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B oosting Life Cycle Assessment in Small and Medium Enterprises. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 265096. Smart Textiles: LCA to go E-Learning course.

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slide1

Boosting Life Cycle Assessment in

Small and Medium Enterprises

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 265096

smart textiles lca to go e learning course

Smart Textiles:LCA togo E-Learning course

03.02.2014

Authors: Antonio Dobon, Karsten Schischke, Jan Schneider, Jude Sherry

Editors: Florian Krautzer, Rainer Pamminger, Wolfgang Wimmer

lower your impact on the environment heighten the impact of your business
Loweryourimpact on theenvironment, heightentheimpactofyourbusiness

Improving the environmental performance across your product’s life cycle can pave the way to a successful business. Using LCA to go can provide you with the information you need to inform better decision making within your business. Lower your impact on the environment and reap the benefits:

Cost reductions Cut down on wastage during manufacturing and save costs by maximising efficiency

Secure supply chain Identify supply risks of rare raw materials and reduce the use of rare raw materials in your products

Comply with legislation Manage your environmental legal responsibilities and avoid costly changes to comply with new regulations

Increase sales and diversify Reach new audiences in a fast-expanding conscious market and gain competitor advantage

Achieve brand loyalty Build trust and relationships with your customers with a brand that cares

what is lca to go
What is LCA to go?

LCA to go is an online tool that measures a product’s environmental performance based on the principles of a simplified Life Cycle Based Assessment (LCA). This simplification has been developed by LCA experts since the start of the project in 2011. They have defined the most relevant boundaries, data and impact categories across seven sectors: photovoltaics, industrial machines, sensors, electronics, printed circuit boards, smart textiles and bio-based plastics. This pre-identification greatly reduces the complexity involved in undertaking a Life Cycle Based Environmental Assessment.

LCA to go will enable:

planners, installers or designers of photovoltaic systems to assess and communicate the environmental benefits of their systems

manufacturingrsof plastic products to assess the environmental and financial performance of bio-based plastics in comparison to conventional petroleum based plastics

designers and producers of smart textiles to assess the environmental performance of their products

designers, assemblers or producers of computer like devices to assess and communicate the environmental benefits of reliable and long-lasting products

machine tool manufacturingsto identify potential environmental improvement options

industrial sensor providers to quantify the environmental and financial benefits of installing a sensor system

designers and producers of printed circuit boards (PCBs) to assess and improve the environmental performance of PCBs

what is a product s life cycle
What is a Product’s Life Cycle?

Every product interacts with the natural environment across its full life cycle, which includes material extraction, manufacturing, distribution, use and end of life. Energy, water and materials are taken from the natural environment while air and water pollutants and solid waste is emitted back into the environment. The most significant extractions from and emissions into the environment are measured and analysed through a life cycle based assessment to determine a products environmental performance.

Understanding your product’s life cycle environmental performance can enable you to identify and priorities environmental improvements opportunities.

e learning course on environmental assessment of smart textiles with the lca to go online tool
E-learningcourse on environmental assessmentofSmart Textiles with the LCA togo online tool

Introduction

Stepbystep e-learning: Smart Textiles home

  • Definethescope
  • Collectdata
  • Model the Life Cycle
  • Enterdata
  • Review theresult
  • Interpret theresult & deriveimprovements

Definitions

1 definition of the product scope

Sectorspecificcourse / Step 1

1. Definition oftheproduct & scope

Substeps:

  • Define thegoalofthestudy
  • Define thefunctionalunit
  • Define thereferenceflow
  • Define theproductsystemandtheunitprocesses
  • Draw a processtree
  • Definethesystemboundariesof all 5 lifecyclestages
  • Defineotherrequirements

2

Home

Definitions

1 a define the goal of the study
1.a. Define thegoalofthestudy

i. Why do I needtodefine a goalformystudy?

Defininga goalhelpsyouidentifytheobjectives, applicationsandtargetaudienceofyourstudyand will allowyoutoeasilykeeptrackoftheseveryimportantfactorsthroughoutthestudy.

ii. Howcan I define a goal & whatshouldbeincluded in mygoaldefinition?

A goaldefinitionshouldhavethreeparts. Itshouldidentify:

thereasonforundertakingthestudy (Why?);

thetargetaudience (Who?);

the potential areasofapplicationforthestudy (What?)

iii. Can thegoalbemodifiedduringthestudy?

The goalshould not bemodifiedduringthestudy. Ifchangesoccurduringthestudy, a newgoalshouldbedefinedand a newstudy (whichcantakethecurrentstudyas a basis) shouldbemade.

An examplewouldbe, ifyouconduct a studyfortheengineeringdepartmentandthemarketingdepartmentwouldliketousethestudyforcommunicationpurposes. In thiscaseyoushouldformulate a newgoal, ifpossible, usetheexistingstudyas a basis, to carry out a moredetailedstudy, focusing on thenewlydefinedgoalandthe different targetaudience.

1 b define a functional unit
1.b. Define a Functional Unit

What is a Functional unit?

  • The functional unit is the amount of product/material and energy required to accomplish a certain function.
  • Example for packaging: Delivery of 1000 l of orange juice to the supermarket with 1L beverage carton, 1.5L HDPE bottle, and 0,75L glass bottle. The Functional unit here would be 1000 l of orange juice.
  • Example for energy consuming product: Provide 7500 h of internet service with a modem type A, modem type B and modem type C
  • Example for machinery: convert 1000 kg of pellets by extrusion machine A and extrusion machine B

Why do I need to define a Functional unit and what is it used for?

  • The functional unit is used as a basis for comparisons between products, materials and equipment. This will ensure that all studied systems are fully comparable.

How can I define a functional unit?

  • The easiest way for define a functional unit is to identify clearly the function/s provided by the product to be analysed and then assess if the products to be analysed can either accomplish the same function or not.

