Abstract

As global environmental concerns increase, industries continue to respond prominently to meeting sustainable practice standards through technological innovations and new business models. However, current sustainability measurement tools, including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), do not provide practitioners with sufficiently standardized methodology, which leads to uncertainty and limited comparability of results. This research develops a systematic Object-Oriented LCA method to define and quantify the consumed life of a product system during the use scenario under analysis. In this method, the Cumulative Damage Function (CDF) quantifies the consumed life of a product by using inputs of total efficiency or damage, scaling parameters and a use scenario. By adding a systematic methodology around use parameter, scaling parameter, damage multiplier, and energy definition there can be confidence that the framework’s CDF accurately represents the product system use phase. In particular, the new contribution of a damage multiplier creates a model that quantifies the unique aspects of user behavior that are otherwise not captured by product engineering metrics. The proposed method was applied to a practical case study to assess the effectiveness of the approach and the feasibility of modeling using SimaPro® software. The results demonstrate that a systematic approach using common tools, such as functional decomposition, to define use phase parameters helps remove practitioner variability and increase accuracy of quantifying a product system use phase.

Publication Date

12-14-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Sustainable Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)

Advisor

Marcos Esterman

Advisor/Committee Member

Brian Thorn

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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