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LCA: Cradle-to-Grave vs. Gate-to-Gate

Defining your boundary conditions is a crucial first step in beginning an LCA for your business.  Knowing what you are looking to analyze can reduce cost and time necessary to complete an LCA, providing you with the information you require in a timely manner.  Do you need to conduct an LCA from cradle-to-grave or from gate-to-gate boundary conditions? Cradle -to-Grave Cradle-to-grave LCA encompasses the entire product cycle from material extraction to final product disposal.  Cradle-to-grave is...

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Can an LCA be Used to Predict the Future?

  What if you can reduce emissions before they are released? What if you can find out about a potentially dangerous chemical within your product manufacturing process before investing in the infrastructure? Prospective LCAs can be used to give insights for a project before full-scale implementation.  The LCA could reveal errors in design or unintended consequences from implementing the new design.  A prospective LCA relies heavily on engineering estimates.  The values produced from prospect...

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LCA: Benchmarks vs. Baselines

  What does your industry use for comparison to show improvements?  Baselines or benchmarks?  Are you comparing your leading edge design to the worst-case scenario or the current industry average? Benchmarks are used to indicate your industry acceptable values and averages for reasonable comparison.  Benchmarks are important for proper LCA evaluation.  When you are looking to launch your innovative new technology, you would want to know if it is better than the average current technology on...

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LCA’s Role in the Design Process

  Design is never complete.  There are always improvements and innovations to bring a product forward.  New materials, new configurations, new features, new uses.  Design is an iterative loop process where improvements and innovations are constantly needed.  An LCA can be incorporated in the design process to give insights into energy consumption, material flows, and emissions which can be improved in the next design cycle. What if you can reduce emissions before they are released?  Running...

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Cradle-to-Cradle Design Philosophy

  Cradle-to-cradle design focuses on creating an industrial system without waste.  What would it mean to produce zero waste?  Zero waste during production?  Zero waste at the end of life?  Where do the materials end? One example would be a water bottle that can be recycled to produce another water bottle.  The material is still at the same quality as it started and can be used like new.  This would represent an industrial cycle where the materials are readily recoverable and recyclable.  Th...

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What is an LCA?

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is an analytical tool used by businesses and policy makers to sift through ideals and see the true impacts from a product or service. When conducting an LCA, boundaries are defined around a section of a product or service’s life span indicating all inputs and outputs from the system. Values are then provided based on a functional unit (/tonne corn, /100km) for all inputs and outputs to the system using measured values, engineering estimates, and databases as found in an...

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