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Kreysler & Associates LCA for RFP Sunshades



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  • 1. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Life Cycle Assessment of Float Glass Sunshades vs. Fiber- Reinforced Plastic Sunshades Prepared for: Kreysler & Associates Veronica Chau, Kyle Pineo, Milciades Reyes Gonzalez, Roberto SantanaAbstractBackground: This report presents the results of a life cycle analysis (LCA) comparing twosunshades for The two options compared are:a fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) panel fabricated by Kreysler and Associates (K&A) in Napa, CA,and a float glass (FG) panel manufactured by Schott in Hamburg, Germany.Results: Of all the impact categories available, the following were weighed more heavily:energy resources, greenhouse gas emissions, ozone layer, carcinogens, and solid waste. The lifecycle assessment showed that the FRP sunshade panels were lower in energy resources,greenhouse gas emissions, ozone layer, and carcinogens. The FRP panels did not perform well inthe solid waste category, because there was no viable end of life recycling FRP option. Themajority of impact for both systems was in the raw material and production phases. For the floatglass system, the fabrication of steel had the largest impact in carcinogens and solid waste, yetcould be recycled. For the FRP, the resin had the highest impact for every category except solidwaste. However, the solid waste was counterbalanced by pollution minimization.Conclusions: In almost every impact assessment category (except solid waste), the FRPsunshade is more environmentally sustainable and cost effective. The recommendation is forKreysler & Associates to pursue building the sunshades using their FRP method.IntroductionFiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) is made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers. The first FRPapplications took place in the Second World War1, and production at commercial scale started inthe late 1950s. Currently, FRP is widely use in aerospace, automotive, marine, and constructionindustries. The key advantages of FRP over other materials are weight and economic savings.However, the use of FRP has come into question because fibers and plastics cannot be easilyseparated, making FRP impossible to recycle.Our project sponsor Kreysler & Associates (K&A), a Napa Valley company founded in 1982, isinterested in understanding the differences in environmental impact for a sunshade panel made ofFRP and another one made of float glass (FG). For this purpose, we conducted a comprehensivelife cycle analysis of both options. In this paper, we assess the environmental impact of FRP andFloat Glass from cradle to gate. With the help of SimaPro, a LCA simulation software, wemodeled the environmental impact caused by raw materials, production, transportation,                                                                                                                1  Erhard, Gunter. Designing with plastics. Bruhl, Germany. 2006     1  
  • 2. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santanaconstruction, and end of life of both FRP and float glass. We also included a life cycle costanalysis before we present our final conclusions and recommendations.Float Glass2 and RFP Process3The production of float glass panels follows an industry standard procedure by first combiningsand, soda ash, dolomite, limestone, and cullet into a mixing batch. The batch materials are fedinto the furnace around 1600°C, followed by floating a continuous ribbon of molten glass alongthe surface of molten tin bath. Irregularities are melted out here to ensure flat and parallelsurfaces in the glass. The glass is annealed and gradually cooled to around 200°C to preventsplitting and breaking during the cutting process. The glass is cut, shipped, and installed onto thebuilding using a crane4 and bolted with steel. The lifespan per panel is estimated at 50 years. Atits end of life, the glass panels can be disposed of via recycling or landfill.The production of FRP panels utilizes vacuum infusion by first spraying on the gel coat to givethe model color, followed by applying the glass fiber on top. The balsa core is placed on top ofthe glass fiber, followed by the steel to be embedded and the inner layer of glass fiber. A rubberbag is placed around the mold and sealed with a silicon rubber sheet. The vacuum is placed overthe construct, compressing it with atmospheric pressure, and the resin is let in permeating themolding with glass fiber in it through feeder hoses. The entire molding is then cured, packaged,and shipped off to the construction site, where a crane will lift the panels into the building. Steelis bolted down every two feet. Each panel, like the glass is projected to have a 50-year lifespan;at the end of which, it