Data 3: Opportunities & Challenges Creating Industry Specific Data & Interoperability of Databases

Finding appropriate data for life cycle assessments is imperative to conducting meaningful studies, but can be quite challenging and time consuming when data has to be created from scratch. Learn how these organizations have created industry specific data for the following sectors: the Chilean construction market (Concrete, Steel, Claybrick, Wood and Gypsum Plasterboard), synthetic rubber (Polybutadiene, styrene-butadiene rubber, emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber and styrene-butadiene styrene) and zinc (zinc concentrate and special high grade zinc). In addition, learn about the UNEP Shonan Guidance Principles and criteria for creating interoperability and management principles for databases.

16:00 Barbara RodriguezCristian EmhartMichelle SenermanAlejandro FlorenzanoCristobal LoyolaMariana AguirreMarcelo VelascoIngrid SotoFelipe CeleryXimena OrtegaMaricel Gonzalez and Katherine Martinez

ECOBASE: Materials and Building Products Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Database for the Chilean Construction Sector

ABSTRACT. ECOBASE, is a public commissioned study which major goal is to provide the methodology, database and calculator for the development of the national life cycle inventories (LCI) for the food and construction sector in Chile. The following paper addresses the latter.

Following the global trend towards sustainable construction, the Chilean building industry has developed, in recent years, national building design standards for improving the environmental performance of buildings using objective criteria and third-party verification. However, while the operational energy and GHG emissions from buildings have become progressively studied, resource use assessments in the building supply chain are incipient. In this context, the National Sustainable Construction Secretariat commissioned the ECOBASE Construccion project which main goal is to elaborate a national environmental life cycle database for construction materials. In the future, these emerging inventories should allow for a more holistic environmental assessment of different building systems.

This study describes the process of developing the LCI for the five most used building product categories in the Chilean market: Concrete, Steel, Claybrick, Wood and Gypsum Plasterboard. LCI is done using both direct data from primary sources in the production processes; secondary data, from existing databases and general bibliography, which in conjunction enable the calculation of official national averages for the Chilean industry.

The database considers disaggregated LCI flows and the environmental impacts of each profile, for six midpoint impact categories: Global warming, respiratory effects, water scarcity index, mineral depletion, fossil fuel depletion and photo-chemical smog. These priority categories where defined through a stakeholder participation process with project principals and relevant actors of the construction industry in Chile. In addition, the basic flows that contribute to several of these categories are available through a public data base of emissions and pollutant registration administered by Ministry of the Environment (RETC) that includes information on the emissions to air and water, and the hazardous waste transported to treatment or final disposal of several national companies.

The final product of this project involves the implementation of an open access LCA calculator for non LCA-experts, empowering industry stakeholders- from government, companies and academia-with the capacity to incorporate LCA data into their management process. This is the first tool of its kind developed for non expert users in the construction industry to use LCA tools and data, thus it contributes to bridging the gap between scientific LCA knowledge and the general audience.

The following paper informs the LCI methodology used for this project, the data collection process, the calculation of the LCIA for sixteen products within the five product categories and the description of the LCA calculator for non LCA-experts.

16:15 Paula Bernstein

Industry Average LCA of Four Synthetic Rubber Products

ABSTRACT. The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) wanted to conduct an industry average LCA study on four synthetic rubber products in order to help members identify the environmental impacts of their products and respond to customer inquiries. Across the globe, environmental information has been requested of member organizations by their customers on a more frequent basis.

This presentation will describe the process used to conduct this industry wide LCA study and an overview of the results. PRé conducted LCAs for four types of synthetic rubber for IISRP including Polybutadiene (BR) rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR), emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR) and styrene-butadiene styrene (SBS) rubber. PRé worked with participating companies to gather data on material and energy inputs and the associated emissions to the environment throughout the upstream supply chain of the products being studied. Data was supplied from 18 companies at 38 facilities across three geographic regions (North America, Europe, and Asia). The system boundaries of this project are “cradle to gate”, which includes raw materials and manufacturing, and excludes distribution to customers, use, and end of life.

Four metrics were analyzed including total energy demand, climate change, eutrophication and acidification. Four full life cycle assessment reports were created on the production weighted average product, which identify key drivers of environmental impacts for each of the four products.

Impact category Unit Elastomer A Elastomer B Elastomer C Elastomer D Total energy demand MJ 88.2 92.9 97.9 96.8 Climate change kg CO2 eq 2.54 3.13 3.66 3.70 Eutrophication kg N eq 1.79E-04 2.13E-04 2.18E-04 2.41E-04 Acidification kg SO2 eq 0.0082 0.0095 0.0106 0.0107

This project not only created an industry average life cycle assessment for four products, but also allowed companies to respond to customer requests for LCA data through the creation of data communication sheets containing life cycle inventories and emission factors for each product. This study provided insight into the main drivers of environmental impacts in the synthetic rubber supply chain based on an industry average product and how individual companies perform compared to other participants in the study.

16:30 Nicholas SanteroEric Van GenderenMaggie WildnauerNadir Sidi and Christoph Koffler

Global Life Cycle Assessment of Zinc

ABSTRACT. The International Zinc Association (IZA) recently completed its life cycle assessment (LCA) for zinc concentrate and special high grade zinc. This global LCA includes primary data from 24 mines and 18 smelters, which cover 4.9 million metric tons of zinc concentrate and 3.4 million tons of special high-grade zinc, respectively. Collectively, the data and associated model account for the relevant production processes, including zinc ore mining and concentration, transportation of the zinc concentrate, and zinc concentrate smelting. This data was modeled in GaBi 6 and complemented with background data from the GaBi databases to create the cradle-to-gate LCA model.

This presentation will review the process by which the LCA model was created, the results from the study, and the challenges related to allocation and data gaps. In particular, allocation demands associated with different impact categories required resolution using innovative modeling techniques. Recommendations and lessons learned from this study will provide LCA practitioners insight into how to conduct large-scale, global LCAs and how to deal with the complex issues that arise in these projects.

16:45 Andreas CirothBruce Vigon and Guido Sonnemann

UNEP Shonan Guidance Principles criteria to improve interoperability of LCI databases presented and applied; Shonan Guidance reality check

ABSTRACT. The UNEP Shonan Guidance Principles are one important result of an international “Pellston” workshop held in 2011 in Shonan village near Tokyo, where about 50 well-known, experienced LCA scientists and practitioners agreed on interoperability and management principles for LCI databases. Aim of a recent project by SETAC and UNEP was to develop criteria that allow assessing the conformance of LCI databases with these Shonan Principles.

The criteria are now available in a draft mode, on a database and data set level, for system and unit process data sets. Some of the criteria are only informative, while others are seen as essential for Shonan-conformity. For these, there are minimum scores for Shonan conformity proposed. These criteria have been applied on four relevant European databases, for randomly selected data sets in these databases.

The criteria will be presented and their application will be demonstrated. The application shows that some of the criteria are surprisingly hard to meet by different databases, although they are reflecting the Shonan report and the broad, worldwide consensus reached therein. Problems arise often from very practical aspects that seem relatively easy to change.

In a conclusion, it will be shown how the criteria help to identify potential interoperability issues in databases, and thereby are one step towards better interoperable LCA databases. A potential future use and refinement will be discussed.