Streamlined LCA is a quick method to provide directional guidance on the environmental impacts. Examples of how streamlined LCA can be used include in product design (e.g. to assess the impacts of material substitution over a life cycle) and process improvement (e.g. hot-spot analysis to reduce energy use). Streamlined LCA uses the ISO-14040/14044:2006 method as a basis and leverages off existing studies and data to simplify modelling, reducing the time required to complete a study. Because of this streamlined approach, these LCAs cannot be used as basis for marketing claims. Streamlined assessments can serve as a go-no-go tool for clients who want to be informed of possible outcomes prior to investing in a full LCA.
Full LCAs form the basis for making public, comparative claims of products and services and are typically used to inform policy or for the development of qualified, validated and independent green marketing claims. These LCAs are undertaken to comply with international standards, including ISO 14040/14044:2006 or Carbon Trust’s carbon footprint standard, PAS 2050:2011. Multiple scenarios are typically modelled to investigate how environmental impacts vary with life cycle parameters (e.g. transport distances, recycling rates). These studies are subject to independent critical review to ensure that the LCA methodology has been applied appropriately and consistently.
Life cycle management
The Centre for Design offer collaborative solutions to integrate LCA into environmental management. This integrated, collaborative approach ensures that upstream and downstream consequences of a decisions are assessed early in the decision making process.
The LCA group is actively involved in the development of sustainability tools, relying on LCA methodology. Examples of tools developed by the Centre for Design include the Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool (PIQET), GreenFly, and a number of multi-criteria assessment tools. These multi-criteria assessment tools serve as a framework for consistent decision making across sustainability metrics, including environmental, economic and societal impacts.
The Centre for Design delivers training courses in LCA at undergraduate and professional levels. These training courses are based on validated learning outcomes and can be tailored to suit the training needs of learners. In order to identify and target capability gaps, the Centre for Design can develop and deliver capability assessment frameworks, which inform the training process. Integrated LCA training is also available, whereby the Centre for Design guide a company through the process of LCA, while at the same time facilitating and delivering training to address capability gaps.