Questions tagged [life-cycle-analysis]

LCA is a method for quantifying the impacts of a product, process, or service over its entire supply chain. Carbon, energy and water footprinting are well-known subsets of LCA.

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32
votes
3answers
2k views

Which solar power technology has the highest energy return on investment (EROI aka EROEI)?

Which solar-electric technology had the highest EROEI? Energy Returned On (Energy) Invested, also known as EROI and as EROEI, has become something of a fashionable metric *but see footnote. It is ...
57
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5answers
11k views

Which is more sustainable: aluminium can, plastic bottle or glass bottle?

I was wondering which drink container is the most sustainable one, when looking at the big picture (complete life cycle analysis). So far, I can see the few following points: Transport: plastic and ...
23
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3answers
2k views

How to determine whether hybrid cars are really more sustainable than traditional cars?

I purchased a Prius many years ago, but many of my friends have put forth claims that the batteries are very toxic and thus I may in fact be creating more harm than good in using a hybrid and that ...
14
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3answers
3k views

Are plastic cups more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs?

Many years ago I read that plastic cups, like this: are more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs, like this: This is rather counter-intuitive. If I remember correctly, I believe the argument ...
23
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1answer
502 views

Do small portable solar chargers generate more energy than it costs to produce them?

I know large solar panels generate more energy than is needed to manufacture them, but what about small portable solar chargers for mobile phone or radio? I've read somewhere that their efficiency is ...
12
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2answers
105 views

When to buy new, when to keep the old?

How can I calculate if it makes sense from a resource-conservation perspective to purchase a new, more energy efficient appliance, and when it makes sense to use an old appliance until it is beyond ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Are “eco-friendly” pens and pencils actually more sustainable than the conventional models?

There are a number of "eco-friendly" pens and pencils on the market advertising recycled content and other "green" features, but are they really as good as they look? Many standard wooden pencils use ...
8
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4answers
1k views

What is more sustainable, using a mechanical pencil or a pen?

I was considering to use the same device for writing from now on and I was considering two alternatives: a mechanical pencil or some kind of refillable pen. Which of these two options is more ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

I'm trying to decide what type of printer to buy. I've read a number of posts on the web where people claim that laser printers are more durable than ink-jet printers. Some people say this is because ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Sustainability of LED production?

Not all LEDs are the same. Standard LEDs use various combinations of indium, gallium, arsenic, silicon, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and a couple other elements. Most of these need to be mined from the ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Environmental impact of using paper towels for hand drying

At work, I have noticed a staggering level of paper towel usage and it's disheartening to see it getting wasted, even though hand dryers are installed in all rest rooms. I plan to propose reducing the ...
17
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1answer
159 views

Long-term sustainability concerns of compact flourescent vs incandescent light bulbs

There is a strong movement to push people away from using incandescent lightbulbs in favor of compact flourescent bulbs in order to save energy, but the pollution profiles of these bulbs are very ...
3
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0answers
52 views

WTW versus LCA approach in carbon footprint calculations?

I recently did some carbon footprint calculations for the organization I work for. I used conversion factors I found at the Dutch CO2 emission factors website. This website lists standard emission ...
3
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0answers
83 views

Is there a “break even point” or life cycle analysis directory or calculator that's kept up to date?

I've seen plenty of one-time calculations dedicated to one specific thing (usually plastic vs metal straws, or reusable vs disposable cups) but don't know of any organizations or even blogs that ...
5
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1answer
71 views

Is there an “energy returned on materials invested” index for energy sources?

We already try to measure how much energy is invested (EROEI) in the production of energy, but I have a hard time finding numbers on the materials invested. For example: What is the total energy a ...