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The business case for life cycle assessment Steve Allen & Marcelle McManus

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Dr Steve Allen, Sustain Ltd and Dr Marcelle McManus of the University of Bath set out the thinking and research behind conducting Life Cycle Assessment and the business benefits of carrying it out.

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The business case for life cycle assessment Steve Allen & Marcelle McManus

  1. 1. Dr Marcelle McManus, Uni. of Bath Dr Stephen Allen, Sustain Ltd The business case for life cycle assessment Low Carbon Business Breakfast 20 May 2014
  2. 2. Contents Presenter Details Both Introductions Marcelle Introduction to LCA: Historical perspective Key current developments Steve The business case for LCA Example applications Q&A Discussion Networking with coffee and pastries Close
  3. 3. Introduction to LCA Dr Marcelle McManus University of Bath
  4. 4. McManus & Taylor, In Press
  5. 5. Goal and scope definition Inventory analysis Impact assessment Interpretation Four different phases of LCA can be distinguished: Direct application: • product development and improvement • Strategic planning • Public policy making • Marketing • Other Source: ISO 14040
  6. 6. Decision making reporting Historic/current data LCA Some current trends Attributional Life Cycle Assessment
  7. 7. Decision making reporting Historic/current data LCA Some current trends Decision making reporting Historic/current data LCA Historic/current data LCA Legislation and policy
  8. 8. Design Build Use Incremental Re-design UseBuild Dispose / Recycle LCA often done here (although often re-design stage left out) LCA would make most difference here, although the data is least certain Where/when to do LCA?
  9. 9. Some current trends Decision making reporting Historic/current data aLCA Data from lab scale LCA Improvement in design
  10. 10. Component Production Assembley of Product Use of Product Disposal of Product Energy and raw material Requirements emissions to air, water and soil Energy and raw material Requirements Energy and raw material Requirements Energy and raw material Requirements emissions to air, water and soil emissions to air, water and soil emissions to air, water and soil Consequences of using in wider system Consequential Life Cycle Assessment
  11. 11. Some current trends Decision making reporting Historic/current data aLCA Historic/current data aLCA & cLCA Legislation and policy
  12. 12. LCA and policy shape each other Taylor & McManus, 2013
  13. 13. Where LCA is heading – Retrospective – Used for product and process improvement – Attributional LCA – Compliance – promotion – Forward facing – predictive – Policy and scene setting – Consequential LCA – GHG as proxy for resource use – Indirect effects – Social implications Traditional Current/moving towards
  14. 14. • Data quality and quantity is often not sufficient for a comprehensive LCA • A possible consequence of discrepancies in the data is that two independent studies analysing the same products may generate very different results • Ostensibly comparable LCA's may therefore be incomparable • Differing data used in the characterisation stage may mean that LCAs are incomparable. • Use of alternative methodologies for the impact assessment stage can yield different results Problems with LCA
  15. 15. The business case for LCA Dr Stephen Allen Sustain Ltd
  16. 16. The business case for LCA and related methods • Reveal “hotspots” throughout value chain and avoid burden shifting  effective improvement strategy • Cost savings • Innovation, e.g. in product design and supply chain mgt. • Robust comms & marketing with investors, clients, consumers • Competitive advantage, improve reputation • Regulatory compliance • Scarcity risks to resource supplies and their prices
  17. 17. Example 1: LCA of solar hot water (SHW) system Organisation SHW panel manufacturer Motivation • Gain competitive advantage • Answer customer questions • Improve design Scope • LCA of production and use of panel
  18. 18. Production of SHW system Source: Allen SR, Hammond GP, Harajli H, McManus MC, Winnett AB, (2010) 'Integrated appraisal of a solar hot water system’, Energy, 35 (3)
  19. 19. Design advice • Use recycled aluminium where possible. The use of 50% recycled components would give 10-45% reduction of impacts • Use alternative to lead for roof fittings
  20. 20. Carbon payback period of the SHW system Source: Allen SR, Hammond GP, Harajli H, McManus MC, Winnett AB, (2010) 'Integrated appraisal of a solar hot water system’, Energy, 35 (3)
  21. 21. Benefits for company • Published energy and carbon payback with independent source • Improved environmental performance: removed lead flashing from 90% of installations • Won green accreditation award: good for reputation and competitive advantage
  22. 22. Example 2: LCA of novel washing machine Organisation Xeros Ltd Motivations • Robust and credible stats for marketing Scope • Full LCA of domestic washing machine and conventional counterpart, with ISO-compliant peer review
  23. 23. System boundary Source: Allen SR and Jones CI, 2014, Life Cycle Assessment of the Xeros domestic bead cleaning system: Final Report (unpublished)
  24. 24. Headline results for key impact categories Source: Allen SR and Jones CI, 2014, Life Cycle Assessment of the Xeros domestic bead cleaning system: Final Report (unpublished)
  25. 25. Carbon footprint over the life cycle Source: Allen SR and Jones CI, 2014, Life Cycle Assessment of the Xeros domestic bead cleaning system: Final Report (unpublished)
  26. 26. Headline results for key impact categories Source: Allen SR and Jones CI, 2014, Life Cycle Assessment of the Xeros domestic bead cleaning system: Final Report (unpublished) • Carbon footprint saving: • over 700 kgCO2eq of GHG emissions • equivalent to the emissions caused by operating a 32” LED TV for 32000 hours • further info on next slide • Water saving: • 1.2 million litres of water • equivalent to ten years’ worth of direct water use by an average UK household.
  27. 27. Benefits for company • Robust (peer reviewed) assessment of environmental performance • Credible, headline results for marketing purpose
  28. 28. Example 3: “capital carbon” of water transfer scheme Organisation Anglian Water Motivations • Cost saving • Carbon saving Scope • Cradle to construction (“capital carbon”) of 60km pipeline construction from Covenham reservoir and water treatment works to Boston, Lincolnshire
  29. 29. Context • In 2009 water industry regulator Ofwat required all water companies to assess the capital and operational carbon footprint of their proposed 2010-15 investment programme • Anglian Water has been demonstrating the link between carbon and cost for eight years; their data showing correlation between reduced carbon and reduced cost
  30. 30. A direct link between carbon and cost Cost of energy to emit 1 tonne (t) of carbon from electricity: Purchase of electricity for 1t of carbon (1,862kWh at 12p/kWh) £223 Cost of Climate Change Levy (1,842kWh at 0.470p/kWh) £10 Cost of CRC carbon credit £16 £249 Cost of energy to emit 1 t of carbon from gas: Purchase of gas for 1 t of carbon (5,446kWh at 4.5p/kWh) £245 Cost of Climate Change Levy (5,446kWh at 0.164p/kWh) £10 Cost of CRC carbon credit £16 £271
  31. 31. • £13 million cost saving, 12,000 tonne carbon saving, achieved by: • “Building less and building clever” • For the Covenham to Boston scheme, detailed network modelling found that 40% of the 15Ml/d flow could be transferred through existing assets, reducing pipeline requirement and eliminating an intermediate pumping station • Further gains from use of standard products and supply chain efficiencies through early contractor involvement Benefits for company Source: HM Treasury, Infrastructure UK and BIS, 2013, Infrastructure Carbon Review
  32. 32. Further information • Web: www.sustain.co.uk • Twitter: s_r_allen • Email: stephen.allen@sustain.co.uk
  33. 33. Q & A Dr Marcelle McManus University of Bath Dr Stephen Allen Sustain Ltd

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