are sorted and assigned to specific impact categories; and impact measurement, where the categorized lci flows are. In many lcas, characterization concludes the lcia analysis; this is also the last compulsory stage according to iso 14044:2006.
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To develop the inventory, a flow model of the technical system is constructed using data on inputs and outputs. The flow model is typically illustrated with a flow chart that includes the activities that are going to be assessed in the relevant supply chain and gives a clear real picture of the technical system boundaries. The input and output data needed for plan the construction of the model are collected for all activities within the system boundary, including from the supply chain (referred to as inputs from the technosphere). The data must be related to the functional unit defined in the goal and scope definition. Data can be presented in tables and some interpretations can be made already at this stage. The results of the inventory is an lci which provides information about all inputs and outputs in the form of elementary flow to and from the environment from all the unit processes involved in the study. Inventory flows can number in the hundreds depending on the system boundary. For product lcas at either the generic (i.e., representative industry averages) or brand-specific level, that data is typically collected through survey questionnaires.
Further, the functional unit is an important basis that enables alternative goods, or leather services, to be compared and analyzed. 10 so to explain this a functional system which is inputs, processes and outputs contains a functional unit, that fulfills a function, for example paint is covering a wall, making a functional unit of 1m covered for 10 years. The functional flow would be the items necessary for that function, so this would be a brush, tin of paint and the paint itself. The system boundaries ; which are delimitations of which processes that should be included in the analysis of a product system. 11 any assumptions and limitations ; the allocation methods used to partition the environmental load of a process when several products or functions share the same process; allocation is commonly dealt with in one of three ways: system expansion, substitution and partition. Doing this is not easy and different methods may give different results and Life cycle inventory edit This is an example of a life-cycle inventory (LCI) diagram Life cycle Inventory (LCI) analysis involves creating an inventory of flows from and to nature for a product. Inventory flows include inputs of water, energy, and raw materials, and releases to air, land, and water.
and the ghg protocol Life cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard. 4 6 7 four main phases edit Illustration of lca phases According to the iso standards, a life cycle Assessment is carried out in four distinct phases as illustrated in the figure shown to the right. The phases are often interdependent in that the results of one phase will inform how other phases are completed. Goal and scope edit An lca starts with an explicit statement of the goal and scope of the study, which sets out the context of the study and explains how and to whom the results are to be communicated. This is a key step and the iso standards require that the goal and scope of an lca be clearly defined and consistent with the intended application. The goal and scope document therefore includes technical details that guide subsequent work: the functional unit, which defines what precisely is being studied and quantifies the service delivered by the product system, providing a reference to which the inputs and outputs can be related.
3, this information is used to improve processes, support policy and provide a sound basis for informed decisions. 4, the term life cycle refers to the notion that a fair, holistic assessment requires the assessment of raw-material production, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal including all intervening transportation steps necessary or caused by the product's existence. There are two main types of lca. Attributional lcas seek to establish (or attribute) the burdens associated with the production and use of a product, or with a specific service or process, at a point in time (typically the recent past). Consequential lcas seek to identify the environmental consequences of a decision or a proposed change in a system under study (oriented to the future which means that market and economic implications of a decision may have to be taken into account. Social lca is under development 5 as a different approach to life cycle thinking intended to assess social implications or potential impacts. Social lca should presentation be considered as an approach that is complementary to environmental lca.
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For other uses, see. Cradle to the grave (disambiguation). This article is about the environment impacts of products. For the ultimate cost of business decisions, see. Life cycle Assessment overview, life-cycle assessment lca, also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis ) 1 is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from raw material extraction through materials processing, pdf manufacture, distribution, use, repair. Designers use this process to help critique their products. Lcas can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by: Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases; evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases; Interpreting the results to help make a more informed decision. Goals and purpose edit, the goal of lca is to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services by quantifying all inputs and outputs of material flows and assessing how these material flows affect the environment.