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Giulia Sonetti

on 2 May 2018

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Transcript of LCA_Intro

Life Cycle Assessment:
an overview

What for?
A method to evaluate
“Life Cycle Assessment is a process to evaluate the environmental burdens associated with a product, process, or activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment; to assess the impact of those energy and materials used and releases to the environment; and to identify and evaluate opportunities to affect environmental improvements. The assessment includes the entire life cycle of the product, process or activity, encompassing, extracting and processing raw materials; manufacturing, transportation and distribution; use, re-use, maintenance; recycling, and final disposal".
LCA - the definition
source: SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemestry), 1999
Raw material extraction
to factory
to site
Use and
What Makes Up LCA?
Environmental damage
(in EcoPt, CO2 emissions, EE)
United Nations World commission on Environment and Development (1987) Sustainable Development definition:
“… development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Ozone friendly
Industry is looking for ways to green their products and manufacturing processes. Individuals and Families are looking to green their homes and lifestyles.
How can you tell if something really is green?
What is currently happening to achieve this goal?
Being Green is Trendy . . . but
What Does Science Say?
Sustainability is not measured within a context of a product’s use, but across the entire life cycle of the product, from resources needed for production, the energy consumed in producing it, the product’s use and post-use. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool used to evaluate the potential environmental impact of a product, process or activity throughout this entire life cycle.
Product or project development and improvement
Strategic planning
Public policy making
Marketing and eco-declarations
LCA is the...
This establishes an environmental profile of the system.
“Compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle”.
ISO = International Organization for Standardization. Ensures that an LCA is completed in a certain way.
M, E =
Material and Energy inputs to process and distribution; W = Waste (gas, liquid, or solid) output from product, process, or distribution 
Material flow of product component

What is the function & functional unit?
Where are the boundaries?
What data do you need?
What assumptions are you making?
Are there any limitations?
Goal & Scope Definition
Inventory Analysis (LCI)
What is the purpose of the LCA and who is the audience?

Ways to reduce environmental impacts.
What recommendations can be made?
What conclusions can you draw from the study?
Impact Assessment (LCIA)
What are the environmental, social, and economic affects?
Wooden Pencil vs. Mechanical Pencil
Compare 2 writing utensils for classroom use.
Wooden Pencil
Product flow diagram
Wooden Pencil vs. Mechanical Pencil
Compare 2 writing utensils for classroom use.
Mechanical Pencil
Product flow diagram
Wooden Pencil vs. Mechanical Pencil
Functional unit
Service provided by a system
What it does!
Gives the function a number value
Allows comparison between products
Reference point
1 meter of writing


Items To Consider
What is needed to make the substance?
Time-sensitive = past 5 years

Geographical = does it match
the location from the goal?

Technology = best available
technology for process
Representativeness =
reflects population of

Consistency = matches the
Never Forget :
Reproducibility =
another person could find it
Data Collection
Life Cycle Inventory Analysis
Completeness: Covers all the areas outlined in the scope
Precision: The consistent reproducibility of a measurement
LCA in Action: Think About It!
Paper Plate vs. China (Plate You Wash & Reuse)
What is the function?
What is the functional unit?
What materials & resources are used?
What does it take to produce both?
What are the impacts to the environment?
Is there waste?
Does washing the China produce waste?
What types of data do you need?
How do you know which is better?
LCA in Action: Think About It!
Paper Plate vs. China (Plate You Wash & Reuse)
Data Analysis
Environmental Impact Categories
Gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation
Trap heat from the sun
Water vapor, CO2 , CH4 , ozone, NO2
Global Warming Potential
Value that shows harms to humans from chemicals
Consumption of non-living resources
Abiotic Depletion
Human Toxicity Potential
Land Use
How much land is needed
Increase in chemical nutrients containing nitrogen or phosphorus
land or water
overgrowth of plants
killing organisms at bottom of water
Water Use
caused by pollution from fuels & acid rain
low pH
Smog (Winter or Summer)
Energy Use
Solid Waste
Where Do We Go From Here?

Scientists can analyze a particular impact and focus on a solution
What is the purpose of all this data??
Industry & Individuals can take a closer look at how they can make a difference
Environmentally friendly
Sustainable products
Green Product
Environmentally Preferable
(electricity, materials, goods, services)
Scientists can make recommendations of choices that are less impactful
ISO 14040: Principles and Framework
ISO 14044: Requirements and Guidelines
What comes out of the system?

Dr Giulia Sonetti
BArch MArch(Hons) MSc PhD CArch
Polito Green Team Management / Research Assistant
Interuniversity Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning
Politecnico di Torino and Università di Torino
Viale Mattioli, 39 10125, Turin (Italy)

place your own definition here!
What for?
Full transcript