Sustainability Sources and Methodologies

Main Data Source

The LCA Calculator usesEcoInvent v2.2 data as its main data source.The EcoInvent database is the world’s leading database with consistent and transparent, up-to-date Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data. This data is licensed from the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, the world’s leading centre for materials life cycle data.

Results Units

Results are given as in kg CO2 equivalent, using the IPCC 2007, 100 year GWP (global warming potential) .This measure aggregates the global warming potential of all emissions over a 100 year cycle and relates it to the equivalent amount of CO2 to give those emissions.

Data Notes

Notes about the data source, what the data covers and the included transport steps are viewable as the data is entered into the LCA.In addition users can their own notes for all each selection they make.These can be used to explain assumptions or highlight areas for further investigation.

Other Data Sources

For a small number of materials or processes where suitable data is not available within the EcoInvent database alternative sources have been used or, in some cases, estimates have been made based upon similar process data.Where such estimates have been made these can be viewed in the material and process notes associated with the part.

Regional Energy Mix Data

If the region of manufacture is specified, CO2 values for electricity based manufacturing processes (but not material production) are uniquely adjusted based upon the energy mix for the region of manufacture. Energy mix values (CO2 per KWh) are taken from ‘Fuel Combustion 2010’ International Energy Agency.

Assumptions for Simplification

Calculations for manufacturing processes are calculated based upon the part mass. Where the energy use and CO2 emissions of a process are related to the components surface area (for example painting or plating processes) or length (such as cutting or welding processes), assumptions have been made about a typical part geometries (and simple options given) for the convenience of the user. Where such assumptions have been made, any inaccuracies arising from such assumptions have been judged to be of negligible significance. All such assumptions are documented in the notes tool.

Disposal and Recycling

Data for disposal has been taken form EcoInvent v2.2.In the LCA Calculator, the CO2 impact of recycling has been set to zero.The net benefit of recycling generally occurs within the life cycle of the product which uses the recycled materials rather than to the life cycle of the product whose material is recycled.In many cases the impact of recycling to the life cycle of the first product is actually higher than that of disposal to land fill. To avoid this disincentive to recycle, the LCA Calculator sets recycling impacts to zero, giving a small advantage over disposal to land fill.

Custom Data

The Corporate version of the LCA Calculator allows customers to use their own life cycle inventories or to enter data on materials, processes or transport steps specifically of relevance to their business.The Administrator console of the LCA Calculator allows the corporate administrator to manage their own database which is then available to all users within their organisation.Their data is not available to any other customers.

Applocability of Data and Methodologies

The LCA Calculator’s purpose is to provide the most relevant data and information to allow product designers, engineers and businesses to make more informed decisions about the sustainability of their products. However it should be noted that the figures used have been calculated as averages for particular processes or stages and often relate to a particular region.Significant variation will exist between different individual suppliers based upon a range of factors. For more details about the data sets and methodologies used visit www.ecoinvent.ch .

Updates and New Data

We welcome contact from companies, institutes and academics with further research and data in this area. Data sources for the LCA Calculator are continually under review and periodic updates will be made to reflect changes in industrial processes and data analysis methods.