Influence of simplification of life cycle inventories on the accuracy of impact assessment: application to construction products

Lasvaux, Sébastien (University of Paris-East, Saint Martin d'Hères, France) ; Schiopu, Nicoleta (University of Paris-East, Saint Martin d'Hères, France) ; Habert, Guillaume (ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland) ; Chevalier, J. (University of Paris-East, Saint Martin d'Hères, France) ; Peuportier, Bruno (MINES ParisTech, Palaiseau, France)

The simplification of life cycle inventories (LCIs) by reducing the number of elementary flows is a major issue regarding their use in sector-specific applications. It can ease the understanding of complete LCIs and focus on the most relevant elementary flows. Current LCIs that have been created for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) differ from databases provided by academics, in which more than a thousand flows are considered, as they contain a reduced list of substances. In this paper, we examine the consequences of these simplified LCIs on the accuracy of the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) step. We consider the specific case of an LCI database for building products that was developed in France. Three environmental midpoint and endpoint indicators are analysed: the global warming potential (GWP), the photochemical ozone formation potential (POCP), and the disability-adjusted life years (DALY). The results for 110 building materials indicate that a simplification is not always relevant, as large uncertainties were detected in the final results, especially for the environmental indicators describing the photochemical ozone creation and the damage to human health that require a larger number of LCI flows. In the case of the GWP indicator, the simplification is relevant for approximately 95% of the building materials. The analysis of the key elementary flows for each indicator enables the identification of missing elementary flows in the simplified LCI. Perspectives and recommendations are provided to improve the level of details of simplified LCIs according to the impact assessment methods.

Note: LASVAUX, Sébastien est un chercheur à la HES-SO, HEIG-VD, depuis 2015.

Article Type:
Ingénierie et Architecture
IGT - Institut de Génie Thermique
10 p.
Published in:
Journal of Cleaner Production
Numeration (vol. no.):
2014, vol. 79, pp. 142-151
Appears in Collection:

Note: The status of this file is: restricted

 Record created 2021-03-05, last modified 2021-03-19

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