LCA training package

for users of LCA data and results
2003-11-10 Raul Carlson Sandra Häggström Ann-Christin Pålsson Industrial Environmental Informatics Chalmers University of Technology

About the training package
This training package is based on the course book from the ISO/DEVPRO IRAM LCA training course in Buenos Aires 2003 prepared and held by Raul Carlson and Ann-Christin Pålsson, IMI, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The course book is adapted to the needs of the CASCADE project by Sandra Häggström, also at IMI, with the assistance of Ann-Christin Pålsson. In the adaptation, the original course book has been transferred into the structure for training packages agreed upon within the CASCADE project. Some supplemental information has also been added.

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Table of contents
1 Topic: Introduction ...................................................................................... 1
1.1 Session nr 1: Introduction to life cycle thinking.............................................. 1 1.1.1 Background to life cycle perspective.................................................................. 1 1.1.2 LCA, concepts and definitions............................................................................ 2 1.1.3 Work procedure for LCA.................................................................................... 3 1.1.4 Applications for LCA.......................................................................................... 4 1.1.5 Exercise .............................................................................................................. 4 1.2 Session nr 2: Overview of LCA and the ISO 14040 series of standards....... 5 1.2.1 ISO 14040 Principles and framework ISO 14040.............................................. 5 1.2.2 Goal and scope definition .................................................................................. 6 1.2.3 Inventory analysis .............................................................................................. 7
1.2.3.1 1.2.3.2 Inventory components:.............................................................................................. 7 Data collection and documentation........................................................................... 7

1.2.4 1.2.5 1.2.6 1.2.7 1.2.8 1.2.9

Life cycle impact assessment.............................................................................. 8 Life cycle interpretation ..................................................................................... 9 Reporting ............................................................................................................ 9 Data documentation format ............................................................................... 9 Critical review.................................................................................................. 10 Exercise ............................................................................................................ 10

2

Topic: LCA – Goal and scope definition.................................................. 11
2.1 Session nr 3: Goal and scope...................................................................... 11 2.1.1 Goal definition.................................................................................................. 11 2.1.2 Scope definition ................................................................................................ 11
2.1.2.1 2.1.2.2 2.1.2.3 2.1.2.4 2.1.2.5 Function, functional unit and reference flow .......................................................... 12 Initial system boundaries ........................................................................................ 12 Data quality requirements ....................................................................................... 13 Reporting ................................................................................................................ 13 Critical review......................................................................................................... 13

2.1.3

Exercise ............................................................................................................ 14

3

Topic: LCA – Inventory Analysis ............................................................. 16
3.1 Session nr 4: Life cycle inventory ................................................................ 16 3.1.1 Inventory procedure ......................................................................................... 16 3.1.2 Preparing for data collection ........................................................................... 17 3.1.3 Data collection ................................................................................................. 17 3.1.4 Calculation ....................................................................................................... 17 3.1.5 Allocation ......................................................................................................... 18 3.1.6 Exercise ............................................................................................................ 19 3.2 Session nr 5: Documentation....................................................................... 20 3.2.1 Documentation incentives ................................................................................ 20 3.2.2 Role of documentation during the inventory .................................................... 20 3.2.3 Data documentation format ISO/TS 14048...................................................... 21 3.2.4 Data quality...................................................................................................... 22
3.2.4.1 3.2.4.2 3.2.4.3 Reliability................................................................................................................ 22 Accessibility............................................................................................................ 23 Relevance................................................................................................................ 23

3.2.5 3.2.6

Data quality review .......................................................................................... 23 Exercise ............................................................................................................ 24

4

Topic: LCA – Impact assessment ............................................................. 25
4.1 Session nr 6: Mandatory elements of the impact assessment .................... 25 4.1.1 Mandatory elements ......................................................................................... 25 iii

4.1.1.1 4.1.1.2 4.1.1.3

Selection of impact categories ................................................................................ 26 Classification .......................................................................................................... 26 Characterisation ...................................................................................................... 26

4.1.2 Exercise ............................................................................................................ 27 4.2 Session nr 7: Optional elements of the impact assessment........................ 29 4.2.1 Optional elements............................................................................................. 29
4.2.1.1 4.2.1.2 4.2.1.3 4.2.1.4 4.2.1.5 Normalisation.......................................................................................................... 30 Grouping ................................................................................................................. 30 Weighting................................................................................................................ 31 Comparison of weighting methods ......................................................................... 31 Limitations of LCIA ............................................................................................... 32

4.2.2

Exercise ............................................................................................................ 33

5

Topic: LCA – Interpretation ..................................................................... 36
5.1 Session nr 8: Life cycle interpretation .......................................................... 36 5.1.1 Elements of life cycle interpretation................................................................. 36 5.1.2 Identification of significant issues.................................................................... 37 5.1.3 Evaluation ........................................................................................................ 38 5.1.4 Conclusions, recommendations and reporting................................................. 38 5.1.5 Types of LCA studies ........................................................................................ 39 5.1.6 Exercise ............................................................................................................ 39

6

Topic: Tools and support........................................................................... 41
6.1.1 6.1.2 6.1.3 6.1.4 6.1.5 6.1.6 6.1.7 Introduction ...................................................................................................... 41 Information support.......................................................................................... 41 Competence support......................................................................................... 42 Supportive tools................................................................................................ 42 Impact assessment methods.............................................................................. 43 LCA software.................................................................................................... 44 LCI databases................................................................................................... 45

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Answers to exercises ................................................................................... 46 Terms and definitions ................................................................................ 53

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1

Topic: Introduction

This topic will give an introduction to the life cycle perspective and the central terms and concepts of the LCA. It will also give a short overview of how LCA is performed according to the ISO 14040 standards. Some especially important terms in the LCA nomenclature will be printed in italic style to notify the reader. Terms and definitions are explained in chapter 8.

1.1 Session nr 1: Introduction to life cycle thinking
1.1.1 Background to life cycle perspective
Pipe and chimney solution In the beginning of the industrial era, when the environmental impacts from production processes was first noticed, the solution to the problems were thought to be to lower the concentration of the harmful substances. Instead of releasing the emissions close to where the humans resided, pipes and chimneys were built. End-of-pipe solution Later on, people saw that the consequences of the emissions were still there, even though they did not have an acute impact on human beings any longer. The emissions and effluents were now treated with filters, chemical treatments or combustion. The wastes from the processes were now less hazardous but large amounts of it were produced. Clean process solution The next step towards environmentally friendly processes was to make the process itself cleaner and more efficient to reduce the amounts of waste sent to landfill and to lower the extraction of raw material from non-renewable resources. Product perspective Instead of this process perspective, it is now more common to have a product perspective in the environmental work. For many products, the largest environmental impact does not come from the production. As an example, a car has the most impact on the environment during the years it is used by the customer due to the fuel consumption. To make the car more environmentally friendly it will not be lucrative to make the process cleaner if the fuel consumption during use is not addressed. Phases of the life cycle The life cycle of a product consists of different phases; raw material extraction, production, use, recycling/landfill, and transports. In an ideal world, a product could be manufactured entirely from recycled material of used products. The loop would in that case be closed; no natural resources extracted, and no material sent to landfill or released as emissions; step 2,3 and 4 in the picture below would be continuously repeated. The only input needed would be the energy consumed.
1 Raw material extraction
Transport Transport

2 Production process

Emissions

Emissions

4 Recycling

Emissions

5 Landfill

3 Use of product
Transport

1

mid-point effects (acidification. from extraction of raw material. Ann-Christin Pålsson. proton release (H+aq) in the case of acidification or infrared radiative forcing (W/m2) in the case of global warming.g. The effect on the environment in each impact category is quantified through category indicators e. evaluating the potential environmental impacts. The life cycle assessment is performed by 1. to the final disposal of the product. emissions or waste. interpreting the results2 LCA can also be used to study the life cycle impact of a service. Here the word ‘product’ is used to represent both physical products and services.1. through the different refining and production processes and the use of the product. The function of the product system is quantified as a functional unit to evaluate the environmental performance of the function.1. 4. The different processes included in the product system all have their impacts due to resource extraction. defining goal and scope for the LCA. eutrophication.1. The consumer appreciates the function of the products and services and can also be aware of the environmental impacts. Process/product system Suppliers Gate to gate Use and end of life Function of product system Resource extraction Emissions and waste Emissions and waste Emissions and waste Environmental impact Impact categories/category indicators Copyright Raul Carlson. 2 ISO 14040:1997 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework 1 2 . Chalmers 1998 The environmental impact is expressed by impact categories. ozone depletion etc) or end-point effects (lessen biodiversity or shorter length of life of humans). 2. global warming. compiling an inventory of relevant inputs and outputs of a product system. 3. The impact categories can be defined at different levels. concepts and definitions LCA studies the environmental impact of a product in a life cycle perspective.2 LCA.

