Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir
Chapter 4: Spatial and Temporal Life Cycle Assessment: Ozone Formation Potential from Natural Gas Use in a Typical Residential Building in Pittsburgh, USA
Shannon M. Lloyd and Robert Ries INTRODUCTION 4.1 Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a systematic, analytical process for assessing the inputs and outputs associated with each life cycle stage of a product or system. For a residential building this includes materials use, energy use, environmental discharges, and waste associated with extracting raw materials that make up the building, manufacturing building components or products, transporting and installing building materials and products, and operating, maintaining and decommissioning the building. The spatial and temporal aspects of a building’s life cycle are important because environmental inputs and outputs vary over the building’s long life span; the materials, components and subsystems which form a building are produced in many different locations; and the environmental impact depends not only on the building system, but also on its interaction with the natural environment and its occupants (Ries and Mahdavi 2001; Ries 2002). An industrial ecology perspective requires an understanding of the interactions between industrial systems supporting the building life cycle and the affected natural ecosystems. An industrial ecology approach can be better optimized by understanding when, where and to what extent these interactions occur. In LCA, inputs and outputs are typically aggregated across a product’s entire life cycle. The potential impact for different environmental impact categories (for example climate change and photochemical smog) is estimated by multiplying aggregate emissions by established characterization factors. Characterization factors estimate the potential impact for individual pollutants based on physico-chemical mechanisms 38 Spatial and temporal life cycle assessment 39 which influence how...
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