Functional unit: 1m²

Mainfunction: Havingpainted a wall

Paint

1 c define a reference flow
1.c. Define a Reference Flow

What is a Reference flow?

  • A reference flow is the basis for calculation required to accomplish a certain function provided by a product service.
  • Paint example: amount of paint required to having painted 1 m2 of wall.

Why do I need to define a Reference flow and what is used for?

  • This is essential in every life cycle assessment, since it is used as a basis for comparisons.
  • LCA users ensure with their use that systems under analysis are fully comparable

How can I define a Reference flow?

  • Let’s see with an example: if the function is to having painted 1 m² of wall with water-based paint with a yield of 5 m²/L vs. a solvent-based paint with a yield of 2.5 m²/L, therefore different amount of paint will be used to paint the same wall surface. This is called reference flow and it is an essential part for comparison

Amount of water-basedpaintrequiredforthefunctionalunit

1 m2/(5m2/L) = 0,2 L

Functionalunit

1 m2

Amount of solvent-basedpaintrequiredforthefunctionalunit

1 m2/(2.5m2/L) = 0,4 L

1 d i define a p roduct system and the u nit p rocesses
1.d.i Define a Product System andtheUnit Processes

What is a product system?

A product systems is the set of unitary processes necessary to perform the function specified in the functional unit. All inflows and outflows shall be defined. In practice, this is the whole life cycle diagram. See an example for a PLA-based carrierbagbelow.

What is a unitprocess?

A unit process is the minimum element for which life cycle data on inputs and outputs isavailable

Whatinformation do I needtodefinetheproductsystemandtheunitprocesses?

You will just need a clearidea on themaininflowsandoutflowsto a certainproductsystem

Corn growing and harvesting (materials)

PLA pellet processing

Film extrusion PLA film

Printing and die-cut

Transport and delivery

Use

End of life

Input of raw materials

Outflowsbetweenunitaryprocesses

Output of emissionstosoil, wateror air, solidwaste, etc.

Input of water

Unitprocess

Input of energy

1 e i draw a process tree
1.e.i Draw a processtree

Why do I need to draw a process tree for my product system and how can I use it?

Visualizing the single processes and their relation may help you understand what exactly you have to consider when collecting data for your life cycle assessment. Furthermore the development of the process tree usually helps to “not forget” parts of the product system and enables you to structure the following steps such as data collection and life cycle modeling.

Where does a product life start, where does it end?

Again – this depends on the product that you’re about to evaluate. But in general, the “start” is where the raw materials or the energy needed for the manufacturing of your product come from. This is important at it also shows the “coverage” of decisions that you make during the design of the product. The end of life of your product usually falls together with its disposal and / or recycling. That does not automatically mean that you have the possibility to influence what exactly happens at this stage.

1 e ii draw a process tree
1.e.ii Draw a processtree

Process 1, e.g. casing

- 4 MJ heat

- 30 g copper scrap

- 15 l wastewater

- 1.5 kg copper

- 13 kWh electricity

- 15 l tap water

- 0.3 m³ argon

Whatis a processtree?

A process tree is a special flowchart. In this flowchart, all relevant material flows, energy flows, emissions and other streams are depicted. If possible, they are assigned to a special process or step within the life cycle stages of the product.

The process tree should represent all life cycle stages needed to properly model the product. An example is used in Step 1.d. and another is shown on the right – please be aware that there is no “defined” structure as the extent and quantity of single processes depends on the modeled product.

The process tree should refer to a known quantity of product – if possible, to the functional unit.

Process 2, e.g. plastic parts molding

- 0.7 kg LDPE

- 3 MJ process heat

- 2 l distilled water

- 2.5 g additives

- 2 l wastewater

- 0.05 kg LDPE

Process 3, e.g. assembling

- 0.2 m³ argon

- 0.7 kWh electricity

- 3 l tap water

- 2 MJ heat

- 3 l wastewater

Process 4, …

- …

- …

1 f i define the system boundary for all 5 life cycle stages
1.f.i Define thesystemboundaryfor all 5 lifecyclestages

Why is it important to define the system boundary for all 5 lifecyclestages?

You should define clearly which are the boundaries of your product system. This shouldbedonefor all 5 lifecyclestages, namely Materials, Manufacturing, Distribution, Useand End oflife. Let‘ssee some examples:

  • Should the packagingmaterials be included? Yes, if relevant per unit of product (usually for big products or when a reduced amount of products are delivered).
  • Should the impact to produce and maintain the equipment be included? Yes, if the production is small and repair/maintenance operations are often required.

Howcan I definethesystemboundaryfor all 5 lifecyclestages?

The easiestwayfordoingthatistocreate a tabletoregisterwhichaspectshavebeeneitherconsideredor not. This will allowyoutotracktheprocessesincluded in yoursystemandeasilymovetoyourlifecyclediagram. An exampleisshownon thefollowingslide:

1 g define other requirements for the system boundary
1.g. Define otherrequirementsforthesystemboundary

Whatotherrequirementsarethereforthesystemboundary?

Appartfromdefiningyouproductsystemanddrawingyourprocesstreeitis also importanttodefineyour Temporal, Geographicaland Technological requirements. This meansthatyoushoulddefinefirst, howoldthedatathatyouintendtouseshallbe, whichgeographicalboundariesyouintendtoset, especiallyforthemanufacturingsiteandplaceofuseforyourproductandfinallywhetheryouwanttoinvestigateonespecifictechnologyor do an assessmentfor a representativefamilyofproducts.

Why do I needtodefineotherrequirements?

Definingthese additional requirementshelpsyouset a perimeterforyourstudyareaandvalidatesyourresults, helpingyoureachyourstudygoalandenablingyoutocommunicatetheresultsmoreclearly.