3 .1. Compilation of the results into the ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format. Analysis of the case to identify significant issues.1. validated and documented. System boundaries can be refined. A full impact assessment includes classification. The case material is browsed and analysed with focus on the final target audience and the purpose of the study. Definition of the goal and scope for the case. 5. The need of data and documentation is identified. Inventory.3 Work procedure for LCA The work procedure for LCA can be broken down into seven steps: 1. 4. Document the modelling and validation and supply administrative information. 7. Interpret the results with the focus defined in the goal and scope. Impact assessment. The data is collected. 3. Data is related to the functional unit. Document the product system and each included unit process. 6. 2. This step includes documentation of the definitions of the goal and scope. characterisation and weighting. Interpretation. Preparation and calculation of the inventory profile in the case.

g. or those with a reduced impact on the environment. and waste management. see 2. Strategic planning – LCA can identify the difference in payback from different investment alternatives and facilitate for the company to meet up with future legislation. Give support to organisations with life-cycle information and Design for Environment-tools and develop standards for the environmental work. Provide consumers with understandable and reliable product information.1. a critical review shall be conducted. use.4 Applications for LCA Product development and improvement – LCA can be integrated in the environmental management system as a basis for priorities made. 1. will gain widespread acceptance among the European Union's consumers.5 Exercise 1) Try to find examples of products where the largest or most detrimental environmental impacts presumably derive from the: .production .disposal 3 The European Commission presented in 2001 a so called Integrated Product Policy.5. distribution. Adapt the market to environmentally friendly products by extended producer responsibility and environmental labelling. Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) often demands LCA. for new legislation etc. It is an attempt by the European Commission to create conditions in which environment-friendly products. 4 . The objectives are: • Tools for creating the right economic and legal framework. • Giving consumers the information to decide.2. Marketing – Environmental labelling e.g. The Integrated Product Policy3 also concerns life cycle thinking.raw material acquisition . Public policy making – LCA can be used as basis for different public policy decisions.consumption . IPP focuses on those decision points which strongly influence the life cycle environmental impacts of products.1.1. It is an approach which seeks to reduce the life cycle environmental impacts of products from the mining of raw materials to production. • Promoting the application of life-cycle thinking. Other Where the study is used to support a comparative assertion that is disclosed to the public.1. e.

1. ISO/TS 14048:20024 describes the data documentation format.3.2.2. 1.2 Session nr 2: Overview of LCA and the ISO 14040 series of standards The description of how to perform an LCA in this training package is based on the ISO 14040 series of standards. The framework shows the relations between the different phases as: © ISO 1997.2. see 3. The TS is a normative document that has been approved by a majority of the ISO members and is valid for 3 years.1. According to ISO 14040 an LCA is divided into four iteratively related phases: • Goal and scope definition (described in ISO 14041:1998) • Inventory analysis (described in ISO 14041:1998) • Life cycle impact assessment (described in ISO 14042:2000) • Life cycle interpretation (described in ISO 14043:2000) The overall principles and framework is described in the ISO 14040 standard. After the 3 years it is either turned into an official standard or withdrawn. From ISO 14040:1997 ISO 14040 also describes reporting and critical review of the results. This series of standards specify which elements that shall be included in the procedure of performing an LCA study. see 2. TS stand for Technical Specification.1 ISO 14040 Principles and framework ISO 14040 The framework and principles are described in ISO14040:1997. 4 5 .

The standard states that goal and scope shall be consistent with the intended application of the LCA. petroleum. electricity and other artificially manufactured components. non-refined minerals but also emissions and effluents that are released into the environment.g. The LCA begins with the definition of the goal and scope. To better reflect the intended application. crude oil. air.g. processes and flows that are originally excluded from the studied system can later be included inside the system boundaries and vice versa. heat. 6 . Non-elementary flows are energy or material flows that are refined through technical processes. but as LCA generally is an iterative process they can be refined later in the process. The time period or the impact categories selected may also need to be refined when more information is available. The goal and scope definition is described in detail in Session nr 3. © ISO 1998. e. e. From ISO 14041:1998(E) Elementary flows are energy or material flows that are not refined by any technical process but enter or leave the system directly from/to the nature.2.2 Goal and scope definition The process to define goal and scope for the study is described in ISO 14041.1. based on interpretation of the results throughout the study.

5 7 .2. production lines.3. emissions.1 Inventory components: A product system is a collection of unit processes that are connected by intermediate flows.2 Data collection and documentation The data collection is usually the most resource consuming part of the LCA. Documentation of the data collection will assure the quality of the results and might also give reusability to the collected data. The result is the life cycle inventory (LCI) 5. The unit process is the smallest portion of a product system for which data is collected. and how to collect and handle data.2. The categories facilitate the management of the collected data. 1.3 Inventory analysis The inventory analysis is described in ISO 14041 and describes how to define the product system that performs a function.2.3. Examples are individual production processes. energy. The inventory analysis is described in detail in Session nr 4. Data categories Unit process Unit process 1. A product system can perform one or more functions. raw materials. These inputs and outputs are called LCI data will later be linked to their environmental consequences in the impact assessment part of the LCA. products. Below is a procedure for the inventory analysis derived from ISO 14041. The data categories are inputs and outputs of a unit process or product system. cradle-to-gate systems for components. transports etc. a “list” of all relevant inputs and outputs from the studied system.1. Examples are resources. waste etc. Goal and scope definition Revised data collection sheet Preparing for data collection Data collection Validation of data Relating data to unit process Relating data to functional unit Data aggregation Additional data or unit processes required Refining the system boundaries Allocation and recycling The data documentation is described in Session nr 5.

EPS. e. Mandatory elements Selection of impact categories. The impact assessment is performed by • selecting the relevant the impact categories. grouping. From ISO 14042:2000 8 .2. category indicators and characterization models • assigning the LCI results (classification) • calculating the category indicator results (characterisation) Optional elements in the impact assessment are normalisation of category indicators.1.4 Life cycle impact assessment ISO 14042:2000 describes how to assess the environmental impact of a product system from a chosen environmental perspective. Life cycle impact assessment is described in detail in Session nr 6 and 7. EDIP.g. category indicators and characterisation models Assignment of LCI results (classification) Calculation of category indicator results (characterisation) Category indicator results (LCIA profile) Optional elements Calculation of the magnitude of category indicator results to reference information (normalisation) Grouping Weighting Data quality analysis © ISO 2000. Below is the ISO 14042 structure for impact assessment. In practice this selection is implied by choice of impact assessment method. Eco-Indicator ’99. weighting and a data quality analysis.

sensitivity check .marketing . • Allow use of results and interpretation consistent with the goal and scope.5 Life cycle interpretation ISO 14043:2000 describes how to prepare for the reporting of conclusions and recommendation from the study. assumptions and limitations shall be transparent and presented in sufficient detail. From ISO 14043:2000 1. 1.2. Life Cycle Assessment framework Goal and scope definition Interpretation phase 1. data.2.product development and improvement . This is done interactively with the other phases of the LCA. Data documentation according to ISO/TS 14048 is described in detail in Session nr 5. methods. The documentation is compatible with ISO 14042 and -43. When results are to be communicated to any third party. Identification of significent issues 2. The completeness.consistency check . • Type and format of the report is defined in the scope.strategic planning . Life cycle interpretation is described in detail in Session nr 8.6 Reporting Reporting is an important part of an LCA study: • Results of the LCA are reported to the intended audience.other © ISO 2000.7 Data documentation format ISO/TS 14048 is a documentation format for data describing product systems and unit processes as described in ISO 14040 and -41. sensitivity and consistency of the study are checked. • Results. Evaluation by . In the interpretation the findings of the inventory analysis and the impact assessment are combined in a way that is consistent with the defined goal and scope in order to reach conclusions and recommendations.public policy making . a third-party report shall be prepared as a reference document.1. 9 .completeness check .other checks Inventory analysis Impact assessments Conclusions. recommendations and reporting Direct applications .2.

1. Which ISO standards describe life cycle assessment? 2. What is a product system? 10 . What are the different phases of an LCA called and what is included in each phase? 3.1.2.8 Critical review Critical review is performed to ensure that: • The methods used to carry out the LCA are consistent with the standards • The methods used to carry out the LCA are scientifically and technically valid • The data used are appropriate and reasonable in relation to the goal of the study • The interpretations reflect the limitations identified and the goal of the study • The study report is transparent and consistent The scope and type of critical review is defined in the scope phase of the LCA. If the LCA results are used for comparative assertion a critical review must be performed.9 Exercise 1.2.

1. – Describe the data categories (inputs and outputs). • Initial system boundaries – Define the product system in terms of included processes.e. functional unit and reference flow.2 Scope definition The scope is defined together with the commissioner based on the goal and available resources. marketing. – Identify the function or the product to which the assessment is related.1 Session nr 3: Goal and scope 2. 11 . 2. in terms of e. – Describe sufficiency in terms of e. • Report and critical review – Type and format of the report required for the application – Define the scope and type of critical review Each of these issues is described in detail below.2 Topic: LCA – Goal and scope definition This chapter describes the first phase of the life cycle assessment. and excluded processes. consistency and reproducibility.1. how to define the goal and scope in accordance with ISO 14041. – Describe initial assumptions and limitations – Establish criteria for inclusion of inputs and outputs (elementary flows). The scope is defined in terms of: • Function. The goal and scope should be studied carefully before reusing the results of the study in a new context. It is important that the goal is clearly defined and understood before commencing the work.g.g. • Intended audience – Acquire a clear description of the commissioner’s intended audience for the result of the study. completeness and representative qualities. LCA is an iterative process and this allow for modifications of this part later in the process if needed. precision. The goal is defined in terms of: • Intended application and reasons for carrying out the study – Acquire a clear description of the commissioner’s reasons for carrying out the study and the intended applications of the results e. – Choose initial allocation procedures – Choose methodology of impact assessment • Data quality requirements – Describe intention regarding site-specific and general process data. The usefulness of the study for other purposes than the original can be described as a separate item in the goal and scope definition. product development etc. 2. The goal and scope is defined together with the commissioner of the study and shall be clearly defined and consistent with the intended application. i.1 Goal definition The goal is defined together with the commissioner.g.

