Sustainability Business Simulation Life Cycle Assessment ExerciseStep 1: Goal and Scope DefinitionBased on the decision to be made by your company, define the goal and scope of thelife cycle assessment. 1) Define the functional unit of the product systems to be compared. In the companion spreadsheet, enter the number of products for each option in order to create an equivalent basis for comparison, and the period of performance (typically this is one year for most LCA studies but your study may have a longer time horizon). 2) Draw a high level diagram indicating the boundary of the two product systems. 3) Determine the relevant impact categories you would like to investigate. For the exercise you have a choice of 5 categories. Choose at least two categories: a. Energy b. Water take (use) c. Global warming potential d. Human health toxicity e. Ecological toxicity
Step 2: Data Gathering (Life Cycle Inventory)Using your spreadsheet tool, collect the following information to complete your lifecycle inventory.Upstream Materials: For the materials in your product determine the amount ofmaterials need to make one unit of product. The cradle-to-gate data (all of theenergy, materials and emissions associated with that material) are provided.Facility Level Product Production: From spreadsheets provided collect the facilitylevel data (energy use and emissions released associated with making the twoproducts over the period of a year). You may have to allocate a portion of thefacility energy data to the products under study. Also, there may be wastesassociated with production. Use your professional judgment to determine theallocation.Transport: Enter the distance for the appropriate shipping mode for themanufactured product. The transport data will be converted to a weight-distancemetric based on the weight of the materials specified for the product.Use Phase: Collect the necessary use phase information. The product systemsexamined may or may not have use phase impacts. If there is energy or materialconsumed during use, add them to the inventory.End-of-life: Determine how much of your product ends up directly in a landfill, oris incinerated and then placed in a landfill. If incinerated take a credit fordisplacing the energy that would have been produced, but make sure to add in theemissions associated with incineration. If a portion of your product is recycled takea credit for the production of virgin material displaced by recycling.
Step 3: Impact AssessmentFrom the life-cycle impact assessment categories selected as relevant to yourstudy, calculate the resulting impacts for the two product systems. List them inthe table below. Impact Assessment Results Impact Assessment Results Product System 1 Product System 2Step 4: Final interpretive statementFrom the assessment you have just completed, craft a short statement (2 to 3sentences) that is both technically accurate, as well as readily understood to uppermanagement.Marketing is very pleased with the innovative LCA study that you have done. Crafta marketing statement appropriate for a consumer audience. Remember, theconsumer audience may include a very knowledgeable NGO –watch out for greenwashing.
Step 5: Limitations to the studyNow that you are an LCA expert, list areas of the study that you feel need furtherimprovement or are shortcomings – just in case that NGO comes knocking at yourdoor.
Good Snacks, Inc.Background:You work for a snack food company (primarily corn and potato chips) that sits onthe outskirts of town. Good Snacks is a division of a Fortune 100, publicly tradedcompany that emphasizes branding of products. Your plant employs 900 people andhas corporate goals to grow by 10% per year over the next two years.The plant manager, who really cares about quality of work-life issues, recently readan article about sustainability and is now convinced that this is something yourcompany should pursue. You have been asked by the plant manager to head up the“sustainability effort,” even though you have no experience; she just knew you’rejust very interested in environmental issues.Recently, Wal-Mart has asked you to begin reporting on life-cycle basedinformation of the packaging of your most popular slightly burnt potato chipproduct, “Nicely Done”. Currently you are shipping your product in 6 oz. snack bagsconsisting of Mylar film (97% polyethylene with a thin layer of aluminum). You areinterested in investigating an alternative packaging solution using a bio-materialplastic film made of poly lactic acid (PLA) polymers made from corn. Themanufacturer of PLA has told you that there are no harmful environmental impactsassociated with PLA. Because your Nicely Done product is your best selling brand(you sell 1,000,000 units*, representing 33% of sales), you need to investigatewhich packaging solution is best to use from an environmental life cycle perspective– just to make sure.Hint: This is your functional unit.
After doing a preliminary data collection assessment you know the following: Option 1: Mylar Option 2: PLAWeight of packaging 100 gm 150 gmMaterial make-up 97% PET, 3% Aluminum 100 gm PLA, 50gm PETpackagingFacility Electricity 300,000 kWh annual ? no dataFacility Heat 10,000,000 MJ natural gas ? no dataManufacturing discards 1% of PET 13% (new process, so discarddue to inferior quality rate is higher) 10% of AluminumShipping Nicely Done 99.9% Long Haul Truck – Assume same market Western US (avg. 500 km) 0.1% Air Shipped – France (~10,000 km)Recyclability of 100% PET, 100% Aluminum 0% PLA, 100% PETpackagingMake any assumption needed to complete the study and indicate them here:
Renaissance LightingBackground:You are the owner and president of Renaissance Lighting; you have always tried torun a socially responsible company. You’ve recently learned about sustainability andreally like the idea because it seems to provide clearer end-points, at least fromthe environmental perspective. You sell your products to retail lighting stores in athree state region. You employ 180 people and expect to grow by 10% over thenext two years. At this time you are shipping 5,000 lamps per year*.The local municipal recycling center has been collecting plastic soda bottles by theton. By making your products out of recycled polypropylene (PP) you think you canclose the material loop from a local source. Being a hands-on president who hasproblems delegating tasks, you’ve decided to conduct the life cycle assessmentyourself so that you can get the rest of your organization to adopt sustainability asa strategic business issue.Hint: This is the basis of your comparison but you need to assess the futureproduction levels at 10% growth; however a brass lamp lasts longer than a plasticlamp. You need to make the comparison equivalent.