2 collect data

Sectorspecificcourse / Step 2

2. Collectdata

Substeps:

  • Identifynecessarydata
  • Define thedepthandqualityofdataneeded
  • Identify & keeptrackofdatasource
  • Identifyandtrackthedataquality

1

3

Home

Definitions

2 a i identify necessary data
2.a.i Identifynecessarydata

Whatdataneedstobecollectedandhowcanthisbedone?

Data will beneededthroughout all lifecyclestagestomodeltheproductlifecycleproperly. Somedataneedstobecompiledbyyourself, whichdefinesyourproductorsystem, but yourdata will becomplementedbysomebackgrounddata on e.g. electricitygenerationorupstreamrawmaterialsproduction.

Ifrequiredforyoursector, youmightneedtocollectdataasfollows:

FortheMaterialsstage, identifythematerialsused; datamightcomefromthespecificationorexperts

FortheManufacturingstage, collectdataon

Electricityconsumptionformanufacturingofpartsandassemblyofthe final product. This canbedoneby:

  • measuringtheenergyconsumptiondirectlyattheproductionline
  • devidingtheelectricityconsumptionoftheentireproductionlinethroughthenumberofunitsproduced

Wastegenerated in themanufacturingofpartsandassemblyofthe final product.

FortheDistributionstage, collectdata on shippingdistancesaswellaspackagingmaterialsused

FortheUsestage, estimatelifetimeandusepatterns, determinethecountry / regionwheretheproductorsystemisused

FortheEnd oflifestage, collectdata on currentdisposalandrecyclingpracticeandestimate, whichend ofliferoute mightbetakenbyyourproduct.

2 a ii identify necessary data materials and manufacturing
2.a.ii. Identifynecessarydata:Materials and Manufacturing

What is a decision rule for mass inclusion? Why do I need it? How can be defined?

A decision rule is a very easy rule aimed at exclude certainmaterials/ manufacturingprocessesfor which the contribution to the global environmental impact is assumed as negligible. Let‘s see an example for an internet mobile modem based on the bill ofmaterials

Decision rule: Exclude all materials, contributing less than 1 % of the total weight of the final product.

These components can be excluded as they do not represent more than 1% of total materials to the product system, reducing substantially the efforts for data collection!!! Be careful not to exclude small amounts of high impact materials such as rare earth metals.

2 a iii identify necessary data distribution use end of life multiple clients
2.a.iii Identifynecessarydata:Distribution, Use, End oflife: Multiple clients

I have a numberof different clients, how do I accountforthisandwhatdata do I need?

Clients canbe in a rangeof different locations, usinganddisposingoftheproductin different ways.

To deal withthesedifferences, LCAs usescenariosasshown in Step 3.

The datayourequire will depend on thescenarioyouareinvestigating. As an example, ifyouknowwhereyouship a certainproductbymarketshare, thenyoumaydevelop a tableasshownbelow:

Youcanthendeveloponescenarioas an averageforyourproduct, ie. assumingthatyouaretheoreticallysellingoneproductunit50% toPoland, 40% to France and 10% toSweden. Alternativelyyoucanspecificscenariosforspecificclients. The requiredinformationremainsthe same.

Often, ifyoucannot find specificinformationsuch astheexacttransportdistance, startwith a conservativeestimateandidentifywhetheritis a relevant partofthe LCA beforespendingtoomuch time on gettingverydetailedandaccuratefigures.

2 b i define the depth and quality of data needed
2.b.i Define thedepthandqualityofdataneeded

Towhatlevelofdetailandtowhataccuracyshouldthedatabecollected?

The requiredlevelofdetaildepends on theimportanceof a certaindataset: Iftheoverallresultisknowntodependlargely on oneentry, thedatashouldmeet a high levelofaccuracy. Forexample, thisisextremelyimportantwhencertainenteredvaluesaremultipliedby a very large factor. In thesecasestheaccuracyofenteredvaluehastobevery high whereasforlessimportantdataitis not requiredtoinvest large amountsof time toachieve a high levelofdetail.

Frequentlyonly 10-15 dataentriesdetermine 80% ormoreoftheresult, so effortsshouldbemadetogetthese 10-15 dataentriesright.

Someexamples:

As electricity in use, isfrequentlyhighly relevant, itisimportanttoenterthecorrectlocationandthecorrespondingelectricitygrid mix. If a productisusedoverlongperiodsof time overitslifetime, thisbecomesevenmore relevant.

Preciousmetalsareminedandprocessedwith high environmental impactsandoccassionalydominatethewholeassessment. Gettingtheamountofpreciousmetalsright, evenifitisonlymilligrams, isof high importance in thesecases.

The amountofwashingdetergentneeded in a singlecyclebecomesveryimportantiftheproductisdesignedto carry out thousandsofwashingcyclesoveritslifetime.

2 b ii define the depth and quality of data needed
2.b.ii Define thedepthandqualityofdataneeded

Can I firstgatherroughdatatogain an understandingoftheproduct‘s environmental impactandaddmoredetaileddatalater?

Yes, get a firstimpressionoftheecoprofileofyourproductbeforedecidingwhichdatashouldbeimproved. Ifyouare not sureattheoutsetoftheanalysis, which environmental hotspotstoexpect, gothroughtheassessmentwithsomedefaultdataorworstcaseassessments. Check theresults. Refinedataentries. Get a feelingformost sensitive dataentries. Refinetheassessmentstepbystep. Sometypical environmental profiles:

Manufacturing

Materials

End of life

End of life

Manufacturing

Materials

End of life

Materials

Manufacturing

A sensorsystem, whichmonitorsindustrialprocessesmightreducethe power consumptionof a processline, whichbyfaroutweighsitsown environmental footprint. Modellingthesecondaryeffectsproperlyiskey.

A mobile phoneisoptimisedforenergyefficiencyandbatterylifetime, but constitutesof a high shareofelectronicsparts. Modellingoftheelectronicscomponentsisimportant.

A TV setconsumesmuchmoreenergy in usethan in production. Modellingtheusestageismostimportant

2 c i identify keep track of data source
2.c.i Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Wherecan I find thedata I am lookingfor?

