An introduction to dynamic consequential LCA of infrastructures

An introduction to dynamic consequential LCA of infrastructures

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An introduction to dynamic consequential LCA of infrastructures

1-2:30 PM 1.5 hours (2 CEUs)

Instructor: Hessam Azarijafari

Conducting an LCA of infrastructures on a large scale, such as, when considering its policy-related implications or requirements are distinguished from small scale assessment. In the large-scale assessment, it is important to assess the changes induced through the demand of other products with the same function and/or the induced production volume of the co-producing processes. Consequential LCA (CLCA) is employed to capture the direct and indirect environmental consequences of alternative selection in different sectors. Previous CLCA studies have only captured the long-term affected technologies in distinct phases of the product life cycle. Hence, the results tend to neglect the short-term impacts and the impacts of short-run product systems. In fact, the lack of dynamic accounting in CLCA prevents policy-makers from gaining a more informed and comprehensive analysis of emission flows over time. Furthermore, given the long use phase of infrastructures, the vast number of interdependent parameters constantly change as a function of time. A dynamic structure is essential to link these parameters to dynamic characterization factors. Moreover, apart from being complex and requiring the prediction of technological improvements, applying the emission factors and fuel consumption or efficiency improvements can help enhance the accuracy of the decision-making process involved in the selection of alternatives. In this workshop, in the first section, an introduction of CLCA will be presented and will be followed by the opportunities for dynamic inclusion in the CLCA studies. In the second part, the assessment of uncertainty and variability sources will be presented to show to what extent the dynamic CLCA results can vary. This workshop will help scholars, LCA consultants, and industries think in a comprehensive way about the approach chosen for their assessments in large scales.