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Incorporating resilience into life cycle assessments

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2 Author(s)

LIFE cycle assessments (LCAs) are useful for analyzing the environmental impacts of a product during the production, use and disposal phases. However, they often do not accurately account for a product's resilience, in particular durability. LCA framework guides such as the EPA's LCA 101 and ISO 14040 note that replacement and maintenance costs should be considered in LCAs but do not define methods for accomplishing this task. Particularly in software programs, product life spans are often assumed at incorrect values (or are not included at all), inaccurately portraying the impacts of product durability to the LCA. This is an issue because, for example, a product requiring less energy and resources to manufacture that is not durable could eventually pose greater harm to the environment than a durable but more resource and energy intensive product. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the effect of product durability on LCAs.

Published in:

Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST), 2010 IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

17-19 May 2010