Gooddatasourcesare:

Productspecifications

Supplierdata, although environmental dataisrarelycoveredbyanysupplychaindatamanagement

Bill ofmaterials, whichhoweverfrequentlylacks relevant environmental data

Material Safety Data Sheets

Complementarylifecycledata in casethetoolyouareusingdoes not featurethebackgrounddatasetsyouarelookingfor; freepublicavailabledatasourcesinclude:

  • ProBas (German): Input-output datafor a coupleofmaterialsandprocesses, compiledby German Umweltbundesamt as an „LCA library“www.probas.umweltbundesamt.de
  • CPM: Life Cycle InventorydatafromprojectsatChalmers Universityhttp://cpmdatabase.cpm.chalmers.se/
  • Databases hostedandupdatedbyindustryassociations:
    • Plastics Europe: http://www.plasticseurope.org/plasticssustainability/eco-profiles.aspx
    • Worldsteel: http://www.worldsteel.org/publications/position-papers/lca.html
2 c ii identify keep track of data source
2.c.ii Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Howto deal withdatagaps?

Bepreparedtofilldatagapsbymeansofestimatesandassumptions. Engineers, designers, procurementstaffandothertechnicalexperts in yourcompany will beabletoprovideyouwithgoodestimatestofilldatagaps. Note anydatagapsandtrytorevisitthemifthey turn out tobe relevant in theresults.

Even large enterprises do not havereadilyavailabledata on environmental issuesthroughoutthewholeproductlifecycle.

Even environmental datafromtier 1 suppliersisrarelyavailableandsuppliersare not preparedtoprovideany such dataconsistently. Thereisnostandardforsuppliershowtocalculateandreportlifecycledata.

2 c iii identify keep track of data source
2.c.iii Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Howtoinquireforsupplierdata?

A real lifeexample….

e-mail product manager to his supplier contact:

2 c iv identify keep track of data source
2.c.iv Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Howtoinquireforsupplierdata?

A real lifeexample….

Reply 4 months later:

2 c v identify keep track of data source
2.c.v Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Howtoinquireforsupplierdata?

A real lifeexample….

What is the problem:

Delayed reply

As the inquiry was not very precise it is not clear at all, which methodological assumptions where made by the supplier (which processes are included, are upstream processes included and how are they accounted?)

Ranges stated: Which value to calculate with? Recommended approach is “worst case”, but check sensitivity whether result changes significantly with average / best case values, then further clarification would be worthwhile

Values are way too high for the production of semiconductors; further communication unveiled, that carbon footprint data includes power consumption in use, not only manufacturing

Recommendations:

Communicate closely with your supplier. Make clear your requirements and expectations. Provide clear guidance.

Given the intensive communication required until you might get hold of robust data don’t target at a full supplier coverage with your inquiries. Ask only for the most important parts, components and materials.

2 c vi identify keep track of data source
2.c.vi Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Whatisstateoftheart in datamining?

As even large enterprisestypicallycannotdirectly link their Bill-of-materials withgeneric LCA databasesreverseengineeringofproductsis still stateofthearttoget hold ofcomponentweightsandforidentifyingrawmaterials.

This processis time consumingandrequiressomeguessingofrawmaterials. Hereagain, itisimportant not toget lost in toomuchdetail, but tofocus on thereallyimportantpartsandcomponents.

2 c vii identify keep track of data source
2.c.vii Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Whichprioritiestoset?

Examplesettop box (digital televisionreceiverforpay-TV)

Don‘tspendmuch time on therestfor a firstscreening

Major printedcircuitboardsarehighly relevant forthelifecycleimpactsofmostelectronicsproducts

…particularly, iftheyfeaturegoldfinishes / contacts

Microcontrollersandmemoryaremanufacturingdwith a large environmental footprint

Hard diskdriveas a major sub-assembly: Suppliermighthavedatareadilyforthewholeassembly

Bulkmetal / plasticspartsmightbe relevant due totheirsheeramountofraw material

2 c viii identify keep track of data source
2.c.viii Identify& keeptrackofdatasource

Whichprioritiestoset?

Figure out foryourproduct, whichpartsandcomponentscanbeomittedtoeaseyourwork:

Screen for likely hot spots

Trust your technical understanding, how things are made and whether it is likely that raw material or energy intensive processes are used

Frequently cost intensive components come with a larger environmental footprint.

Don’t exclude components, which contain most likely precious metals

Still unsure? Check out, whether there are LCAs for your kind of product readily available

2 d i identify and track the data quality
2.d.i Identify and track the data quality

Whatismeantbydataquality?

For an engineeritmightbehardtounderstand, that environmental lifecycledataissubjecttonumerousassumptions, approximations, partlyguess-workandthusuncertainty.

Data qualityessentiallyis an indicatorofhowgood a givendatasetandtherelatedresultsofmodellingrepresentthe „real“ lifecycleof a productorsystem.

As longasdatacomesdirectlyfromyourproductandproductionline, dataquality will be high, but frequentlyyou will havetosourcedataforprocessesandlifecyclestages, whichare not underyourdirectcontrol. Thendataqualitycomesintoplayas a crucialissue.

2 d ii identify and track the data quality
2.d.ii Identify and track the data quality

HowisdataqualitydefinedandwhatistheData Quality Indicator?

Typicallydataqualityhasfivedimensions:

(1) Reliability

Isthedatabased on measurements, verifiedbyanybodyoronlyestimated?

(2) Completeness

How large isthe sample thedataisbased on? Isitrepresentative?

(3) Correlationsin Time

Howoldisthedata?

(4) Correlationsin Geography

Doesthedatastemfromtheregion, wheremycomponentsareproducedordoesthedatarefertosomeotherlocations?

(5) Correlationsin Technology

Are componentsandrawmaterialsprocessedwiththe same technologyasforthesystemtobeassessed?