When an LCA is performed to compare two products it is important to make sure that the functions delivered by the two products are comparable. i.2. all flows are followed back to the cradle. The product system is a collection of unit processes which performs one or more functions. the inputs and outputs that cross the boundaries of the product system should be elementary flows. The functional unit is usually expressed with a reference flow. Ideally.2. Resources need not be expended on the inputs and outputs that will not significantly influence the study. It is used to compare the function produced by the product with the environmental effects from the product’s life cycle. An example is when single use items are compared to reusable items (cutlery. cups.1. Then the functional unit cannot be based on the product item but has to be based on the function (1000 meals. The functional unit is thus a measure of the functional performance of the outputs of the product system.1 Function. the reference flow for the functional unit 1 m2 painted wall can be the amount of paint needed to paint the wall based on defined characteristics for e.1. The functional unit that best describes the system in line with the goal and scope of the study is chosen.g. if e. These unit processes are connected by flows of intermediate products. 1 kg of material or 1 MJ of energy). From ISO 14041:1998(E) 12 . a sensitivity analysis shows that it is suitable.2. functional unit and reference flow The function delivered by the product system is expressed by a functional unit.g. A product system may have several functions. An appropriate reference flow for each unit process shall also be determined in order to facilitate the calculations (e.2 Initial system boundaries The system boundaries define which unit processes to be included in the studied product system and which can be excluded. coverage of paint etc. Length of life of products and services is also important to have in mind when deciding the functional unit. Mostly there will not be time or resources enough for such a comprehensive study. The quantitative input and output data of the unit process shall be calculated in relation to this reference flow. For example. 2.g. The system boundaries can be expanded or reduced later on in the study. 1000 times of use etc) to make a fair comparison. © ISO 1998. clothes etc).e.

an expert or by an interested party independent of the study. • Data sufficiency in terms of e.1. 1. That the information is presented with sufficient transparency and accuracy.g. the purpose. the critical reviewer and other information that is needed to make the report fully comprehensible. 2. The results shall be fairly. There are three types of critical review processes: • Internal expert review • External expert review • Review by interested parties Critical reviews are performed to ensure that: 1. 13 . – Results. the level of detail.2.4 Reporting There are two major issues to observe during the reporting. precision. a third-party report shall be prepared as a reference document that contains information of the commissioner.2. completeness and representative qualities.g. The methods used to carry out the LCA are consistent with the standards and scientifically and technically valid 2. The type and format of the report are defined in the scope and will be different depending on the intended audience.3 Data quality requirements Data quality requirements specify the characteristics of the data needed to enable the goal and scope of the LCA study. – The reporting shall allow use of results and interpretation in a manner consistent with the goal and scope. The limitations of the study are identified 5. the so called third party. methods. Where the study is used to support a comparative assertion that is disclosed to the public. 2. The data used are appropriate and reasonable in relation to the goal of the study 3. During the goal and scope the following should be considered and described: • Intention regarding site-specific and general process data. assumptions and limitations shall be transparently reported and presented in sufficient detail. It can be performed by e.e.g. in terms of e. the practitioner. consistency and reproducibility.1. That the report is structured after the intended purpose. The interpretations reflect the goal of the study 4. completely and accurately reported in a way that is adapted to the intended audience. The report is transparent and consistent and the type and format is addressed to the intended audience The scope describes the type of critical review desired for the study. When results are to be communicated to any third party. the parts that needs to be involved in the process etc.5 Critical review The critical review assures the quality of the study. i. a critical review is required to decrease the likelihood of misunderstandings or negative effects on external interested parties. data.2. The critical review shall however not be seen as a confirmation of the interpretations in the comparative assertion.2. 2.1. but also the scope of the critical review.

3 Exercise 1) Multiple choice tests – find the incorrect answer/answers: a) The goal definition a) is the starting point for the LCA b) should describe the data categories c) should be defined together with the commissioner d) should describe the intended application of the study b) Inputs and outputs a) from a product system are data categories b) are included or excluded in the scope c) to the studied system are always elementary flows d) can be both material flows and energy flows c) The scope a) may be changed later on in the LCA b) defines the type and format of the report c) defines the scope and type of the critical review d) describe the data quality requirements 2) Functional unit.2 kg steel strip Production of plywood Output: 1.2. cradle to gate Production of steel Output: 1 kg steel bar Hot rolling of steel strips Output: 0.025 kg steel nails Production of plywood box Output: 1 plywood box (Weight: 14 kg) 14 . several answers are possible: A.2 kg coated steel strip Production of nails Output: 0. Plywood box. Choose suitable functional units for inventorying the CO2 emissions from the following systems (CO2 emissions/functional unit). In the examples below only the outputs of products are displayed for the sake of simplicity. Functional units can be based on inputs as well as outputs.1.5 kg plywood sheet Zinc coating of steel strips Output: 0.

cradle to gate Coal extraction Output: 1 kg coal Coal combustion Output: 1 MJ Exhaust gas treatment Output: emissions [mg/hour] Waste treatment Output: emissions [mg/hour] Heat generation Output: 1 MJ Electricity generation Output: 1 MJ 15 . Energy. cradle to grave Oil extraction Output: 1 m3oil Oil refining Output: 1 m3oil Production of lubricant Output: 1 l lubricant Use of lubricant Output: 1 kg waste oil/hour Combustion of waste oil Output: emissions [mg/hour] C.B. Lubricant.

After the 3 years it is either turned into an official standard or withdrawn. and the data documentation is therefore a crucial issue. oil or uranium. coal. Energy inputs can also be materialised if traced back to the energy source e. From ISO 14041:1998 The procedure consists of the following steps: 1) Preparing for data collection 2) Data collection 3) Calculation 4) Allocation Each step is described in detail below.g.3 Topic: LCA – Inventory Analysis This chapter treats the inventory procedure described in ISO 14041 and the data documentation described in ISO/TS 140486. The reliability of the results of the LCA study is highly dependent on the reliability of the data the results are derived from. The inventory is more or less a list of all the materials in the inputs and outputs of the studied process system. The TS is a normative document that has been approved by a majority of the ISO members and is valid for 3 years.1.1 Inventory procedure The procedure of the inventory analysis according to ISO 14041 is shown below: © ISO 1998. documented with a certain data format. This phase results in life cycle inventory data (LCI-data). 3. 6 16 .1 Session nr 4: Life cycle inventory 3. TS stand for Technical Specification.

) – new modelling or estimations – external databases and literature – in-house databases and reports 3. Therefore. Flows that are of the same data category (e. CH4) of different unit processes are aggregated to produce a total value for the whole system. production sites. this is done by determining a reference flow for each unit process and normalising the data to this flow. Steps of the preparation: 1) Identify which unit processes to collect data for 2) Define data documentation requirements 3) Select data documentation format for all data 4) Author instructions for the reporters of data 5) Identify which data source to collect data from. dialogues and business agreements Process modelling. modelling from similarity. The aggregation is made to obtain the results from the inventory. etc Transparency.1. extrapolations. assure transparency and reviewability of data and reduce the time and effort needed as the knowledge is still fresh in the memory. pricing.2 Preparing for data collection In a real LCA-study the data collection has the largest importance for the usefulness of the result. etc. transparency. etc) New modelling or estimations External databases and literature In-house databases and reports Important issues: Questionnaires. applicability Secrecy.3 Data collection The data collection should begin immediately after the preparations as it is very time consuming. compare with similar data and find a way to handle missing data and data gaps.g. e. substitutes for real data. The data should be related to a unit process. A description of each unit process is important to avoid double counting or gaps. air emissions) and same substance (e.3. production sites.4 Calculation The validation of data is made continuously to see that the data collected is representative and valid for the process system it is supposed to describe. It is recommended to document the data continuously during the collection. the preparations should be carefully made to make use of the resources as efficiently as possible. This will also enable collected data to be reused in new LCA studies and for other applications. Be careful to avoid doublecounting and aggregate only if it is the same substance and the same data category! 17 . this is done by normalising the data from each unit process to the functional unit. and consumes most of the resources of the study. The methods to do this can be to use mass/energy balances. applicability. remodelling 3. In a real LCA-study different issues are important when collecting data from different data sources: Data source: Real processes (companies. reporting manuals.g.1.g. The data should also be related to the functional unit.: – real processes (companies.1. This will increase the quality. copyright.

The allocation procedure for a life cycle inventory is a little more complicated. e. A sensitivity analysis will show if there is need of improving some data or the scope of the study. Avoid allocation. An example is the aluminium can recycling system. The priority for choice of allocation procedure is as follows: 1. The materials and energy flows as well as associated environmental releases shall be allocated to the different product outputs. This can be done by dividing the process and using more detailed data or expanding the system so that co-products etc are included. 2. They reflect the way in which the inputs and outputs are changed by products or functions delivered by the system and are not necessarily in proportion to simple measurement such as the mass or molar flows of co-products. The closed loop allocation procedure also applies to an open loop recycling system where the material’s physical properties do not change in the process and the recycled material is used to substitute virgin material in another product system.Finally the system boundaries might need to be refined. 3. Few industrial processes yield only a single output and therefore the study shall identify the processes shared with other product systems. Systems where the recovered materials are used in the same application as they were used in originally are called closed loop systems. Use other relationships. Further issues arise if reuse or recycling of the product occurs. From ISO 14041:1998 18 . The inputs and outputs will have to be shared by other product systems and care must be taken to if the physical properties of recycled materials are changed.g.5 Allocation An allocation is the assignment or division of a common flow to different part processes.g.1. 3. as in e. paper or plastics recycling systems. The product system can be of closed loop or open loop type. This can be illustrated as: Technical description of a product system Material from a product system is recycled in the same product system Material from one product system is recycled in another product system Closed loop Open loop Open loop Closed loop Allocation procedures for recycling Material is recycled without change in the inherent properties Recycled material undergoes change in inherent properties © ISO 1998. Use physical relationships between inputs and outputs within the process. price or mass. When the recovered materials are used for other applications than the original it is an open loop system.

The weight of the output (product) from each unit process is documented in the flow chart below: Production of steel Weight of steel bar: 1 kg Hot rolling of steel strips Weight of strip: 0. No recycled material is used.1.025 kg Production of plywood box Total weight: 14 kg CO2 emissions from each unit process (all values are fictional): Process Production of steel Hot rolling of steel strips Zinc coating of steel strips Production of nails Production of plywood Production of plywood box CO2 emissions 1210 100 15 120 128 178 Unit g/kg steel g/kg strip g/kg coated strip g/ kg nails g/kg plywood g/plywood box 19 .6 kg of steel strips and 0.4 kg steel nails.2 kg Production of nails Weight of ten nails: 0. 2) Allocate the CO2 emissions from the steel production to the steel strips and steel nails for the plywood box.2 kg Production of plywood Weight of sheet: 1.6 Exercise 1) Normalise the unit processes to the functional unit in the example. 3) Construct a data collection form for an inventory of CO2 emissions for plywood box production. Transports are excluded. The steel producer provides both the strip manufacturer and nail manufacturer with steel.3. 1. The functional unit in this example is CO2 emissions/plywood box. 4) Why does the data need to be validated? Example: CO2 emissions from production of plywood boxes The plywood box in this example is manufactured from 12 kg of plywood.5 kg Zinc coating of steel strips Weight of coated strip: 0.

