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Life Cycle Analysis
Life Cycle Analysis
3.2.1 Life Cycle Analysis definition
The assessment of the effect a product has on the environment from the initial concept to disposal
This video explains how a seemingly simple and harmless object can have a big impact on the environment due its production process.
3.2.2 Describe how life cycle analysis provides a framework within which clean production technologies and green design can be evaluated holistically for a specific product.
3.2.3 List the key stages in life cycle analysis.
Pre- production is the obtaining of natural resources; it can be very polluting (strip-mining) or can have a small effect on the environment (shaft mining)
Production is the processing of the resources and shaping etc. to make the product. Once again it could be damaging to the environment (such as a large factory spewing out smoke) or have a small impact (a carpenter hand crafting children’s toys)
Distribution and packaging includes taking the product from the factory to the warehouse, from the warehouse to the store, and the package. It could have a large impact (as is the case with an imported object from around the world in a Styrofoam box) or a very low impact (made and sold in the same place with a biodegradable box or no packaging)
Utilisation is about the product’s use and the effect that has on the environment. A diesel generator for example will pollute air and make noise pollution while a solar panel will make next to none.
Disposal depends on both the product and the method of disposal. Recycling one aluminum can will make less environmental problems than throwing one away even if they are identical. Biodegradable objects can be reused, recycled, or left to be broken down and add nutrients to the soil, depending on the object one or the other would be preferable. Paper is best recycled because of the chemicals used to make it and the logging of forests to obtain the pulp while a banana peel is completely useless for anything but compost.
3.2.4 List the major environmental considerations in life cycle analysis.
Life cycle analysis includes environmental considerations:
3.2.5 Both the environmental and life cycle stages can be organized into a matrix shown below.
3.2.6 Analyse the environmental impact of refrigerators, washing machines and cars using an environmental impact assessment matrix.
Using the Environmental impact assessment matrix to analyse the environmental impact of:
3.2.7 Elements of the matrix may differ in importance according to a particular design context.
For example; in the case of the fridges and cars the larger part of energy consumption takes place in use rather than maintenance.There are five stages in the product cycle that all can result with a bad impact upon the environment. The amount of impact depends upon how the product was pre-production produced distributed utilized and Disposed. The chart at the bottom
This Link is to a powerpoint showing ways where designers and manufacture can minimize the impact of products on the environment.
3.2.8 Identify the roles and responsibilities of the designer, manufacturer and user at each life cycle stage of a product.
The role of the designer throughout the life cycle is evident as the designer is responsible for pre-production and has a role in production. During these two processes the designer has control of the products future through his design. The designer has to plan the products obsolescence and how the object will be used. It is safe to say on the other hand that the manufacturer has less involvement with the life cycle as the manufacturer is mainly responsible for the production and the distribution and packaging of the product. The user has no involvement, other than their influence through reviews and lifestyle, regarding the making and selling of the product. However, the consumer is very significant regarding the utilization and the disposal of the product.
3.2.9 Describe one example of a situation where life cycle analysis identifies conflicts, which have to be resolved through prioritisation.
Leaded fuel that is used for cars. The leaded fuel has high damaging affects on the environment and peoples health. Therefore through prioritisation now people use unleaded fuel which is less harmful to the environment.
hybrid Canada blog on Honda. It has very useful graphs from a Honda report.
3.2.10 Explain that life cycle analysis is targeted at particular product categories.
Life cycle analysis is targeted at products with a high environmental impact and in the global marketplace. It is then impossible for companies to argue that their products are being made uncompetitive. Life cycle analysis also targets companies with the resources to invest in R&D.
Life cycle analysis is becoming more conducted on car industry as can be seen from the Honda example. The automotive industry has a high environmental imapct at most stages of the life cycle.
3.2.11 Explain why life cycle analysis is not widely used in practice.
Life cycle analysis is not used for many products. However, in the re-innovation of the design of a product or its manufacture, specific aspects may be changed after considering the design objectives for green products. Thus the materials selected may be changed to make them more environmentally friendly, for example, wood from sustainable forests or the selection of a less toxic varnish. A product may be distributed differently or its packaging may be redesigned.
3.2.12 Describe the reasons for the introduction of eco-labelling schemes.
Ecolabelling is a environmental performance certification and labelling that is practised around the world. An eco-label is a label which identifies overall environmental preference of a product or service within a specific product/service category based on life cycle considerations.
3.2.13 Explain how eco-labelling reflects life cycle analysis of certain product categories.
Product Category is the specific generic to which a good or service belongs; for example, while Fanta is a brand name, the product category to which it belongs is soft drinks or food and beverages.
Eco-labeling is when an unbiased organization (e.g. Eco trust) places a label on a product, certifying that the product under consideration is ecologically compatible. It is different from "green" stamps given or claims made by designers and manufacturers.
Eco labeling is to certify that a product is environmental friendly, and it shows that a product would have less negative impact on the environment, when getting rid of it. It has to be certified by a non-biased organization. As a result of that the life cycle of it would be different in a way that the end life would be recycling and during the process of recycling the environment won’t be affected negatively.
3.2.14 Compare the objectives of two different eco-labelling schemes.
Consider approaches to eco-labelling in Europe, Australia and the United States (US).
3.2.15 Explain how Eco-labelling and energy-labelling schemes can help consumers to compare potential purchases.
"Eco-labeling" is a method by which products are environmentally rated:
"Energy-labelling" show a products energy-efficiency and consumption
Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.
Images are clickable links to its location.