Keep in mind: The Data Quality Indicator in the „LCA togo“ toolismeanttoassessthequalityof YOUR dataentries, not ofthebackgrounddata in thetool. The userhastojudge, whether a backgrounddatasetisappropriatefortheintendeduse! Even a high qualitybackgrounddatasetappliedtothewrongraw material yields a wrongresult.

2 d iii identify and track the data quality
2.d.iii Identify and track the data quality

How is data quality defined and what is the Data Quality Indicator? continued…

In a simplifiedversion, theassessmentofthedataqualityisaggregated in oneofthreepossible Data Quality Indicatorscores:

high

Data quality

low

  • Reliability
  • Completeness
  • Correlationsin Time
  • Correlationsin Geography
  • Correlationsin Technology
  • DQI
  • score
2 d iv identify and track the data quality
2.d.iv Identify and track the data quality

Whyisdataqualityandkeepingtrackofdataqualityimportant?

Assessingthedataqualityhelpsyou

toget an impression, howreliableyouroverallassessmentresultis, and

toimproveyourdatacollectionstrategytoenhancetheoverallqualityoftheassessment

Examples:

Indicativedatafor Distribution is „nicetohave“ but „indicative“ levelforManufacturing iscriticalandshouldbeimproved!

 ok, lifecyclestageswithhighestimpactfeature high dataquality

3 model the life cycle

Sectorspecificcourse / Step 3

3. Model the Life Cycle

Substeps:

  • Review availabledataand bring itintoa usefulformat, makingassumptionswherenecessary
  • Develop Scenarios forthe Distribution stage
  • DevelopScenarios fortheUsestage
  • Develop Scenarios forthe End oflifestage

2

4

Home

Definitions

3 a i review available data and bring it into a useful format making assumptions where necessary
3.a.i Review availabledataand bring itinto a usefulformat, makingassumptionswherenecessary

How can I best review the data and identify data gaps?

Use a table to track data gaps is the easiest solution for doing that. Put there which data is necessary and optional as well as the assumptions you made.

3 a ii review available data and bring it into a useful format making assumptions where necessary
3.a.ii Review availabledataand bring itinto a usefulformat, makingassumptionswherenecessary

Can I make assumptions to fill these data gaps with estimates?

Yes, of course. Assumptions are needed to reduce data collection efforts and must be clearly stated for a proper interpreation of results.

How can I relate the data to my functional unit?

Using the reference flow. Please seeStep1.c

  • What’sbetter?
  • A final result which does not consider the impacts of producing the ABS shell
  • Achieving a more complete total result which includes a conservative estimate for the process

Assumption: considerthe total weight of the ABS shell and calculatetheprocessingbyassuming a general injectionmouldingprocess

I cannot find suitable LCA data regarding the production of an ABS shell for an internet modem!!!!!!

3 b i develop scenarios for distribution
3.b.i Develop Scenarios forDistribution

What is a scenario in the context of an environmental assessment with the LCA to go tool?

A scenario represents a possiblesituationapplicabletotheproduct in distribution, useand/ordisposal.

Why are scenarios useful and when are they used?

Scenarios are useful because they allow for the comparison of different possible situations the product may be found in and to allow for an environmental assessment, even if the exact distribution path, or use intensity or disposal method is unknown. Each scenario essentially models what happens when aproduct may be distributed to a range of different destinations and/or used in different intensities (e.g.: distribute your PCB to Austria or Mexico, used intensively or sparingly, landfill of carrier bag vs. incineration, etc.).

Howmanyscenariosshould I defineforthedistributionstage?

This dependsgreatly on the relative importanceofthedistributionstagecomparedtootherstagesin thelifecycleofyourproductaswellasthedifferencebetweenthe individual scenarios. Werecommendthatyoustartwith a worstcasescenariotoidentifythe relative importanceofthedistributionstage. Ifitis relevant in theproductlifecycle, itisbesttodevelopseveralscenariosbased on themarketshareoractualdistributiondata. The LCA goalmay also play a role, maybeyouwouldliketodevelop a scenariofor a specificcustomerormarket.

3 b ii develop scenarios for distribution
3.b.ii Develop Scenarios for Distribution

How can I define a scenario for the distributionstage?

Collectasmuchinformationasfeasibleon theweightoftheproduct, thelocationthatyourproductisshippedto, themethodoftransportandthepackagingused. Combine theinformationwithassumptionsandestimatestobuild a ‚complete‘ pictureforthedistributionofyourproduct.

<insert sector> Example

Market share 40%

National(Spain)

500 km

Market share 5%

+

Europe (Sweden)

1270 km

780 km

Overseas (Brazil)

Market share 55%

+

Manufacturingplant in Spain

1120 km

6900 km

3 d develop scenarios for the end of life stage
3.d. Develop Scenarios forthe End oflifestage

How can I define a scenario for the End oflifestage?

Try todefine the most common scenarios forend oflifeas function of the geography as well as the userpreferencesandbuildthescenariosaccordingtoyourspecifiedgoalforthe LCA. A Scenario mayconsistofonepath (e.g. Incineration) fortheentireproductorof different pathsforeachraw material (e.g. Copper->Recycling, PVC casing->Incineration, Steel->Landfill)

Howmanyscenariosshould I definefortheEnd oflifestage?

Commonly, threescenariosaredistinguished in theEnd oflifestage: Recycling, IncinerationandLandfill. As always, check theimpactofthelifecyclestagerelative tootherlifecyclestagesbeforeinvesting a lotoftime andefforton buildingscenarios.

Pleasefind an example for plastic packaging (2010 from Eurostat):

4 enter data

Sectorspecificcourse / Step4

4. Enterdata

Substeps:

  • Enterdatain the LCA togo online tool
  • Understandwhythedataisneededandwhathappenswiththeentereddata

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5

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4 a i enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.i Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Wherecan I find thetool?

