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Life Cycle Assessment Student Handbook

ISBN: 978-1-119-08355-9
320 pages
June 2015
Life Cycle Assessment Student Handbook (1119083559) cover image

Description

This student version of the popular bestseller, Life Cycle Assessment Handbook, is not a watered-down version of the original, but retains all of the important information and valuable lessons provided in the first book, along with helpful problems and solutions for the student learning about Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). 

As the last several decades have seen a dramatic rise in the application of LCA in decision making, the interest in the life cycle concept as an environmental management and sustainability tool continues to grow. The LCA Student Handbook offers a look at the role that life cycle information, in the hands of companies, governments and consumers, may have in improving the environmental performance of products and technologies. It concisely and clearly presents the various aspects of LCA in order to help the reader better understand the subject.

The international success of the sustainability paradigm needs the participation of many stakeholders, including citizens, corporations, academia, and NGOs.  The handbook links LCA and responsible decision making and how the life cycle concept is a critical element in environmental sustainability. It covers issues such as building capacity in developing countries and emerging economies so that they are more capable of harnessing the potential in LCA for sustainable development. Governments play a very important role with the leverage they have through procurement, regulation, international treaties, tax incentives, public outreach, and other policy tools.  This compilation of points to the clear trend for incorporating life cycle information into the design and development processes for products and policies, just as quality and safety concerns are now addressed throughout product design and development.

The Life Cycle Assessment Student Handbook is not just for students.  It is also a valuable resource for practitioners looking for a desktop reference on LCA or for any engineer, manager, or policy-maker wishing to learn about LCA. 
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment 1

References from the LCA Handbook 1

Aims of the Chapter 2

1.1 Purpose of the Student Handbook 2

1.2 Why LCA? 2

1.3 Evolution of Environmental toward Life Cycle Thinking 2

1.4 Examples of Environmental Impact Trade-Offs 7

1.5 LCA Methodology 11

1.6 Maintaining Transparency (Openness) 15

1.7 Conclusions 16

References 16

Chapter 1 Exercises 18

2 Goal and Scope Definition in Life Cycle Assessment 19

References from the LCA Handbook 19

Aims of the Chapter 20

2.1 Introduction 20

2.2 Components of a Well-Defined Study 22

2.2.1 System Function 23

2.2.2 Functional Unit 23

2.2.3 Defining the System Boundaries (Scoping) 28

2.2.4 Co-Product Allocation 29

2.2.5 Impact Assessment 29

2.3 Consequential LCA 30

2.4 Carbon Footprint versus LCA 30

2.5 Creating a Goal Statement 31

2.6 Preparing a Goal and Scope Document 34

References 35

Appendix: Hypothetical Example of a Comparative, Attributional Life Cycle Assessment to Support Government Decision Making 36