Documentation of the allocations – Allows for documentation of both allocated and unallocated data. the time of measurement (early spring 1998) etc.2 Role of documentation during the inventory The documentation is thus an important part of LCA. storage and retrieval of LCA-data without loss of transparency. the number and method of the measurements taken (3 tests close to shore.2. – Allows for documentation of decisions and processing made during the allocation.2 Session nr 5: Documentation 3. – Combines the structuring of data and documentation. if a person requests information about the concentration of lead in Swedish lakes. The documentation of data is described by ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format. 0450912.3. 3 tests at surface. A common data documentation format enables the collected data to be understood. usefulness and representativeness of the data. 3 tests at bottom aggregated to a mean value). If all this information is available. To take an example. 20 . – Structures data to facilitate validation. the person will be very interested in knowing the unit of measurement (mg/m3).1 Documentation incentives Without documentation the collected data would only be digits without meaning no matter how correct. 3.2. – Provides a framework for data questionnaires. the number of lakes investigated (seven medium-sized lakes in the south of Sweden) the competence of the practitioner (authorized governmental inspector). On the contrary. – Facilitates re-use of data in other LCA studies. – Facilitates interpretation of data from data sources. It will also facilitate the exchange. 04509 or even 0. representative or exact the measurement is. he or she will not be contented if the answer given is 0. Documentation of the calculations – Facilitates structuring of data for calculations. ISO/TS 14048 has a fundamental role during the inventory: Documentation of the data collection – Provides a format for documenting data and data processing. the value of the data is increased and the user can form a personal opinion of the quality. interpreted and reviewed.

3 Data documentation format ISO/TS 14048 The technical specification ISO/TS7 14048 is part of the ISO 14040 series of standards and specifies and describes a data documentation format.2. transportation routes etc. 21 . modelling choices describing which processes and flows that have been excluded. interpretation and review of data collection. The Process part also includes Inputs and outputs to the modelled process and a description of the properties of those. individual transports. waste management systems. product systems. production lines. which contains general and administrative information related to the administration of the documentation of the process e. From ISO/TS 14048:2002 The data documentation format for description of a process consists thus of three parts: . which contains the description of prerequisites for the modelling and the validation of the process e. documentation about the data collection etc. i. date completed. a description of properties of the modelled process with regard to technology.g. copyright etc. . After the 3 years it is either turned into an official standard or withdrawn. data quality and data reporting. individual production processes. production plants. data commissioner. 7 TS stand for Technical Specification. which contains the Process description.g.g. It supports transparent reporting. It also facilitates data exchange between data users in different contexts etc. .Modelling and validation.Process. e. Developed and structured for documentation of: Processes. data calculation. Scope of the format: Handles the documentation for all steps of an LCI.e. The TS is a normative document that has been approved by a majority of the ISO members and is valid for 3 years.Administrative information.3. unit processes and product systems descriptions – Process description – Inputs and outputs Modelling and validation Administrative information © ISO 2002. The format is intended for data documentation of processes. time-related and geographical coverage etc.

Pålsson A-C. though important. Data quality does therefore in many respects correspond to documentation quality. is not sufficient if all other aspects of data quality are explicitly not known. Chalmers University of Technology. number.4 Data quality One of the main issues with this course is to explain how to assess data quality. The quality of a dataset can only be assessed if the characteristics of the data are sufficiently documented.chalmers.2. The report may be downloaded from www. The credibility of the origin of the data concerns how ISO/TS 14048:2002 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Data documentation format Flemström K. Data quality may be defined as “characteristics on data that bears on their ability to satisfy stated requirements”. A-C Pålsson. Pålsson A-C..se 10 Carlson R. short text etc to facilitate documentation and interpretation. 1998 3. 3. Carlson. This quality aspect. The reliability of the results of the LCA study is highly dependent on the reliability of the data the results are derived from. The precision of data concerns the numerical accuracy and the uncertainty of data.chalmers. The report may be downloaded from www. Chalmers University of Technology.Structural components of the format: Each unit process is documented in a separate document.4. Documentation is divided into distinct data fields with a specified data type as date. The dimensions of data quality9 can be depicted as: © R.. Sweden. The reliability of data depends on the precision of data and the credibility of the origin of the data. Examples of documented processes can be found in Carlson&Pålsson10. Sweden. Data fields describing inputs and outputs supports calculations of LCA.. the data should be reliable. and their interrelationships (inputand output-connections).2. but also refers to documents that describe each included unit process.cpm. Data quality is needed for the data to be useful and reliable. Chalmers University of Technology. First examples of practical application of ISO/TS 14048 Data Documentation Format. A product system is documented in the same way as a unit process. For a full description of the documentation please see ISO/TS 140488 and Flemström & Pålsson9.se 9 8 22 . CPM-report 2001:8.cpm.1 Reliability To be able to draw conclusions from the result when using the data. "Introduction and guide to LCA data documentation using the CPM documentation criteria and the ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format" CPM report 2003:3.

specific formats etc.g.credible the data is determined to be. "Introduction and guide to LCA data documentation using the CPM documentation criteria and the ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format" CPM report 2003:3 23 . For any specific data set relevance can be divided into two groups.2 Accessibility Accessibility of data has generally not been considered as a quality aspect. for the data to be understood and accessible.2.2. The general issue regards that the data must describe environmentally relevant in. regards whether or not the data is relevant for the application in which it is used. If aspects regarding openness. For example. However. unless the data origin may be considered credible. For instance. secrecy. The accessibility of data concerns data communication. This may be done in many different ways such as via mail. the technology are implicit and do not generally need explanation.and outflows in a system. openness after data acquisition and semantic. terminology and other aspects regarding e. Pålsson A-C. that the data is suited for the specific application. is not solved or handled adequately. it needs to be mobile. Data sufficiently documented should ideally not need further research for the data user to be able to interpret and correctly use the data. The concept of sufficient documentation is thus very much dependant on the application and the receiver of the information. which fulfils a function.e. Data are generally acquired within a specific context.4. In order for data to be useful. Also. if the data is to be communicated to someone who operates in a different context.5 Data quality review Because data collection is such an expensive task.. The specific issue. the credibility of data depends on if the data has been acquired by someone with competence regarding the technology and the system that is described by the data. The semantic aspect of data is also a vital component of the accessibility of data.2. if the data is not relevant for the context in which it will be used it is not useful. it is more economic to reuse data already collected. than if the data is acquired by someone who is not situated at the plant and is not familiar with the process. A data quality review is needed before a dataset is used by another person than the one that created it. the terminology and other implicit aspects must be explicitly explained. If the data cannot be transparently reviewed it is impossible to assess its credibility. i. Data communication may however only be done depending on the openness after data acquisition. 3. i. e. any statement regarding precision is useless. Credibility may be achieved through transparency and competence.3 Relevance Regardless of all other aspects of data quality.4. 3.11 11 Flemström K. expressed by a functional unit or a functional flow. In practice the general ambition for documentation may vary depending on for what the data will be used and within which contextual environment the data will be communicated. a data set describing a specific plant would generally be considered more credible if the data is acquired by someone working within the plant and well familiar with the process.e. When the data are communicated within this specific context. 3. but more as a general problem in LCA.g. questionnaires. Data communication is an important aspect of accessibility. general (suited for LCA) and specific (suited for a specific application). if the data is not accessible for the data users no other quality aspects can be considered. it needs to be efficiently communicated between the data suppliers and the data users. the accessibility of data will be obstructed. for example within a company. to form an opinion of the reliability and the relevance of the data. However. and most LCA practitioners do reuse data from previous studies retrieved from LCI databases or other sources.

2. the following data quality requirements should be considered when performing an LCA: • time related coverage • geographical coverage • technology coverage Also. and the following parameters should be considered at an appropriate level of detail: • precision • completeness • representativeness • consistency • reproducibility A dataset documented in the ISO/TS 14048 format is sufficiently documented to make a review of these quality requirements possible. 3. further descriptors to define the nature of the data should be given. The ISO 14041 requirements may be used as a guideline when assessing the quality of a dataset documented in another format.6 Exercise 1) Which parts is the documentation of processes divided into? 2) How can data quality be assessed? 24 .According to ISO 14041.

e. etc. From ISO 14042:2000 1) The first step is the selection of impact categories. category indicators and characterisation models. i. all inventoried inputs and outputs are related to their environmental consequences and the impact is assessed. These factors are equivalence factors based on scientific conclusions of how large the impact on the category indicator is from a certain substance. The calculation results in the contribution to the impact on each category indicator. Thus the impact assessment can never be entirely objective. EPS. has already been made. In practice this calculation is performed by multiplying the LCI-results with characterization factors. e. In this phase of the LCA. 25 . 2) Step number two is the assignment of the LCI results to impact categories (classification).4 Topic: LCA – Impact assessment The life cycle impact assessment is described in ISO 14042. This is the mandatory part of the impact assessment. Mandatory elements Selection of impact categories. It is important to document the subjective choices that are made in the selection. In practice this selection is implied by choice of impact assessment method. measures of how large the environmental impact from the process system is on each impact category or category indicator results.1 Session nr 6: Mandatory elements of the impact assessment 4. The characterisation factors are also provided by the impact assessment method.1.g. The result when these three steps have been performed is an life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) profile. 4.1 Mandatory elements The impact assessment assigns the results from the inventory to impact categories or classes of environmental problems. 3) The third step is the calculation of category indicator results (characterization). EDIP and Eco-Indicator ’99. Below is the structure for impact assessment according to ISO 14042. where the selection of impact categories. This assignment is in practice also implied by choice of impact assessment method. It is important to be aware of that a problem will only exist if there is a person that experiences it as a problem. category indicators and characterisation models Assignment of LCI results (classification) Calculation of category indicator results (characterisation) Category indicator results (LCIA profile) © ISO 2000. The result is an LCIA profile that may optionally be further treated by normalisation. grouping and/or weighting.