Youcanaccessthetoolfromtheprojectwebsitehttp://tool.lca2go.eu/users/sign_in . You will needtoregisterandcreate an accountfirstbeforeenteringdata.

4 a ii enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.ii Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Howcan I enterdataintothe LCA togotool?

Create a newproduct

Customizedlifecycleforeachsector

4 a iii enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.iii Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Howcan I enterdataintothe LCA togotool?

Create a newproduct

Go to „Introduction“ forfurthersectoralguidanceordirectlyto„Data entry“

Sectoralguidance on dataentries

Self-assessmentofthequalityofyourdataentries

Model yourproductlifecycle

Calculateresults; will showresultsonly, ifyouhaveentered a completedataset

4 a iv enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.iv Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Howcan I enterdataintothe LCA togotool?

Create a newproduct

Go to „Introduction“ forfurthersectoralguidanceordirectlyto„Data entry“

„Data entry“: Makeentriesforyourproductlifecycle

Comprehensivedataentrytemplatestomodelthelifecyclestagesonebyone

4 a v enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.v Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Howcan I enterdataintothe LCA togotool?

Create a newproduct

Go to „Introduction“ forfurthersectoralguidanceordirectlyto„Data entry“

„Data entry“: Makeentriesforyourproductlifecycle

Click „Next step“ tomovetothenextlifecyclestage

Calculateresults; will showresultsonly, ifyouhaveentered a completedataset

4 a vi enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.vi Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Can I save thedataandreturnto finish thedataentryat a later time?

All yourentereddataissavedunderyouraccount, onceyouclick

or

You will find yourproductslistedunder „My Products“ in the top rightcorner

online trainee

4 a vii enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.vii Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Can I save thedataandreturnto finish thedataentryat a later time?

Just click on the „status“buttontoreturntoyourdataentriesany time

4 a viii enter data in the lca to go online tool
4.a.viii Enter data in the LCA to go online tool

Can I save thedataandreturnto finish thedataentryat a later time?

Click on theduplicateicontomake a copyofyourproductentriesforcalculating a variant

Can thedatabeseenby a thirdparty?

No.  Your data is stored on the web server of the online tool, but it is only accessible with your account details.

The user password is encrypted and even the host is not able to read it. Therefore, only the user can access their own data.

4 b i understand why the data is needed and what happens with the entered data

dataentry 1

dataentry 3

Results

dataentry 2

dataset 1

dataset 2

dataset 3

4.b.i Understand why the data is needed and what happens with the entered data

What happens with the entered data?

Your entered data is used as input parameters for a mathematical model. This model links your entered data with background datasets to calculate the results for your product.

Internal data model

Internal database

Materials

Manufacturing

End of life

dataentry 4

4 b vi understand why the data is needed and what happens with the entered data
4.b.vi Understand why the data is needed and what happens with the entered data

What background datasets are used and why?

The tool comes with some background datasets to ease your work: The datasets comprise environmental data related to some consumption metrics.

The most typical example are the country specific emission factors for electricity:

  • kg of greenhouse gas emissions of power generation in a given country, aggregated as CO2-equivalents per kWh electricity consumed by a product or process

This data stems from broadly accepted and publicly available sources, such as the International Energy Agency.

Further data sets allow to link your consumption data or design data with the anticipated environmental impacts. This is meant to help you: Instead of inquiring throughout the supply chain the “real” environmental impacts of your product, you are provided with ready-made data as a sound approximation of “your” reality.

5 review the result

Sectorspecificcourse / Step5

5. Review theresult

Substeps:

  • Understand the first result & the available impact categories
  • Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the result
  • Collect and enter additional data where necessary

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5 a i understand the result
5.a.i Understand the result

How is the result displayed?

Results are displayed in the LCA to go tool in three different ways:

1) Data table („DetailedResults“)

2) Bar charts (“Graphic Results”)

3) pdfreport

5 a ii understand the result
5.a.ii Understand the result

What are Eco-costs, how are they defined and why are they used?

The final outcome is presented in a so-called "single indicator", which is a judgement of the environmental performance of a product in one single number. For this tool the indicator "Eco-costs”, has been chosen to express the environmental burden. This Eco-costs single indicator is the sum of all costs that would be necessary to invest in order to prevent:

toxic emissions, called the "eco-costs of emissions"

materials depletion, called the "eco-costs of materials depletion"

energy consumption, called the "eco-costs of energy”

The Eco-costs is based on the concept of "marginal prevention costs", which are the costs required to offset the environmental burden to a sustainable level. This can be done by investments in: "end of pipe" measures aiming at preventing the release of pollutants into the environment system integrated solutions which can be implemented during the other life cycle phases, such as the (Materials-) Manufacturing phase, the Use phase or Distribution.

If you want to know more about Eco-costs, follow this link: http://www.ecocostsvalue.com

5 b i identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data
5.b.i Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data

What is an environmental hotspot?

Ifyouwanttousetheassessmentfor design improvements, fordiscussing a projectwith a clientortoimplement a sustainablebusinessstrategy, youmightneedtoknowmorethanjust the Eco-costs. Youshouldknow, whereitcomesfromtoinitiateimprovements.

Followingagainthe 80:20 principleyoushouldtargetatthe 20% inputparameters, whichdrive 80% ofyourimpacts. These areyour environmental hotspots.

Someexamples:

  • For a mobile electronics product it is not the package, although recycled cardboard is very popular, it is the electronics: Printed circuit boards and semiconductors
  • For a battery operated smart textile it is the overall system efficiency and the battery size
  • For a sensor equipped smart textile that is applied to control space heating of buildings don‘t bother for too long about the production of the sensor hardware, pay attention to the energy saving during the use phase.
  • For a heating textile, do not worry too much about the assembly of the parts, the important hotspot is the energy used in the use phase.
5 b ii identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data
5.b.ii Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data

How to deal with environmental hotspots?

