LCA Studies
Papers Presented for This Session
view mail that was sent to the mail-list during the conference

Life Cycle Analysis at the Homebush Bay Olympic Site, Sydney, Australia
(abstract / slide presentation not available )

E. Laginestra*, J. Hudson*, A. Statzenko*
Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of the Internet
(abstract / slides as pdf )

Yves Loerincik, Olivier Jolliet, Filippo Della Croce - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-Lausanne
Greg Norris - Sylvatica & Harvard School of Public Health

Life Cycle Assessment comparisons of Electricity from Biomass. Coal, and Natural Gas
(abstract / slides as pdf / )

Margaret K. Mann, Pamela L. Spath
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Life Cycle Assessment of High-Performance Thermal Insulation Systems for Domestic Buildings
(abstract / slides as pdf )

Dipl.-Ing. Ivo Mersiowsky, TuTech Integrated Management, Hamburg/Germany
Dr. Hermann Krähling, Solvay Management Support, Hanover/Germany

LCA of Some Autovehicle Fuels in Romania
(abstract / slides as pdf )

Nicolae Peiu, Corneliu Horaicu Environmental Protection Inspectorate- County of Iasi, Romania.

Abstracts for Session: LCA Studies

Life Cycle Analysis at the Homebush Bay Olympic Site, Sydney, Australia

Authors: E. Laginestra*, J. Hudson*, A. Statzenko*

In preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the Olympic Co-ordination Authority (OCA) undertook to meet a range of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) commitments in the Environmental Guidelines for the Summer Olympic Games (1993). Life Cycle Assessments (LCA's) were used in the design and construction of some Olympic venues, including the Olympic Stadium, the Athlete's Village (now the Newington residential estate) and the site's main hotel (Novotel). The assessments have not only provided a history of the materials used in these development projects, but have also created an ongoing story, as the post-Games evolution of the Homebush Bay site continues.

The LCA of key materials and products were undertaken in the form of an "Eco-rating", assessing the total environmental impact of material manufacture, use and disposal. More specifically, the factors considered in the LCA's were:

This paper will present the LCA information gathered for the commissioning of these buildings, with respect to the perceived and real benefits, and outline ESD and LCA strategies to be pursued in their future development.

Since this paper is not available, more information can be obtained at:

*Sydney Olympic Park Authority, 7 Figtree Drive, Homebush Bay, NSW 2127, Australia

Contact e-mail:


Authors and affiliations, starting with presenting author:

Yves Loerincik1, Olivier Jolliet1, Filippo Della Croce1, Greg Norris2,

1Life Cycle Group for Sustainable Development, Environmental science and engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, EPFL, Switzerland,,
2Sylvatica & Harvard School of Public Health, MA, USA


The objective of this study was to assess the life cycle environmental impacts of the Internet Infrastructure in terms of the related primary energy consumption and the emissions of criteria pollutants. Looking at a local university network and to the overall US infrastructure, the production and use phase of the Internet related equipment were assessed using two approaches to Life Cycle Assessment: Process Life Cycle Assessment (Process LCA) and Input Output Life Cycle Assessment (IO-LCA)

Both approaches show that the PCs (control units and screens) are dominating the system energy use and CO2 emissions. The use phase plays a dominant role, but the embodied energy consumption during infrastructure production plays a significant role, increasingly important with the use of notebooks or flat screens. The results of the IO-LCA were a factor of 2 to 4.5 larger than the results of the Process LCA. The main source of this difference is the larger number of inputs considered by the IO-LCA (e-g air transportation for PC which plays a significant role), together with the differences regarding the geographical and temporal sources of the data. A hybrid approach is being applied in order to take advantage of both approaches and to overcome some of the obstacles encountered with the traditional methods.

The analysis further expands the boundaries by considering the environmental burdens of non-hardware input requirements, such as software, training, management, trouble-shooting. These so-called "costs of ownership" indeed dominate the overall expenses related to the EPFL PC network and their reduction, such as increased operating system stability, can significantly reduce both cost and total environmental footprint. A preliminary assessment has been performed to look at the potential reduction in emissions induced by the introduction of e-commerce. It could potentially reduce wholesale and retail, which are responsible for 14% of the total U.S. energy consumption.


Margaret K. Mann, Pamela L. Spath
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
1617 Cole Blvd., MS-1613, Golden, CO 80401

The generation of electricity, and the consumption of energy in general, result in consequences to the environment. Using renewable resources and incorporating advanced technologies may result in less environmental damage, but to what degree, and with what trade-offs? Life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have been conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on various baseload power generating options in order to better understand the environmental benefits and drawbacks of each technology. The systems that were studied are:

Each assessment was conducted in a cradle-to-grave manner to cover all processes necessary for the operation of the power plant, including raw material extraction, feed preparation, transportation, waste disposal, and recycling. A summary of the energy balance, global warming potential (GWP), air emissions, and resource consumption for each system will be given.

A sensitivity analysis was conducted on each system to determine which parameters had the most influence on the results and to pinpoint opportunities for reducing the environmental burden of the system. In general, parameters associated with increasing the system efficiency and reducing the fossil fuel usage had the largest effects on the results. Additionally, for the biomass systems, variables associated with growing a dedicated feedstock and factors affecting how much CO2 and CH4 are avoided by using biomass residue significantly affected the GWP of the system. Overall, however, the sensitivity analyses established that the conclusions drawn from these studies remain relatively constant as different parameters are varied.