unless there is a serial mechanism. while e. 26 . Some substances will contribute to one exclusive impact category while others might contribute to two or more.1.1 Selection of impact categories Impact categories can describe environmental impacts on different levels. The characterisation converts the assigned LCI results to the common unit of the category indicator.1. The severity of the impact varies for equal amounts of two substances. eutrophication. kg SO2 / litre of lubricant produced. CH4 is a worse green house gas than CO2. 4. the substances on the list from the inventory are assigned to the impact category that they affect. where the contribution to proton release of 1 kg of SO2 is compared to the contribution from 1 kg of HCl.2 Classification In the classification step. One alternative is to use the effect on nature like acidification. time and resources.g.3 Characterisation The characterisation model describes how strong the effect on the environment is from a certain input or output from the inventory.1. like lessen biodiversity or shorter length of life of humans (end-point effects). global warming. In the example below the LCI results are normalised to the functional unit of the whole study. SOx emissions on the other hand. The impact category “global warming” has usually kg of CO2 as common unit. will contribute to both impairment of human health and acidification. the number of which varies. and the flow will be allocated between the two impact categories. Acidification is chosen for impact category and the SO2 emissions are assigned to this category. The LCI-results are in practice multiplied with the characterisation factors to become LCIA results. 4. NOx emissions may contribute to both acidification and ground-level ozone formation in turn and the total flow will be assigned to both of these two categories. The characterisation model describes how strong the effect on the environment is from a certain substance compared to other substances in the same impact category. The characterisation model is included in the impact assessment methods.4. As an example. The next step is the characterisation.g. This means that 1 kg of CH4 has the same impact as 4 kg of CO2. ozone depletion etc (mid-point effects). As an example. Category indicators are quantified measures that are representative for an impact category. 1 kg of H2SO4 etc with help from characterisation factors.1. The characterisation factor for CO2 is hence 1. The refinement of the method must however be thoroughly documented to keep the reliability. The work with associating the use of a resource or the outlet of an emission to environmental problems like extinction of species is thorough and requires scientific knowledge.1. The flows of the substances must in the latter case be allocated between the different impact categories. It is however possible to refine the classification step of the chosen impact assessment method after own knowledge of local conditions.1. e. CH4 has 4. Another alternative is to use the consequences these effects will have. In the Eco Indicator ’99 method there are three impact categories: Impact category Ecosystem Quality Human Health Resources Category indicator Potentially disappeared fraction DALY (Disability Adjusted Life Years) Resource damage Unit PDF*m2*yr person*year MJ/kg Other impact assessment methods have other impact categories. but these impact categories are parallel mechanisms.

2 Exercise 1) Manual characterisation A company wants to compare their old Product A with a new Product B that they have developed as a more environmentally friendly alternative.0000727 Unit kg MJ kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg 27 .0687 0.0000982 0.67 0. Product A Resources Name Crude oil (resource) Hard coal (resource) Lead ore Nickel ore Zinc in ore Emissions to air Methylene chloride Methane Copper Lead Cadmium Benzene Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde CO2 Chloroform Amount 5.0586 0.896 0.1.869 0.© ISO 2000 From ISO 14042:2000 4.009717 0.5348 0.0001786 0.007862 0. cradle-to-grave.655 0.262 0.00186 0. All values are normalised to the functional unit. of the two products are presented below.000197 0.001937 1. The results from a life cycle inventory.

91E-05 2.38E-05 2.02E-06 1.006214 0.786 0.53E+00 6.78E-05 4.00164 0.02E-04 1.5348 0. and/or resources (Resource damage [MJ/kg]). and make a statement if the new product really is more environmentally friendly! Impact assessment information: Source Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Air emissions Fossil fuel extraction Fossil fuel extraction Fossil fuel extraction Mineral extraction Mineral extraction Mineral extraction Name Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde Cadmium CO2 Chloroform Methylene chloride Nitrous oxide Methane Copper Lead Cadmium Benzene Pentachlorophenol Crude oil (resource) Hard coal (resource) Natural gas (resource) Lead ore Nickel ore Zinc in ore Characterization factor 5.85E-01 4.86E-04 2.85 0.36E-00 1.88 5.282 0.000837 2.77E-00 1.59E-03 7. Multiply the LCI-results with the characterisation factor for the impact category.5698 0.000128 0.36E-07 2.348 0.23E-04 4.00789 Unit kg MJ kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg Emissions to air Methylene chloride Methane Copper Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde CO2 Nitrous oxide Pentachlorophenol Use the table below to associate the substances with the impact categories ecosystem quality (Potentially disappeared fraction [PDF*m2*yr]).44E-05 8.95E-01 1.551 0. human health (Disability Adjusted Life Years [person*year]).24E-04 Unit DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg DALY/kg PDF m2 yr/kg PDF m2 yr/kg PDF m2 yr/kg PDF m2 yr/kg PDF m2 yr/kg MJ/kg MJ/MJ MJ/MJ MJ/kg MJ/kg MJ/kg 28 .39E-05 1.00572 0.48E-03 2.Product B Resources Name Natural gas (resource) Hard coal (resource) Nickel ore Zinc in ore Amount 1.36E-05 5.

e. Category indicator results (LCIA profile) Optional elements Calculation of the magnitude of category indicator results to reference information (normalisation) Grouping Weighting Data quality analysis © ISO 2000.1 Optional elements In addition to the mandatory parts of impact assessment.658 895 258 8963 4658 58 Unit kg kg person*year person*year kg kg This information might be difficult to interpret and make use of due to lack of time. organizations and societies may have different preferences of the display of the results and might want to normalise/group/weigh them differently. In practice the weighting is performed by assignment of the set of category indicators to a weighting method.e.4. calculating the magnitude of category indicator results relative to reference information. group impact categories • Weighting. From ISO 14042:2000 29 .e. This can for example be done for comparison with a reference system.2. i.e. knowledge etc. identify significant contributors and major uncertainty and sensitivity. • Data quality analysis. It is essential that these actions are transparently documented since other individuals. i. i. there are some optional elements to facilitate the interpretation of results: • Normalisation. quantitatively prioritize between impact categories. • Grouping.2 Session nr 7: Optional elements of the impact assessment 4. i. The optional elements of the impact assessment can make the information more accessible. The category indicator results deriving from the mandatory parts of the impact assessment may look like: Impact categories Depletion of element reserves Depletion of fossil reserves Life expectancy Nuisance Crop production capacity Production capacity of water Category indicators Cu reserves [kg Cu] Natural gas reserves [kg] Years of lost life [person*year] Nuisance [person*year] Crop production capacity [kg] Production capacity of irrigation water [kg] Amount 1.

1. 4.1 Normalisation The normalisation is a calculation of the relative magnitude of the LCIA results from a comparison with reference information. E. medium and low priority. This will help understand the relative significance of each indicator result in the study.2. such as a given alternative product system The normalised results will provide information that is displayed the way the information was asked for.g. e. Human Health and Resources. e. or give an answer to if the new product system is more environmentally friendly than the old one. For the impact assessment method Eco Indicator ’99. therefore grouping or ranking may be unnecessary.g. This element contains also the ranking of impact categories in a given hierarchy.g.g. In practice all LCIA results are divided with a reference value that can be e. It can also be a first check of consistency. Ecosystem Quality.: the total use of resource or emissions for a given area.2 Grouping Grouping is the assignment of impact categories into different groups. Some examples of the content of the five groups: Group Abiotic stock resource Impact categories Depletion of element reserves Depletion of fossil reserves Depletion of mineral reserves Human health impact Production capacity of ecosystem Life expectancy Nuisance Crop production capacity Production capacity of water Base cat-ion capacity Bio-diversity impact Cultural and recreation value Extinction of species Defined when needed Category indicators Cu reserves [kg Cu] Natural gas reserves [kg] Bauxite reserves [kg] Years of lost life [person*year] Nuisance [person*year] Crop production capacity [kg] Production capacity of irrigation water [kg] Base cat-ion capacity [H+ mole equivalent] Normalised extinction of species [dimensionless] Defined when needed 30 . A sensitivity analysis may provide additional information about the choice of reference value or baseline. use of resource and emissions or global regional and local spatial scales. how much of the environmental deterioration in an area that is caused by the investigated product system.1. The EPS impact assessment method on the other hand has many different impact categories that are grouped together in five groups to make the method easier to grasp.2. high. regional.4. which may be global. national or local the total use of resource or emissions for a given area on a per capita-basis or similar measurement a baseline scenario. there are only three impact categories.