Whendevelopingthetool, wehad in mindalreadythehotspots, but check foryourproduct, how sensitive theresultistotheentereddata:

  • Whatdrivesyourimpacts?
  • Howtominimiseoverallimpacts?

Try to find out, whatarethethreemostimportantfactorsand check: Haveyougotthe power tomake a change?

5 b iii identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data
5.b.iii Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data

How robust are the results?

The Data Quality Indicators (DQIs) will help you to judge the robustness of your results: Are those life cycle stages with the highest relevancy those with the best data quality? If not, make a brief sensitivity analysis:

Enter for those parameters, which seem to be of high relevancy minimum and maximum estimates and check results again. Does the overall result change much?

Materials

Manufacturing

End of life

5 b iv identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data
5.b.iv Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data

How robust are the results?

Enter for those parameters, which seem to be of high relevancy minimum and maximum estimates and check results again. Does the overall result change much?

Materials

Manufacturing

End of life

5 b v identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data
5.b.v Identify major environmental hotspots and the robustness of the underlying data

How robust are the results?

Enter for those parameters, which seem to be of high relevancy minimum and maximum estimates and check results again. Does the overall result change much?

Materials

Manufacturing

End of life

In this example overall robustness is low, sensitivity is high, make related assumptions with due care, preferably calculate with a conservative assumption

5 c collect and enter additional data where necessary
5.c. Collect and enter additional data where necessary

Having identified environmental hotspots and the robustness of the result, how do I decide what data I need to improve?

Make sure that you have the most robust data for the most important life cycle stages. If you have identified an environmental hotspot but the data is only “Indicative”, try to collect further data. If you only have “Illustrative” data for a life cycle stage that might be relevant or who’s importance depends strongly on the chosen scenario, try to collect and integrate further data.

What can I do if I do not have access to more robust data?

Try to expand on the existing data by asking experts within your company for their estimates. Check the feasibility of the data against published figures from other manufacturingrs.

Can I follow the same step by step process when collecting and entering more detailed data?

In principle, yes, though the second round of data collection should be much quicker and less intensive because you can concentrate on a few data gaps. Make sure you save the current result to see what changes the improved data has brought about and whether it would be useful to go back and ask for further data. You may use the “Duplicate” function in the tool for this.

When is my study “finished”, how do I know when to stop collecting and entering data?

Once you are happy that you have achieved the goal of your study. It is clear that in an iterative process, results can always be improved. Once you are confident that the results are robust enough to meet the goal of the study, stop collecting data and concentrate on interpreting and communicating your result.

6 interpret the result derive improvements

Sectorspecificcourse / Step6

6. Interpret theresult & deriveimprovements

Substeps:

  • Draw conclusionsfromtheresult
  • Derive appropriate improvement measures
  • Preparetheresultfordistribution / communication

5

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6 a i draw conclusions from the result
6.a.i Draw conclusionsfromtheresult

What conclusions can I draw from the result?

This brings us back to the initial point: What was the goal of the assessment?

Now you can interpret the assessment result in the light of your goal:

  • If an rough environmental assessment was your goal, you are basically done. Latest now you should think about your communication strategy with respect to green credentials of your product or service.
  • If a product improvement was your goal, you can now focus on the hotspots, and check with the product designers, which ideas they have for improvement, assess technical feasibility and economics of related measures.
  • If the assessment was meant to inform a sales talk, extract major findings and benefits identified, complement the environmental assessment with a cost analysis. Some sectoral tools cover such a cost calculation feature.
6 a ii draw conclusions from the result
6.a.ii Draw conclusionsfromtheresult

What have I learned from the process of carrying out the environmental assessment?

Besides the plain calculations there is more, that you presumably have learnt from this exercise:

  • Thinking about your product from a new perspective, which might even bring you to creative ideas, how to improve in your business
  • Reflecting on life cycle stages you have not thought of before, getting insights on these
  • Being prepared to talk about environmental aspects of your product

Also large enterprises do not only undertake LCAs for “green washing”, they draw internal lessons from the findings.

6 b i derive appropriate improvement measures
6.b.i Derive appropriate improvement measures

Which basic product types exists and how can I identify the basic product type of my product?

In general, five different basic product types are distinguished: (Two examples are shown)

Material intensive

Manufacturing intensive

Distribution intensive

Use intensive

End of life intensive

example

example

6 b ii derive appropriate improvement measures
6.b.ii Derive appropriate improvement measures

What is the general improvement strategy for each basic product type?

It is important to identify the basic product type to identify the appropriate improvement strategy. Several tools exist to help you define an improvement strategy for your product. The improvement strategy focuses on the major improvement options which in turn consist of several measures, which may or may not be applicable to your product. As an example for a use intensive product, the following improvement strategy has been taken from the ECODESIGN Pilot, one such tool:

Source: www.ecodesign.at/pilot/

6 b iii derive appropriate improvement measures
6.b.iii Derive appropriate improvement measures

What improvement options can I derive from the result?

Once the basic product type and the improvement strategy has been identified, a checklist of measures can be used to identify their contribution to the improvement of the product.

Depending on the tool used, a set of measures can be identified and their implementation can be logged, to determine which further measures can be implemented, what their benefits would be or why certain measures are not feasible. As an example, this is an extract from the ECODESIGN Pilot:

Source: www.ecodesign.at/pilot/

The life cycle perspective always insures that the implementation of improvement measures does not simply shift environmental impacts from one life cycle stage to another, but that measures actually improve the environmental performance of the product as a whole.

6 c i prepare the result for communication
6.c.i Preparetheresultforcommunication

For what purposes can I use the result provided by the LCA to go tool?

You can use the results to make environmental claims, preferably stating that calculations have been made with the LCA to go tool. Then it is clear, how you calculated the environmental assessment. The LCA to go tool provides you with a pdf report of the major results. Any additional claims on e.g. absence of hazardous raw materials, information about a dedicated take-back service, or the technical specification have to be provided as a complementary piece of information.