is unbolted and disposed of in the landfill.Exhibit A shows the process life cycle of both FG and FRP.Life Cycle Cost AnalysisIn our life cycle cost estimate we assumed that the lifetime of the material is 50 years. Weconsidered separately the panel cost, steel support cost, use phase cost, and end of life costassociated with the disposal of FRP and float glass. For panel costs, we obtained a dollar persquare foot cost estimate from K&A for both FRP and glass options. FRP is slightly moreexpensive than glass ($36.7 versus $30 per sq. ft.), but it requires considerably less steel andlabor than the glass installation. The cost of steel for FRP (including labor) was provided byK&A ($8 per sq. ft.). For float glass, we used market5 prices for steel. Savings in steel supportare derived from the weight advantage that FRP has over float glass. The difference in weightstranslates into much lighter structural support needs for FRP.The use phase cost associated with both materials is considered to be zero for purposes of thestudy because very little maintenance is required in the regular used of the panel. Bearing anycatastrophic damage like high intensity earthquakes this assumption should hold true. For the endof life calculations, we assumed a discount rate of 4%, which is slightly above inflation. Since                                                                                                                2 Source: Source: Kreysler & Associates  4 Building is 4 stories with the assumption of 12 feet per story5 Source:   2  
  • 3. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, SantanaFRP cannot be recycled, we used average tipping fees for California6. Prices for recycled glassand steel were taken from secondary material pricing rates7. As shown in Exhibit B, the FRPoption is 50% less expensive than float glass.LCA Methods and Functional UnitFor this model we took into account various aspects of the process of fabrication of the fiberreinforced polymer panel and the float glass option. To obtain the results of the impacts we useda process-based LCA analysis; for this we used the software SimaPro and the “Eco-Indicator 95”protocol. The assumptions that were made for this analysis are related to various aspects liketransportation distances, processes used and materials taken into account. The use phase was nottaken into account in our analysis because the impacts are negligible and similar to bothsunshades.Our functional unit is a 40’ x 10’ panel for the two options; our assumptions and differencesbetween these two options are described below.Impact Assessment Results by Phase: Material Production - AssumptionsMaterialsThe materials used for the production of the FRP panels are: 1. Glass Fiber provided by Owens Corning. M5 Chopped Strand Mat for Hand-Lay Up. A waste factor of 3% was used for glass fiber, as well as for the resin. 2. Unsaturated Polyester Resin, provided by Ashland Chemical. HETRON FR620T-20. A waste factor of 3% was used. 3. Balsa Wood provided by BALTEK. BALTEK® SB STRUCTURAL END-GRAIN BALSA. 4. Gelcoat provided by Valspar. WHITE BASE – STANDARD VOC. 5. Steel, for structural purposes. Steel type Fe 360 I as considered in SimaPro.For the float glass panels, the following materials were considered: 1. Float Glass coated EHS. 2. Steel type Fe 360 I. For structural and framing purposes.Weight distribution for each materialFor RFP panel the distribution is as follow: Raw Material Weight (kg) % of total Glass Fiber 456.89 49.5% Polyester Resin 219.31 23.7% Structural Steel 128.81 13.9% Balsa Wood 118.79 12.9% Total 923.79                                                                                                                  6 Source: Source:     3  
  • 4. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, SantanaFor Float glass panels: Raw Material Weight (kg) % of total Float glass 2362.00 78.3% Structural Steel 653.73 21.7% Total 3015.73Exhibit C was used to help determine total weight of the FRP panel.Impact Assessment Results by Phase: Material Production – ResultsAs mentioned previously we used SimaPro and the protocol Ecoindicator 95 to obtain the resultsin our analyses of both options. Please refer to Exhibit D for the table showing the quantitativeimpact and the charts show the percentage of the total impact that each material is causing. Andfor the results of the float glass panel please refer to Exhibit E, for the same information.As seen on those exhibits, the float glass option accounts for most impacts in most of thecategories. On the other hand, the FRP panel accounts for most of the solid waste and this is dueto the production of glass fiber and balsa wood. At the same time, the unsaturated polyester resinhas the greatest impact in all categories, except solid waste. But, when these are compared to thefloat glass option is still less.As for the carcinogens