The conclusions were that IEF/EcoIndicator99/Korean and EPS/EDIP were similar but the two group’s results differed to a large extent12. They were the IEF. “weighting factors”. 4. simply. Sweden and Denmark respectively. the Netherlands.4 Comparison of weighting methods The subjectivity of the weighting methods can be shown by a comparative example. Instead of displaying the results as • 3.1.5 MJ depleted resources • 20 PDF*m2*yr potentially disappeared fraction species • 15 person*years of disability for human beings these impact categories are weighted compared to each other.2. The weighting factors of Eco Indicator ’99 are based on decisions from an expert panel.g. Korea. contributing with less than 5% of the total environmental impact. A subjective and quantitative priority is given of the relative severity of different impact categories. EDIP is a Danish method where the weighting model is based on the distance to political targets. It is important to remember that the trade-offs between environmental impacts are always subjective. Virginia 31 .4.1. In a case study on LCA of printed circuit boards.3 Weighting Weighting is the converting of the results of each impact category to a comparable unit with value-based numerical factors or. if resource depletion is worse than extinct species. The judgments of the severity of the impact from the different components are seen in the figure below: 12 The results were presented at the International Conference & Exhibition on Life Cycle Assessment of April 25 – 27 2000. The available impact assessment methods usually have some kind of weighting model. All weighting methods and operations used shall be documented to provide transparency. EPS is a Swedish method where the weighting model is based on surveys and interviews with people in the OECD countries of their willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid certain environmental impacts. e. Korean. EcoIndicator99. The Eco Indicator ’99 has the following priority: Impact Category Human Health Ecosystem Quality Resources Weighting factor 400 400 200 Unit ECO 99 unit/DALY ECO 99 unit/PDF m2 yr ECO 99 unit/MJ Using these weighting factors: • Resource depletion stands for 3. EPS and EDIP methods.5 x 200 = 700 ECO 99 units • Extinct species 20 x 400 = 8 000 ECO 99 units • Disability adjusted life years 15 x 400 = 6 000 ECO 99 units This means in this case that resource depletion is viewed as a minor problem. from Finland. Arlington.2. impact assessments were performed with each of the different methods. Noh and Lee of the Environmental Engineering Department of Ajou University in Korea has studied five different environmental impact assessment methods.

safety margins or risks 6) The relevance of the impact assessment is also limited by lacks of scientific knowledge and data gaps 32 . in the setting of political targets and how they are ranked by the public when it comes to pay extra money for an environmental sound product. category indicators and characterization models as well as in normalization. but assess the issues that are identified in the goal and scope 2) value-choices are used in the selection of impact categories.2.5 Limitations of LCIA Some limitations of the impact assessment which are important to be aware of: 1) the LCIA is not a complete assessment of all the environmental issues of the product system. 4. grouping and weighting 3) LCIA combines emissions or activities over space and/or time and this may diminish the environmental relevance of the indicator result 4) the characterization model contains simplifying assumptions of the corresponding environmental mechanism 5) LCIA results do not predict impacts on category endpoints.There is thus a difference in how environmental problems are ranked in expert panels.1. exceeding of thresholds.

Ecosystem damage and Resource depletion. Human health 50 40 DALY 30 20 10 0 s R es p.2.4. or ga ni cs R es p. Grouped results The category indicator results are divided into the groups.2 Exercise 1) Interpreted results Consider what type of information that is disclosed and that is hidden in the presentations of the results from an LCA study of fridges below. Human health. in or ga ni cs C li m at e ch an ge ar ci no ge n ad ia tio n ep le ti o n Fridge 1 Fridge 2 R O Ecosystem damage 10000000 8000000 PDF*m2yr 6000000 4000000 2000000 0 Ecotoxicity Acidification/ Eutrophication Land use zo ne la ye rd C Fridge 1 Fridge 2 Resource depletion 25000000 20000000 MJ surplus 15000000 10000000 5000000 0 Minerals Fossil fuels Fridge 1 Fridge 2 33 .

00E+09 2.00E+00 ns .00E+09 1. C R Weighted results The results are weighted with the EcoIndicator ‘99 method: 1 DALY 1 PDF*m2yr 1 MJ Weighted impact: 5.00E+09 ECO 99 3.00E+09 0.Normalised results The product (Fridge nr 2) is compared with the old product (Fridge nr 1) according to the formula (New fridge – Old fridge) / Old fridge * 100 = % change. ic s in or ga C ni lim cs at e ch an ge O zo R ad ne ia la t io ye n rd Ac ep id le ifi tio ca n Ec tio ot n/ ox Eu ici t ro ty ph ic at io n La nd us e M in er al Fo s ss il fu el s og e 400 ECO 99 400 ECO 99 200 ECO 99 Ac id ifi -100 R C lim er Fridge 1 Fridge 2 ar c C in R es p The impact categories are sorted after their impact and the scale is adjusted to show the categories with minor impact: R 34 . 200 150 100 % change 50 0 -50 et io n Ec ca ot tio ox n/ ici Eu ty t ro ph ic at io n La nd us e M in er al s Fo ss il fu el s ns s ic s e an ic no ge rg an an g at io n de pl or g ad i ch New fridge ar ci in o es p.00E+09 4.o rg es an p. at e R O zo n e la y es p.

50E+08 2.00E+08 1.i no rg an ic s ns ar ci no ge Ozone layer depletion Fridge 2 Fridge 1 Fridge 2 Fridge 1 at i de on R pl es et p.00E+04 1.00E+04 0.00E+03 1.ECO 99 20 30 40 ECO 99 ECO 99 O zo ne la y R er ad i 10 0.o rg an ic s an g e ch at io ad i Radiation R C lim at e C R es p .00E+07 1. organics Fridge 2 Fridge 1 35 .00E+00 5.00E+08 0 O zo R ne la y er de pl et io n n es p .50E+04 2.00E+00 5. i or on C ga lim ni at cs e ch an C ar ge ci R no es p. ge in ns or ga ni Ac L a cs id ifi nd ca us tio e n/ M in Eu er t ro al s ph ic at io n Resp.

Characterisation. There are three key elements in the interpretation: 1) identification of the significant issues based on the results of the LCI and LCIA phases of LCA.1. This is the phase where the results are checked and evaluated to see that they are consistent with the goal and scope and that the study is complete. The results from this phase are conclusions. 2) Evaluation where different checks are performed with regard to completeness. consistency. sensitivity. check and evaluate the results from the three previous phases of the LCA. recommendations and reports. sensitivity and consistency • Conclude. Weighting • For each consecutive result: • Identify significant issues • Evaluate with regard to e. Communication with the commissioner is also an important part of this phase.g. recommend and report based on the findings from the interpretation. The roles and responsibilities of the different interested parties should be described and taken into account. recommendations and reports. The relationship with the other phases of the LCA is depicted below: 36 .1 Elements of life cycle interpretation Life cycle interpretation is a systematic procedure to identify. recommendations and reporting All interpretations are made in accordance with the goal and scope. System boundaries.1 Session nr 8: Life cycle interpretation 5. The life cycle interpretation is an iterative procedure both within the interpretation phase itself and with the other phases of the LCA. all transparently documented. these results should also be described. The process of interpretation is meant to progress simultaneously with the other phases in the LCA and not only afterwards. The practical procedure when performing interpretation is as follows: • Interpret each consecutive result of the LCA separately: • Inventory analysis: Data. 3) conclusions. The life cycle interpretation will result in analyses. qualify.5 Topic: LCA – Interpretation The life cycle interpretation is described in ISO 14043. conclusions. 5. If a critical review has been conducted. This is performed by identifying and structuring information and determining the significant issues. LCI results • Impact assessment: Classification. and other issues. completeness.

recommendations and reporting Direct applications . as where to draw the line between significant and nonsignificant for example. allocations.marketing . transportation. They can be structured after the life cycle phases. The significant issues should be determined in accordance with the goal and scope definition and interactively with the evaluation.1. Evaluation by . bar diagrams or other appropriate forms. The identified significant issues can be: Inventory data types: Energy consumption Emissions to air Emissions to water Waste Impact categories: Resource use Global warming potential Eutrophication Extinct species Life cycle stages: Raw material extraction Production Transportations Disposal The identification of significant issues is depending on the chosen impact assessment method but also subjective decisions. These decisions and choices must therefore be documented properly to give transparency to the identification process. different processes (energy supply.sensitivity check . type of environmental impact or after other criteria. They may be on the form of data lists.public policy making . raw material extraction etc). The interaction will assure awareness of assumptions. All results from the previous stages shall be gathered and consolidated.product development and improvement . Identification of significent issues 2. tables. From ISO 14043:2000 5. selections and other decisions taken in the study.2 Identification of significant issues The identification of the significant issues is the element where the results from the LCI and the LCIA phases are structured.other checks Inventory analysis Impact assessments Conclusions. 37 .other © ISO 2000.strategic planning .consistency check . cut-offs.Life Cycle Assessment framework Goal and scope definition Interpretation phase 1.completeness check .

regional and temporal differences. b) or c). allocation rules and impact assessment. allocation methods.1. recommendations and reporting The conclusions and recommendations are formed after the intended audience and application-oriented requirements of the LCA or LCI study. can be understood and reliable. This element is especially important when different alternatives are compared so that significant differences. In the sensitivity check. see 1. the reasons for this should be recorded. A thorough analysis of the data quality requirements. system boundaries. 38 . The preceding phases might need to be revisited to fill the gap.5. the assumptions and the predefined values need to be made. If the decision is made that the information is not necessary.4 Conclusions. recommendations to decision-makers are made to reflect a logical and reasonable consequence of the conclusions. assumptions. sensitivity and consistency etc c) draw preliminary conclusions and check that these are consistent with the requirements of the goal and scope of the study d) if the conclusions are consistent.3 Evaluation The purpose with the evaluation is to enhance the reliability of the study by analysing the result with the following measures: Completeness check Sensitivity check Consistency check Uncertainty analysis Assessment of data quality In the completeness check. The conclusions are drawn from an iterative loop with the other elements of the interpretation phase in the sequence that follows: a) identify the significant issues b) evaluate the methodology and results for completeness. or the lack of them. When the final conclusions of the study are drawn. 5. Otherwise return to previous steps a). data quality. The uncertainty analysis and the quality assessment of the data will give a picture of the reliability of the information that is used in the study. any missing or incomplete information will be analysed to see if the information is necessary to satisfy the goal and scope of the study. report as full conclusions.2.1. unbiased and transparent account of the study. or alternatively the goal and scope can be adjusted. Some relevant issues to check can be. The evaluation should be done interactively with the other phases in the LCA. it is investigated how the results are affected by uncertainties in the data. calculation procedures etc. The consistency of the used methods and the goal and scope of the study is checked.6 for more information. The report shall give a complete.