After doing a preliminary data collection assessment you know the following: Option 1: Traditional Option 2: Recycled PP Brass Lamp green lampLifespan of Lamp 30 Years 10 YearsWeight of lamp 2 Kg 1.7 kgFacility electricity 30,000 kWh annual to ? no datarequirements for this produce 5,000 lampspast yearFacility heat 10,000 MJ natural gas ? no datarequirements for this annual to produce 5,000past year lampsManufacturing discards 1% 2%due to inferior qualityShipping Continental US ? no data There are two destinations: #1: 80% of the time by Long haul truck, with avg. distance of 500km. #2: 20% of the time by intermodal rail/short haul truck with avg. distance 1200km by train, 50km by truck.Material make-up 75% Brass, 10% Virgin PP 25% Aluminum 75% Recycled PP 15% BrassUse Phase The traditional brass lamp Uses innovative LED lights that uses an incandescent, 60 consume 10 watts used 8 hours watt bulb, used 8 hours a a day, 300 days a year over the day, 300 days a year over life of the lamp (10 years). the life of the lamp (30 years).Recyclability 100% for brass 100% for PP and recycled PP 100% for aluminum 100% for Brass
Make any assumptions needed to complete the study. Think Geo, Inc.Background:You are the marketing manager for a geothermal technology startup. You would liketo make a splash in the competitive residential renewable energy market, however,your state has instituted a $25,000 tax rebate on solar panels, making yourtechnology costlier to install, but cheaper to use in the long run. You believe thatthe geothermal technology is the way to go not only financially, but alsoenvironmentally and want to conduct an LCA study to prove you’re right.Based on a 2,000 square foot home, you need a system that provides 625,000btu’s/day. A 4x10 solar panel generates 40,000 btu’s / day. Additional details areprovided on the opposite page.
After doing a preliminary data collection assessment you know the following: Option 1: Geothermal Option 2: One 4x10 Solar Unit Panel systemMaterials 2000 kg steel pipe 5 kg Aluminum parts 20 kg brass fittings 2 kg Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) parts 0.5 kg brass fittingsEnergy output 500,000 Btu/day 75,000 Btu/day averageLife of the system 30 year lifespan 20 year lifespanMfg. Facility 50 MWh electricity and 500,000 kWh electricity and 40,000 MJ of NG annually 40,000 MJ of NG annually to to produce 16 geothermal manufacture 1000 – 4’x10” units panelsManufacturing discards 5% 1%due to inferior qualityLocation of Mfg. source 50 km from market 50 km from MarketInstallation & Use 50 gallons of diesel fuel to 10 kWh of electricity to installEnergy drill well for piping 60 watts per day per panel to 10 kWh of electricity to operate install 2400 watts per day to operateWater use 0.5 m3 year to recharge and 0.02 m3 year to recharge and flush flushRecyclability 90% for steel 80% for aluminum 90% for brass 90% for brass 25% for PVCMake any assumptions needed to complete the study and indicate them here:
Disposable Diaper ExampleBackground:In this example you will compare a disposable diaper versus a cloth diaper.After doing a preliminary data collection assessment you know the following: Option 1:Cotton Diaper Option 2:Disposable DiaperWeight of diaper 0.2 Kg Cotton diaper 0.10 kg Polypropylene (PP) 0.10 kg Cellulosic wood fiberLife diaper 2 year lifespan for the 1 use only cotton diaperMfg. Facility Energy 10,000 kWh of electricity 500,000 kWh of electricity and 5,000 MJ Natural Gas 50,000 MJ Natural Gas annually to weave and sew annually to manufacture 10,000 cotton diapers 10,000,000 disposable diapersManufacturing discards 10% for cotton diaper 1% for PP and Cellulosic Wooddue to inferior quality fiberShipping 10,000 km from Mfg. in 1000km from Mfg. to store China to storeUse 8 times a day with double up 4 times a day for overnightLaundry electricity 10 kWh to wash a cotton n/a diaperLaundry water use 0.01 (m3) to wash a cotton n/a diaperLaundry drying 1000 MJ natural gas to dry n/a a diaperRecyclability 100% for cotton 100% for PP 100% for cellulosic wood fiber