Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Life Cycle Assessment is a method for analysing the environmental impact of a product throughout its life-cycle, from the extraction of raw materials (the cradle) to handling the waste (the grave).
Environmental adaptation of the product or service
A life cycle assessment helps focus developmental work on the area in which the greatest environmental improvements can be achieved. Depending on the purpose of the analysis, there are several ways in which it can be carried out. We think a life cycle assessment is most appropriate when knowledge is being sought with an open mind as to how the product, process, project or company impacts the environment. Even a simplified analysis at a reasonable cost can be of great benefit.
What do you say to a customer who asks about the product's environmental impact? A life cycle assessment provides facts for a good customer dialogue. Environmental declarations based on a life cycle assessment report the quantitative environmental facts in an objective, reliable way. Swerea has itself made this type of environmental declaration, describing the climatic impact of our own activities.
Design of environmental management systems
The handbook Measuring your company's environmental impact has helped many companies understand the impact their activities have on the environment by analysing the entire flow of resources through the company. This analysis can easily be modified to a life cycle assessment for one of the company's products.
Swerea has been carrying out life cycle assessments since the mid-1990s. More than 200 different products have been analysed. Most assessments are performed as company commissions and are therefore confidential. However, some are available in public domain reports, see below.
- Life cycle assessment of personal computers
- Life cycle assessment of lithium-ion batteries for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
- Life cycle assessment of Z-Bee, an electric vehicle with body made of composite materials