092308 0. B) 0.5 Eco-points. What are the consequences of if the line between significant and non-significant issues has been drawn at: A) 0.088407 3. LCA studies can be divided into three types.5 Types of LCA studies Depending on the application in which the LCA study will be used. 5.058688 39 . 0. different requirements are put on the study.30141 1. Descriptive Application types: Data needs: Product development Marketing Supply-chain information Generic cradle-to-gate data Comparison or change oriented Forecasting Product improvement Strategic planning Strategic planning Public policy making Public policy making Focus on elements that are different in alternatives Focus on description of product system scenarios When results from an LCA study are used in another context than the original is it important to identify the original goal and scope and consider what implications it may have on the results.24853E-03 0.24743E-04 2.5 ELU.5208312 0. descriptive.60736E-02 0.5. 0. The type also determines the data needs. A Inflows Crude oil (resource) Hard coal (resource) Lead ore Nickel ore Zinc in ore Outflows Methylene chloride Methane Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde CO2 Chloroform Cadmium Copper Lead Benzene 0.1.396981 5.05 Eco-points. 1 ELU.1 Eco-points. or forecasting. Which type of LCA that is performed depends on the application in which the results will be used.1.08241 2. comparison or change oriented.1 ELU.6 Exercise 1) Choice of significant aspects: Investigate the two LCIA profiles below.45496E-04 2.56668E-03 2.91853E-06 0. 0.68232E-05 Eco-points 0.5301 0.54184E-02 3.

5348 0. marketing or strategic planning.0586 0.896 0.262 0.655 0.007862 2) Explain why the data needs differ depending on if the LCA has been made for product development.67 0.B Life cycle phases Raw material extraction Energy production Production process Transports Air emissions Sewage treatment Solid waste treatment ELU 5. 40 .

Information source Design department Type of information Material contents Expected life time Function Raw material Energy consumption Emissions Waste and spill Suppliers of raw materials and transports Supply chain alternatives Use scenarios Distribution Significant issues Future scenarios Business segment average data Production management Purchasing department Marketing department Industry associations In addition to information specific for the study. These information sources can provide: Methodological experiences General data Specific data Comparisons/Benchmarking data 41 . Information specific for the study can be acquired from different sources within the area of investigation.1 Introduction The different support sources have been divided after which problem they will help to solve: Information support – sources for the data collection Competence support – support with the performance of the study Supportive tools – structure and guidelines for the work Impact assessment methods – ready-made methods for the impact assessment LCA software – structure and management of the information LCI databases – general data collected for other LCA studies 6. See the table below for which type of information that can be acquired from which source. and should not be seen as a complete list of available support. other information sources may have to be used such as previous relevant LCA studies. 6.6 Topic: Tools and support This chapter aims to give a view of the support that is available when you are going to make your own LCA studies in the future.2 Information support When performing LCA information from different sources is needed. is meant as an informative aid. It is not a study session.1. LCI databases and IA databases.1.

4 Supportive tools There are various tools to help with the practical work in the LCA study. Competence Universities Type of support Theoretical experience Sounding board Practical experiences Practical advice Sounding board Sharing of data Perform full LCAs under guidance of commissioner Providing data Practical experiences Practical advice Sounding board Perform full LCAs under guidance of commissioner and experienced practitioner Establishment of a competence-network Expert consultants General technical consultants 6. Consider what is available within the industrial sector and within similar sectors Consider what is available within the industrial sector and within similar sectors Use tools appropriate with the purpose of the study.6.3 Competence support External sources can also provide competence support that can help the inexperienced LCA practitioner make efficient use of available resources and avoid mistakes. The ISO standards and other guidelines can give advice on how the work may be performed. Tool The ISO standards Support Contains the relevant specifications and criteria.1. Data administration tools will give a structure of the management and documentation of the information that is collected in the study.1. To be used consistently as rules and guidelines. Guidelines and manuals Questionnaires and other data administration tools Analysis tools and software 42 . Ensures that LCA studies are made in line with international agreements.

1997). Developed by Mark Goedkopf et al. Distance to Target (DtT). or the area of a nation are chosen as control volumes. Developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.1. Forests and Landscape.pre. A watershed. Technical University of Denmark with and five leading Danish companies.epfl.ch/impact (Schmidt-Bleek. normalization and weighting. Lausanne (EPFL). see: http://www. and maintained by Pré consultants. Replaces the CML method 1992. normalization and weighting.5 Impact assessment methods There are many different weighting methods and the list below is not complete.dk/ Includes characterization. University of Leiden. at Technical Environmental Planning/Centre for Environmental Assessment of Products and Material Systems. Housing and the Environment and was co-funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and BUWAL. depending on the scale of the effect Eco-indicator ‘99 The Netherlands 1999 EDIP (Environmental Design in Product Development) Denmark 1996 EPS (Environmental Priority Strategy) Sweden 2000 Impact 2002+ Switzerland 2002 MIPS-measure Scarcity Switzerland 1994 1997 43 .nl/eco-indicator99/ The Eco-indicator project was run under commission of the Dutch Ministry of Spatial Planning. Eacceptable. Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. see: http://www.6. In this method. A short description is given here together with a literature reference so that the reader can get more information about the methods that are interesting. normalization and weighting. The EPS 2000 default method is an update of the 1996 version. Developed at the Institute for Product Development. Switzerland. the Swiss Agency for the Environment. an airshed. 2001.lca-center. represents the absorption capacity of an environmental compartment for a particular pollutant. the sum of 'points' from all Stressors gives a measure of the total environmental impact (Abbe et al. Includes characterization. Name CML 2 baseline method (2001) Country The Netherlands Year 1992 Information Includes characterization and normalization. UBP score = (relative emissions)(scarcity factor) =E/Eacceptable * E total / Eacceptable * E+12 The critical flow or maximum acceptable pollution load. Includes characterization. EDIP is being updated at the moment. http://www. Developed at the Centre for Environmental Studies (CML). 1994) The total mass flow is used as an overall measure. Developed by Bengt Steen et al.

lcait. Germany. More information is found at http://www.com/ LCAiT is developed and maintained by CIT Ekologik.php 2001 Prototype of free web-based LCA-software developed by IMI at Chalmers University of Technology. Below are some examples: Name EcoLab GaBi LCAiT 1992 Year first developed 1995 Information EcoLab is maintained by Nordic Port. The software allows documentation in ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format.se/ SimaPro TEAM 1990 WWLCAW 44 .6 LCA software There are various LCA software products on the market from different suppliers.se/ecolab/ GaBi 4 is maintained by PE Europe.com/ SimaPro is maintained by PRé Consultants. More information is found at: http://workshop.chalmers.nl/simapro/ TEAM is developed and maintained by Ecobilan. Netherlands More information is found at http://www.6.com/uk_team. Sweden.1. Sweden. France More information is found at: http://www.gabi-software. More information is found at http://www.imi.pre.ecobilan. Sweden.port. PriceWaterhouseCoopers. More information is found at http://www.

materials.ch/ IVAM LCA Data 4 consists of about 1350 processes. transportation. chemicals.6. The database includes information about energy. http://www. http://www.6 about data quality review. training and consultancy firm of the Universiteit van Amsterdam.1.0 IVAM 1350 SPINE@CPM ~500 The Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories under the leadership of EMPA. see 3. The database is maintained by IVAM which is the environmental research. which is valid for Swiss and Western European conditions. waste disposal. Name No of items ~2500 Information Ecoinvent Data v1. The database is maintained by IMI at Chalmers University of Technology for the Centre for Environmental Assessment of Product and Material Systems (CPM). transportation. http://www.ivam. in environmental aspects of materials. have combined and extended different Swiss LCI databases in the Ecoinvent 2000 project. The sets of LCI data include the areas of energy.7 LCI databases LCI data needs to be sufficiently documented to make them suitable for reuse in other contexts than the original. detergents.2.nl/ SPINE@CPM the Swedish national LCI database.globalspine.ecoinvent. etc and is both available in SPINE and ISO/TS 14048 formats. leading to more than 350 materials.com/ 45 . which is quality reviewed. construction. papers and agriculture.

bulky non-biodegradable materials.7 Answers to exercises Topic 1. Consumption: Engines. setup of system boundaries Inventory – compilation of an inventory of relevant inputs and outputs of included processes Impact assessment – evaluation of the potential environmental impact of the studied system Interpretation – conclusions from and evaluation of the study 3) A product system is a collection of unit processes connected by flows of intermediate products which performs one or more defined functions. Topic 1. motor vehicles etc. 14042. 14043. 14041. the scope describes the data categories. and cannot be defined solely in terms of the final products. Topic 2. energy intense products etc. rare metals etc. c) all answers are correct! 46 . Session nr 3 Page 14 1) a) b is wrong. 14048 2) Goal and scope definition – analysis of the task and the application of the results. The essential property of a product system is characterised by its functions. Production: Single use items. Disposal: Non-biodegradable single use items. products containing heavy metals etc. inputs can be refined flows and outputs can leave to another technical system. Session nr 2 Page 10 1) 14040. b) c is wrong. Session nr 1 Page 4 1) Raw material acquisition: Products made from fossil resources.