Results from these studies demonstrate quite clearly that biomass power provides significant environmental benefits over conventional fossil-based power systems. In particular, biomass systems can greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced, per kWh of electricity generated. Additionally, because the biomass systems use renewable energy instead of non-renewable fossil fuels, they consume very small quantities of natural resources and have a positive net energy balance. Cofiring biomass with coal offers us an opportunity to reduce the environmental burdens associated with the coal-fired power systems that currently generate over half of the electricity in the United States. Finally, by reducing NOx, SOx, and particulates, biomass power can improve local air quality.

Dipl.-Ing. Ivo Mersiowsky, TuTech Integrated Management, Hamburg/Germany
& Dr. Hermann Krähling, Solvay Management Support, Hanover/Germany,
Domestic heating and cooling constitute a substantial share of the total national energy de-mand in industrialised countries. In Germany, one third of the final energy use is spent on the heating of buildings. More than half of the corresponding CO2 emissions could be avoided by energy reduction measures, not least by installing appropriate thermal insulation.
Among the blowing agents being applicable today and in the future for high-performance rigid polyurethane (PU) insulation materials are water/CO2, hydrocarbons and hydrofluoro-carbons (HFC). The new blowing agent HFC-365mfc possesses no ozone depletion potential (ODP) and is currently developed to replace the hydrochlorofluorocarbon HCFC-141b. How-ever, HFC-365mfc has a considerable global warming potential (GWP).
Life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have shown the overall environmental competitiveness of HFC-365mfc-blown PU products in a wide range of settings. Environmental profiles were calculated for Germany, Spain and Portugal. The climatic conditions were recognised as be-ing decisive for the environmental benefits of insulation products. There is a clear indication that high-performance PU foams blown with HFC-365mfc can contribute to climate protec-tion. By contrast, the political perception of hydrofluorocarbons often focuses on the specific substance properties (GWP) instead of the system performance. For high-performance ther-mal insulation products, however, the GWP contribution resulting from direct blowing agent emissions is more than balanced by the reduced CO2 emissions due to the lower heating and cooling energy demand.
In a partnership approach, several important companies along the supply chain have sup-ported these collaborative LCA studies, and a number of lessons were learned. This includes the potentials and limitations of positioning a high-performance product for specific applica-tions. Life cycle thinking is thus integrated into corporate planning, guiding both product de-velopment and marketing. Advantages are gained for the partners along the product chain as well as for customers and the environment


Nicolae Peiu, Environmental Protection Agency- County of Iasi, Romania.


In the process of transition to a market economy CEE countries are confronted with the problem of the proliferation of private cars with all associated negative burdens on the environment.

The study proposes the analysis of some autovehicle fuels in use in Romania, in order to demonstrate environmental performances of these fuels. The compared fuels are: conventional gasoline and diesel fuel, commonly used in Romanian cars and LPG recently introduced on the internal market.

The LCA is the ideal tool designed to give an objective answer to the question: which one of these fuels is preferable for the environment?

The study will use the standardized LCA methodology developed in ISO 14040 family standards. The functional unit is 100.000 km, the distance traveled during all the life cycle of a common Romanian car. The following unit processes are analysed in the in the life cycle of fuels: (1) oil extraction, (2) transport to refinery, (3) refinery, (4) transport for retailing, (5) distribution and (6) use.

The system boundaries are limited to the borders of Romania, including the continental platform of the Black Sea where a couple of platform for offshore extraction of oil work Transport by pipe of the crude oil to refinery and by truck from refinery to the distribution station was assumed. The cars used for the last step in the life cycle of fuels are Dacia 1310 (1300 cm3, 54 HP) equipped with double supply (gasoline and LPG) and ARO 10.4 (1870 cm3, 64 HP), both produced in Romania.

Some of the processes in the reference flow of life cycle of fuels generate co-products. In these cases it was difficult to find the possibility to avoid allocation in conformity with standard ISO 14040 requirements. Thus the economic allocation is used for the extraction of oil and associated natural gas and for the three analysed products of the refinery process (gasoline, diesel fuel and LPG). The data were collected from some Romanian onshore and offshore fields and platforms for the extraction of oil and some refineries from Romania. For tailpipe emission some published data resulted from tests carried-on also with cars equipped with double supply (gasoline and LPG) in Craiova (Romania) DAEWOO emission labs were used. For all the processes in the life cycle local data were completed with the help of CORINE (Europe) and EPA (US) emission factors.

In the EIA phase two different methods for weighting (Eco-indicator 95 and Eco-indicator 99) were used.

The LCA study shows that for many environmental aspects, Diesel fuel is better than the two other fuels. On the other hand, the LPG is also more friendly to the environment in comparison to gasoline (which is still used leaded in large quantities in the country). But the use of LPG does not seem to offer too much improvement for the environment because this fuel has the greatest emission of NOx. Some differences in the results of EI-95/EI-99 are explicable by the introduction of more substances for some impact categories such as summer smog or carcinogenic substances in EI-99. Concerning the level of emission of some pollutant substances in the exhaust gases of passenger cars in the use phase of the life cycle, all the analysed fuels do not observe the Euro norms. The study show that some substances (like NOx and metals) can play a key role in life cycle of products and we must focus improvement action on these substances.

In the future we have the intention to extend our LCA- analyse to other automotive fuels presenting interest for the road transport development in the country.