Chapter 2 Exercises 56

3 Life Cycle Inventory 61

References from the LCA Handbook 61

Aims of the Chapter 62

3.1 Introduction 62

3.2 Modeling Inputs and Outputs 63

3.3 Methodology Issues 64

3.3.1 Cut-Off Rules 64

3.3.2 Co-Product Allocation 66

3.3.3 Postconsumer Recycling 68

3.3.4 Converting Scrap 71

3.3.5 Water Use 72

3.3.6 Carbon Tracking Considerations 73

3.4 Data Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis 74

3.5 Databases and Data Sources 75

3.5.1 Private Industrial Data 77

3.5.2 Public Industrial Data 79

3.5.3 Dedicated LCI databases 79

3.5.4 Non-LCI Data 80

3.6 Collecting LCI Data 86

3.7 Reporting Life Cycle Inventory 86

3.8 Life Cycle Inventory Data Quality 89

3.9 Economic Input/Output (EIO) Data 92

3.10 Consequential LCA 93

3.11 LCA Software 94

3.11.1 Characteristics of LCA Software Systems 95

3.11.2 Web Tools versus Desktop Tools 95

3.11.3 Commercial Tools versus Freeware 110

3.11.4 Open Source versus Closed Source 111

3.11.5 General LCA Tools versus Specialized Tools versus Add-Ons 112

3.11.6 Two Basic LCA Software User Types and Their Needs 113

3.11.7 The LCA Software Market 114

3.11.8 The Main LCA Software Systems 115

References 117

Chapter 3 Exercises 136

4 Life Cycle Impact Assessment 137

References from the LCA Handbook 137

Aims of the Chapter 138

4.1 Introduction 138

4.2 Choice of Impact Models and Categories 142

4.3 Current LCIA Approaches 143

4.3.1 Stratospheric Ozone Depletion 144

4.3.2 Global Warming Potential 145

4.3.3 Nonrenewable Resource Depletion Potential 147

4.3.4 Acidification Potential 149

4.3.5 Eutrophication Potential 150

4.3.6 Energy 151

4.4 The Agri-Food Sector 152

4.4.1 Land Use 152

4.4.2 Water Use 154

LCIA Models and Tools 158

References 159

Chapter 4 Exercises 205

5 Normalization, Grouping and Weighting in Life Cycle Assessment 207

References from the LCA Handbook 207

Aims of the chapter 208

5.1 Introduction 208

5.2 Current Practice of Normalization and Weighting in LCIA 210

5.3 Principles of External Normalization 211

5.4 Issues with External Normalization 212

5.5 Inherent Data Gaps 212

5.6 Masking Salient Aspects 212

5.7 Compensation 214

5.8 Spatial Boundaries and Time Frames 214

5.9 Divergence in Databases 214

5.10 Principles of Internal Normalization 215

5.11 Compensatory Methods 215

5.12 Partially Compensatory Methods 216

5.13 Weighting 217

5.14 Multi-Criteria Decision Making 219

References 220

Appendix: TRACI 2.1 Normalization Factors 222

6 Life Cycle Assessment: Interpretation and Reporting 225

References from the LCA Handbook 225

Aims of the Chapter 226

6.1 Introduction 226

6.2 LCA Interpretation according to ISO 228

6.3 Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis 230

6.3.1 Uncertainty Analysis 230

6.3.2 Uncertainty in Impact Models 230

6.3.3 Sensitivity Analysis 231

A SIMPLE BUT NON-LINEAR SYSTEM 232

6.3.4 Monte Carlo Simulation 233

6.4 Contribution Analysis 234

6.5 Presenting LCIA Results 236

6.6 Preparing the Final Report 236

6.7 The Review Process 241

6.7.1 ISO-Defined LCA Review 241

6.7.2 Conduct of an LCA Review 242

6.7.3 Review of Inventory Data 243

6.7.4 Timing the Review 243

6.8 Product Category Rules and Environmental Product Declarations 244

6.8.1 Type III Environmental Product Declarations 245

6.8.2 An EPD is a Document 245

6.8.3 An EPD is Primarily Based on LCA 246

6.8.4 An EPD is Developed by Following a “Product Category Rule” 246

6.8.5 An EPD can contain other Relevant Information beyond the LCA 246

6.8.6 Further Information on EPDs and PCRs 247

References 247

Chapter 6 Exercises 249

7 Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment 253

References from the LCA Handbook 253

Aims of the Chapter 253

7.1 Introduction 254

7.2 Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainability 255

7.3 A Framework for LCSA 258

7.3.1 Broadening of the Object of Analysis 260

7.3.2 Broadening of the Spectrum of Indicators 261

7.3.3 Deepening 264

7.4 Social Responsibility 266

7.4.1 The Social LCA Framework 267

7.4.2 Iterative process of Social Life Cycle Assessment 268

7.4.3 SLCA and other Key Social Responsibility References and Instruments 275

7.5 Research Needs for LCSA Methodology 279

References 281

Chapter 7 Exercises 286

8 Resources for Conducting Life Cycle Assessment 287

Books 287

Organizations 288

LCA Centers and Societies 292

Glossary 297

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