4 kg nails/plywood box x 120 g/ kg nails) 1536 (12 kg plywood/box x 128 g/ kg plywood) 178 (1 box x 178 g/ plywood box) Unit g/plywood box g/plywood box g/plywood box g/plywood box g/plywood box g/plywood box 47 .6 kg strips/plywood box x 100 g/kg strip) 24 (1. kg CO2 emission/m3 extracted oil g CO2 emission/m3 refined oil g CO2 emission/l lubricant mg CO2 emission/l lubricant g CO2 emission/kg lubricant g CO2 emission/hour of use g CO2 emission/kg combusted waste oil etc C.2) Possible functional units depending on the goal and scope of the study: A.6 kg strips/plywood box x 15 g/kg strip) 48 (0. g CO2 emission/plywood box kg CO2 emission/plywood box kg CO2 emission/year g CO2 emission/kg plywood box g CO2 emission/kg plywood g CO2 emission/plywood sheet g CO2 emission/kg steel etc B. g CO2 emission/kg extracted coal g CO2 emission/kg of combusted coal g CO2 emission/MJ combustion heat kg CO2 emission/hour g CO2 emission/MJ generated heat g CO2 emission/MJ generated electricity g CO2 emission/MJ total generated energy Topic 3. Session nr 4 Page 19 1) Normalised CO2 emissions: Process Production of steel Hot rolling of steel strips Zinc coating of steel strips Production of nails Production of plywood Production of plywood box CO2 emissions 2420 (2 kg steel/plywood box x 1210 g/ kg steel) 160 (1.

product etc. accessibility (e.g. valid for the time and geographical boundaries. competent data collection). Data quality does therefore in many respects correspond to documentation quality. prod.4 kg of steel nails in a plywood box. The allocation is done on weight basis: CO2 emissions allocated to steel strips: 1.g. The dimensions of data quality can be divided into reliability (e.6 kg of steel strips and 0. 48 . Modelling and validation and Administrative information.g. 2) The characteristics of the data have to be sufficiently documented if an assessment of the quality is going to be made. derived from publications etc) reference to the data source the measured value the unit The data must be validated to ensure that the collected data is representative for the studied system. Session nr 5 Page 24 1) Process. A total of 2 kg of steel need to be produced. of plywood etc) the collection date the collection method (on-site measurement. of steel. suitability for other application than the original). Topic 3. which will lead to emissions of 2420 g of carbon dioxide.6 kg steel strips x 2420 g CO2 = 1936 g CO2 2 kg manufactured steel CO2 emissions allocated to steel nails: 0. and that the units have been understood correctly.4 kg steel nails x 2420 g CO2 2 kg manufactured steel 3) • • • • • • • 4) = 484 g CO2 The information that is important to collect will be: type of flow (raw material. in this case it is an emission) short description of the process ( prod. structure for data management) and relevance (e.2) There are 1.

0000000 0.02E-06 1.24E-04 Resource damage 1.36E-07 0.39E-05 4. Session nr 6 Page 27 1) The inputs and outputs from the life cycle of Product A are assigned to their respective impact category that can be deduced from the table with impact assessment information. The cadmium emission is the only flow that contributes to two impact categories. half the amount is assigned to DALY and half to PDF.0003014 0.869 0. This gives values for the resource damage.59E-03 1.02E-04 1.0586 0.0000254 0.0000000 0.0520831 0.0005301 0.0000005 0.44E-05 1.88 2.78E-05 4. The amount of each flow is multiplied with their respective characterisation factor.0000001 0.0000491 0.0000261 0.000197 0.53E+00 6. In lack of more detailed knowledge.67 0. disability adjusted life years and potential disappeared fraction that derives from the production of Product A.0687 0 PDF 2.0000491 0.0000923 0. and the LCIA results of each impact category are added separately.001937 1.0004306 0.36E-05 5.262 Characterisation factor LCIA result 7.0039698 0.0000000 0.007862 0.0000587 0.Topic 4.0000884 0.00186 0.0000727 0 49 .91E-05 2.0040577 0.23E-04 2.0000824 0.0001786 0.655 0.5348 0 0.77E+00 5.009717 0.86E-04 8.0000000 0.896 0.36E+00 1.48E-03 DALY Pentachlorophenol Cadmium (1/2) Copper Lead Benzene 0 0.95E-01 5.0000022 0.0007109 Methylene chloride Methane Cadmium (1/2) Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde CO2 Chloroform Nitrous oxide 0. Name Crude oil (resource) Hard coal (resource) Natural gas (resource) Lead ore Nickel ore Zinc in ore Amount (LCI-result) 5.38E-05 2.0000026 0.85E-01 4.0000000 0.0529253 0.

0000000 0.348 0.36E-05 5.36E+00 1.00572 0 0.0001195 0.0004878 Product B is therefore a more environmentally friendly alternative! 50 .38E-05 2.0004878 Methylene chloride Methane Cadmium (1/2) Hexachlorobenzene Ni Formaldehyde CO2 Chloroform Nitrous oxide 0.95E-01 5.0004674 0.0529253 0.00164 0 0 PDF 2.48E-03 DALY Pentachlorophenol Cadmium (1/2) Copper Lead Benzene 0.78E-05 4.88 2.786 0.0000000 0.44E-05 1.36E-07 0.0000001 0.282 Characterisation factor LCIA result 7.The same procedure is repeated for the inputs and outputs from the life cycle of Product B.0001958 0.0000000 0.0000428 0.0333070 0.85 0 0.23E-04 2.85E-01 4.00789 0 0.0000329 0.5348 1.0000005 0. Name Crude oil (resource) Hard coal (resource) Natural gas (resource) Lead ore Nickel ore Zinc in ore Amount (LCI-result) 0 0.0361348 0.0000000 0.02E-04 1.000837 2.59E-03 1.0000016 0.006214 0.0000000 0.0001195 0.86E-04 8.53E+00 6.0000000 0.551 0 0.0000204 0.0000000 0.39E-05 4.0025527 0.02E-06 1.0000347 0.0000632 0.0007109 Product B 0.91E-05 2.000128 0.0000229 0.0361348 0.0040577 0.5698 The results show that Product B has less impact than Product A in all three categories: Product A Resource damage DALY PDF 0.24E-04 Resource damage 1.77E+00 5.

If the line is drawn at 0. which is useful in case there are targets set on a certain impact category. Say that there is a public interest in the company’s acidifying emissions because of the production unit’s location in a very sensitive environment. 0. created by a body that might not have the same set of values as the company. It is first when the ranking have been made on the severity of different impacts that the identification of significant aspects at a company can be made. Correcting other aspects would clearly be a sub-optimisation.Topic 4. Weighted results The weighting needs to be done in order to put all category indicator results on the same scale.5 Eco-points 0. It can however be useful if the company has a very strong policy for an impact category.2 0. The non-significant aspects contribute only with 2. Topic 5. the column gets very high and this can be misleading. Session nr 7 Page 33 1) Interpreted results Grouped results The division after impact categories gives the opportunity of seeing what the impacts from the fridges derive from. and a screening of what the biggest threat is.3 0. The ozone layer depletion has one of the minor impacts but as the new product has such a large increase. The use of toxic materials and the energy consumption are the outstanding aspects that this company should work on. then half of the 16 issues will be regarded as significant.05 Eco-points. Then a hundred percent increase.7% to the total impact. The actual results are showed this way. in order to see how the categories are ranked with different sets of values. The weighting is however done with one method.1 Eco-points. Normalised results Normalisation gives a clear view of which qualities with the new fridge that have been improved and which have been impaired. It does not say anything of the performance of the different category indicator results. Session nr 8 Page 38 1) A) If the significant issues are those with more than 0.5 Eco-points.6 0. only emissions of hexachlorobenzene and copper are significant (together 49% of total impact). then consumption of crude oil and emissions of nickel are added (all four together 82% of total impact). The right choice depends on the purpose with the LCA.4 0. It is recommended that different weighting methods be used. If the line is drawn at 0.1 0 Series1 51 . no matter how small the actual numbers are might need to be avoided.

52 . Generally. only the raw material extraction is an important issue.4 0.1 ELU.2 1 ELU 0. which stands for 70% of the total impact. Much effort is put on the details that differ and therefore this information might not be detailed enough for someone that wants data about aspects that the products have in common. If the line is drawn at 0. The environmental advantages and disadvantages are compared with efficiency and economics. LCAs made for strategic planning might include simulations of the effects of a prospective investment that is totally irrelevant for the first two categories if the investment is not realised. 1.4 1.2 0 Series1 2) Generally. air emissions will also be regarded as a significant issue (all five together 99% of total impact). If the line is drawn at 0. an LCA made for product development has the purpose of giving an overall view of the environmental effects of different product alternatives. transports and sewage treatment are added (all four together 96% of total impact). then energy production.6 0.6 1. an LCA made for marketing has the purpose of differencing two or more otherwise quite similar products.8 0.B) If the significant issues are those with more than 1 ELU.5 ELU.

The system boundaries define the unit processes to be included in the system to be modelled. and cannot be defined solely in terms of the final products.g.g. energy. whether adverse or beneficial. transports. products or services. waste etc. m2 cut lawn for a lawn mover. Material flows that are not refined but enter or leave the system directly from/to the nature e. crude oil.g. etc. The measure of the functional performance of the outputs of the product system e. electricity and other artificially manufactured components. A list of all inputs and outputs from the studied systems before the impact assessment is performed. e. eutrophication. Input or output of a unit process or product system. cradle-to-gate systems for specific materials. Model for how the inflows and outflows have impact on the environment. Examples are individual production processes. heat. A product system is a collection of unit processes connected by flows of intermediate products which performs one or more defined functions. Refined energy or material flows. wholly or partially resulting from the organisation’s activities. Any change to the environment. ozone depletion or human toxicity. Data about data. global warming. emissions. e. acidification. Quantifiable representation of an impact category.8 Terms and definitions Allocation Category indicator Characterisation model Data category Elementary flow Division of flows in case they make part of two or more separate processes. raw materials. Environmental impact Functional unit Impact category Inventory LCI-data Meta data Non-elementary flow Product system System boundary Unit process 53 . Class representing environmental issues of concern to which LCI results may be assigned e. The essential property of a product system is characterised by its functions. The results from the inventory phase.g. petroleum. air. production lines. infrared radiative forcing (W/m2) in the case of global warming. The smallest portion of a product system for which data is collected. List with data on inputs and outputs of the studied system.g. non-refined minerals but also emissions and effluents that are not treated before they are released. products. Examples are resources.