The importance of including secondary effects when defining the system boundary with life cycle perspective: Case study for design of an external wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Life cycle assessment and life cycle cost analysis are suitable tools in trying to minimize environmental impact and cost. To get reliable results it is crucial to set up correct system boundaries for the investigation, but it is often difficult to understand a complex products system because of the cascade effects of consequences that can be induced even by small changes. In this paper the effects and consequences evaluation (ECE) method is introduced to systematically identify and organize the effects and consequences for a design change of parts of a complex system. The method is applied in a case study of external wall insulation for a new building to investigate the importance of correct system boundaries. Using the methodical approach in identifying all significant consequences showed that unexpected unit processes can be important when deciding on the relevant system boundary. We also conclude that such processes can have a significant impact on the final results by calculating the change in global warming potential and life cycle cost for the processes affected by the design option.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology

Keywords

  • Building, External wall, Global warming, Life cycle assessment, Life cycle cost assessment, System boundary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1113
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume143
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes