What is sustainable technology?

The role of life cycle-based methods in addressing the challenges of sustainability assessment of technologies

Kind of publication : VOLUME


Authors: Grazia Barberio, Lucia Rigamonti, Alessandra Zamagni


Publisher: ENEA


pp. 90, 2012


ISBN: 978-88-8286-270-I


Price: free



 

The volume collects all the scientific contributions presented during the 2nd DIRE Meeting “What is sustainable technology? The role of life cycle-based methods in addressing the challenges of sustainability assessment of technologies”, hosted on 27 September 2012 by the 18th IGWT Symposium at the “Federico Caffè” Faculty of Economics of the Roma Tre University.

Technologies are acknowledged to have important implications for sustainability and LCA, together with other life cycle-based methods, offers the methodological framework for carrying out such assessment, which is quite challenging for three main reasons. Firstly, emergent technologies like nanotechnologies deliver products which often are not end products, but can be applied to a quite broad range of (unforeseen) applications. Secondly, many of these technologies are at laboratory scale and thus data availability and scale up effects are open questions which strongly affect the assessment. Finally, rebound effects may occur, when the increased benefit/efficiency gained by the new technology is partly spoilt or turned into a loss. Overall, technologies in a broad sense behave like complex systems, characterized by non-linear relationships, feedback loops, emergent phenomena, and tangled connections among the parts.

The articles presented in the meeting address a broad range of methods (and their application) for the sustainability assessment of technologies, ranging from the applications of Life Costing (LCC) to new technologies, methodological proposals for dealing with the impact assessment phase in Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA), and the integration between LCA, LCC and S-LCA into a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment.

Together with the methodological developments, several papers presented interested case studies in different sectors, such as forestry operations, agricultural practices, energy production from renewable sources, waste management systems and transport, just to mention a few. Moreover, the question of how to use the results of the assessments and how to communicate them has been dealt with, and a proposal of a structured Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) system is presented.

 

 




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PUBBLICATO IL: 20/01/2012

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