category, float glass panel has an impactful footprint due to the largeamount of steel required to support the panel.Impact Assessment Results by Phase: Transportation and Construction – AssumptionsThe FRP panels are made in the Kreysler and Associates fabrication plant in Napa and all rawmaterials were brought there, processed and shipped to their final location as panelsready to be installed for a distance of km. On the other hand, it was assumed that Schott, aglass company in Hamburg, fabricated the float glass panels in Germany. These glass panelswere assumed to be transported 6400 km by a transoceanic freight ship from Hamburg to NewYork and then carried 4650 km by diesel powered freight rail from NY to San Francisco, andfinally transported 69.5 km by truck from San Francisco to the final location in .Impact Assessment Results by Phase: Transportation and Construction – ResultsExhibit F shows the relative environmental and construction impacts for float glass, and ExhibitG shows the relative environmental impacts for FRP. For FG, rail transport contributed thelargest relative impact. For FRP, transportation of materials to the plant had the largestenvironmental impact. The magnitudes of the FRP environmental impacts were smaller than theFG impacts because the FRP panel was about one-third the weight of a FG panel and itstransportation distance was assumed to be much less. Both zinc coating for FG and vacuuminfusion for FRP had minimal environmental impacts.A schematic (not to scale) of the FRP system, Exhibit H, is located in the exhibit section.   4  
  • 5. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, SantanaImpact Assessment Results by Phase: End of Life - AssumptionsThe total life of both FG and FRP were assumed to be 50 years. Because there is no viablerecycling option for FRP8, it was assumed that FRP system goes directly to landfill. The FGpanel system was assumed to be 100% recycled.Impact Assessment Results by Phase: End of Life – ResultsNo end of life analysis was performed because FRP has no practical recycling options. We canqualitatively infer that the FRP end of life impact is higher than the FG impact because of theglass recycling process.Total Impact Assessment Impact Category Total (FG) Total (FRP) Difference % Difference Acidification (kg SO2) 24.958 10.00390 14.954 149 Carcinogens (kg B(a)P) 0.000582 0.000179 0.000402 224 Energy resources (MJ LHV) 62421.049 37412.100 25008.948 66.8 Eutrophication (kg PO4) 2.742 1.429 1.312 91.8 Greenhouse (kg CO2) 4057.697 2144.518 1913.179 89.2 Heavy metals (kg Pb) 0.0346 0.0178 0.0167 93.8 Ozone layer (kg CFC11) 0.000663 0.000392 0.000270 68.9 Pesticides (kg act.sub) 0 0 0 0 Solid Waste (kg) 7.047 28.469 -21.422 -75.2 Summer smog (kg C2H4) 1.535 1.414 0.120 8.5 Winter smog (kg SPM) 13.228 6.508 6.719 103Taking into account all the aforementioned processes, assumptions, and results, the FRP panelperformed much better environmentally and financially compared to the FG panels. In everyimpact category (except for solid waste), the FRP panel at minimum 66.8% environmentallybetter than the FG (except for summer smog and solid waste, which performed at 8.5% and -75.2%, respectively). Of the four major categories in our LCA, energy resources, greenhouse gasemissions, ozone layer, carcinogens, and solid waste, carcinogens were decreased by 224%.Put into perspective, a reduction of approximately 2,000 kg of CO2 is equivalent to driving one30-mpg car almost 12,000 miles in one year. Saving 25,000 MJ per panel, on the other hand, isequivalent to burning 1 metric ton of coal9.A sensitivity analysis was performed to better compare the environmental impacts of FG andFRP by taking out FG’s transoceanic and rail transports. The float glass was then assumed totravel the exact distance the FRP was (both assumed to originate from K&A) to .Exhibit I shows a spider graph of all impact categories in percentages of the two panels with alltransportation included. Exhibit J shows the same spider graph but with transoceanic and railtransport excluded. Still, the FRP panels performed better.                                                                                                                8 Source:  Source: Professor Anthony Kovscek, Stanford.     5  