If you want to have your assessment being verified by an external to enhance credibility or just to be sure, please contact the LCA to go consortium for assistance.

As LCA to go is meant to provide a swift access to life cycle thinking it does not provide an LCA result in conformity with the standards ISO 14.040 and ISO 14.044. If you want to go for a full-size LCA study you should use your experience with LCA to go as a starter, but you will have to change over to any of the professional LCA tools presumably.

6 c ii prepare the result for communication
6.c.ii Preparetheresultforcommunication

What information do I need to provide to make the result understandable to my audience?

Depends on your audience! There are some companies, which make a pretty good job to explain environmental issues on a very consumer-friendly level. It is rather educating than communicating environmental credentials. Others publish summaries of LCA studies.

For your inspiration, here are 4 examples what other small and large companies communicate in the smart textiles sector.

6 c iii prepare the result for communication
6.c.iii Preparetheresultforcommunication

How can I best highlight the main conclusions?

So what is on your “want-to-have” list now?

We shrunk the assessment down to the relevant Eco-costs, but you have to consider, what are the expectations of your target audience, internally and externally.

  • Target audience:
  • End-consumers (LOHAS)
  • Information:
  • Explain a broadrangeof environmental issuesandhowourproductcanhelptomake a change,topics:
  • toxicity / emissions
  • global warming / energy
  • wastereduction

Target audience:

Client, informationtobeused in salestalk,

plus a referencecasestudyformysystemtobepublished on thewebsiteandastrade fair hand-out

Information:

Carbonsavingsalongwithcostsavings, showing a comparisontothe status-quo

Target audience:

Public procurement

Information:

Comprehensive environmental facts (asmuchaspossible, but carbonfootprintisminimum), verifiedbythirdparty

definitions
Definitions
  • Cradleto Gate
  • Data Quality Indicator
  • Environmental aspect
  • Environmental hotspot(s)
  • Environmental impact
  • Environmental management system (EMS)
  • Environmental performance
  • Impact category
  • LCA togo
  • Life Cycle
  • Life Cycle Thinking
  • Life Cycle stages
  • Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises-SME
  • Robustness
  • Scenario

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definition cradle to gate
Definition: Cradle-to-gate

The cradle-to-gate concept is one variant of the Life Cycle Assessment. The special thing is that not all five stages are included but only the raw material extraction, production and distribution until a certain point – the “factory gate”.

It does not take into account certain stages – most likely the “use” and “end of life / disposal”. It may be used to enable future users of an LCA (downstream in the supply chain) to include your assessment in theirs and adjust the “use” and “end of life” stage according to their scope.

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definition data quality indicator
Definition: Data Quality Indicator

The Data Quality Indicator, short DQI, uses the origin, preciseness and reliability of the input data to define its robustness and describes it in three categories, Illustrative, Indicative or Robust. Learnmore…

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definition environmental aspect
Definition: Environmental aspect

Element of an organization’s activities, products or services that can interact with the environment

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definition environmental hotspots
Definition: Environmental hotspots

The Environmental hotspotsarethoseareasofthelifecycle, 20% oftheinputparameters, drive80% ofyourimpacts.

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definition environmental impact
Definition: Environmental impact

Any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization`s environmental aspect.

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definition environmental management system ems
Definition: Environmental management system (EMS)

Part of an organization’s management system used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental aspects

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definition environmental performance
Definition: Environmental performance

Measurable results of an organizations management of its environmental aspects

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definition impact category
Definition: Impact category

Class representing environmental issues of concern to which life cycle inventory analysis results may be assigned

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definition lca to go
Definition: LCA togo

LCA to go is an online tool that measures a product’s environmental performance based on the principles of a simplified Life Cycle Based Assessment (LCA). This simplification has been developed by LCA experts since the start of the LCA to go project in 2011.

http://tool.lca2go.eu/users/sign_in

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definition life cycle
Definition: Life Cycle

Consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural resources to the end of life

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definition life cycle thinking
Definition: Life Cycle Thinking

According to the European Platform on LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), Life Cycle Thinking (or LCT) is defined as:

„The concept of Life Cycle Thinking integrates existing consumption and production strategies towards a more coherent policy making and in industry, employing a bundle of life cycle based approaches and tools. By considering the whole life cycle, the shifting of problems from one life cycle stage to another, from one geographic area to another and from one environmental medium or protection target to another is avoided.”

In other words, Life Cycle Thinking means that even if you‘re only responsible for one step in the supply chain (maybe product design), all related Life cycle stagesshould be taken into account when it comes to environmental performance of your product. That prevents from creating new (and maybe bigger) problems by eliminating one and enables you to make sustainable decisions.

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definition life cycle stages
Definition: Life cycle stages

In general, „Materials“, „Manufacturing“, „Distribution“, „Use“ and „End of life“ are defined as the five life cycle stages of a product. Keep in mind that depending on your product, it may be that not all of these are „transparent“ for you.

If – for example – one produces screws or nails, the „Use“ stage will be completely in the dark. On the other hand, deciding on the used materials influences the recyclability at the “End of life” and efforts related to “Raw Materials” extraction.

The life cycle built from the five stages is shown on the right.

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definition micro small and medium sized enterprises sme
Definition: Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises-SME

“The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro.” [EC 2005]

Next figure shows an overview about the thresholds of SMEs defined by the European Commission.

Source: EC 2005

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definition robustness
Definition: Robustness

Robustnessdescribesthereliabilityandoverallapplicabilityoftheresults. Robust resultsareresultswheretheareaswiththehighestimpactaresupportedbythehighestqualitydatapossible.

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definition scenario
Definition: Scenario

A scenariorepresents a possiblesituationapplicabletotheproduct in distribution, useand/ordisposal. Scenarios are useful because they allow for the comparison of different possible situations the product may be found in and to allow for an environmental assessment, even if the exact distribution path, or use intensity or disposal method is unknown. Learn more…

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