  • 6. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, SantanaCombining the materials, processes, and transportation environmental impacts into one, ExhibitK and Exhibit L (FG and FRP respectively), structural steel and float glass account for themajority of the environmental impacts over transportation. For the FRP the polyester resin andstructural steel account for most of the environmental impacts.Conclusion and Recommendations  The FRP panel performed more favorably in terms of environmental sustainably and financially.With reductions per panel in the majority of the impact categories by over 60%, total weight by44%, and total cost by 53%, we recommend that Kreysler & Associates further communicationswith the computer company to install FRP sunshades over float glass sunshades.To further improve the environmental practicality of FRP sunshades, recommendations thatKreysler & Associates should consider is the end-of-life recycling of the panels once they are nolonger being used. Even though FRP recycling is still in its infancy, K&A should be aware ofnew technology that could help the FRP panel perform better at end-of-life. Drawing from theenvironmental impacts of the FRP resin, and in general, it is always advisable that Kreysler &Associates be on the lookout for alternative materials that can perform just as well as FRP (andthe resin), but with even less environmental impacts.     6  
  • 7. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Exhibit  A:  FG  and  FRP  Process  Flow       Exhibit  B:  Life  Cycle  Cost  Analysis       7  
  • 8. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Exhibit  C:  Raw  Material  Densities  for  FRP       Exhibit  D:  FRP  Environmental  Impacts   FRP,  Materials  Environmental  Impacts   1.2   1   0.8   0.6   Balsa  Wood   0.4   Structural  Steel   Polyester  Resin   0.2   Glass  Fiber   0         8  
  • 9. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana FRP,  Processes  Environmental  Impacts   0.5   0.45   Wood  Cutting  and  preparation   0.4   0.35   0.3   Transportation  of  materials  to   0.25   plant   0.2   0.15   Vacuum  Infusion  process  for   0.1   making  panels   0.05   0   Transportation  from  plant  to   site       Exhibit  E:  Float  Glass  Environmental  Impacts   FG,  Materials  Environmental  Impacts   1.2   1   0.8   Structural  Steel   0.6   0.4   0.2   Float  Glass   0           9  
  • 10. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana FG,  Processes  Environmental  Impacts   0.7   0.6   0.5   0.4   0.3   Transportation  by  truck   Transportation  by  rail   0.2   Transportation  transoceanic   0.1   Zinc  Coating   0       Exhibit  F:  Float  Glass  Environmental  and  Construction  Impacts   FG,  Transporta0on  Environmental  Impacts   0.7   0.6   0.5   0.4   (%)   0.3   Transporta3on  by  truck   0.2   Transporta3on  by  rail   0.1   Transporta3on  transoceanic   Zinc  Coa3ng   0         10  
  • 11. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Exhibit  G:  FRP  Environmental  and  Construction  Impacts   FRP,  Transporta0on  Environmental  Impacts   0.5   0.45   Wood  CuAng  and  prepara3on   0.4   0.35   0.3   Transporta3on  of  materials  to   %   0.25   plant   0.2   0.15   Vacuum  Infusion  process  for   0.1   making  panels   0.05   0   Transporta3on  from  plant  to  site         Exhibit  H:  Schematic  of  FRP  System         11  
  • 12. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Exhibit  I:  Comparative  Environmental  Impact  with  Transport   Greenhouse   100%   Solid  waste   Ozone  layer   80%   60%   Energy  resources   40%   AcidiQication   20%   0%   Percentage  FRP   Winter  smog   Eutrophication   Percentage  FG   Summer  smog   Heavy  metals   Pesticides   Carcinogens       Exhibit  J:  Comparative  Environmental  Impact  without  Transport   Greenhouse   90%   Solid  waste   80%   Ozone  layer   70%   60%   50%   Energy  resources   40%   AcidiQication   30%   20%   10%   FRP   0%   Winter  smog   Float  Glass   Eutrophication   Summer  smog   Heavy  metals   Pesticides   Carcinogens         12  
  • 13. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana Exhibit  K:  FG  Total  Combined   100%   90%   80%   70%   60%   Transport:  truck   50%   Transport:  rail   40%   Transport:  transoceanic   30%   Zinc  Coating   20%   Structural  Steel   10%   Float  Glass   0%       Exhibit  L:  FRP  Total  Combined   100%   90%   Wood  Cutting  and  preparation   80%   70%   Transport:  materials  to  plant   60%   Vacuum  Infusion:  making   50%   panels   Transport:  plant  to  site   40%   30%   Balsa  Wood   20%   Structural  Steel   10%   0%   Polyester  Resin   Glass  Fiber     13  
  • 14. CEE 226: Life Cycle Assessment of Complex SystemsChau, Pineo, Reyes Gonzalez, Santana References1. Ali S.M., Lepech, M., Basbagill, J.P. PROBABILISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF A LIFE CYCLE INVENTORY (LCI) DATASET FOR PULTRUDED FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER (FRP) COMPOSITES. Stanford University. Stanford.2. Bartholomew, Kyle. "Fiberglass Reinforced Pastics Recycling." (2004).3. Erhard, Gunter. Designing with plastics. Bruhl, Germany. 20064. Kreysler, Bill. Kreysler & Associates. American Canyon, CA.5. Kovscek, Anthony. “Energy Scale (Joules)”. Stanford.6. "Secondary Materials - Sample Prices." Web. <>.7. "Tipping Fees." California Tipping Fees. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. <>.8. World Carbon Steel Prices. Web. <>.   14