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Life Cycle Thinking
   
A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end - and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral.
Maynard James Keenan
 
   

Life Cycle Thinking


> According to the EU environment legislation, ISO 14000 environmental management standards and ensuring the highest standards of environment's concern, BHRI Institute has fully introduced for most of our products and services increasingly desirable LCA analysis.

A life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling). LCAs can help to avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:
 

Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases;
 

Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases;
 

Interpreting the results to help make a more informed decision.
 




In BHRI Institute we wish to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services in order to improve processes, support policy and provide a sound basis for informed decisions. That makes us different from other companies and gives us a competitive advantage, which is crucial for being the leading company in its innovative projects.

In this way we fully support the LCA analyses in all ours innovative products.


 

Quantifying Life Cycle Thinking with Life Cycle Assessment


> A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) quantifies and assesses the emissions, resources consumed, and pressures on health and the environment that can be attributed to different goods or services over their entire life cycle. It seeks to quantify all physical exchanges with the environment, whether these are inputs in the form of natural resources, land use and energy, or outputs in the form of emissions to air, water and soil. The inputs and outputs associated with a product's life cycle are collated in a "balance sheet", or life cycle "inventory".

For example, the production of a plastic bottle might consume x grams of extracted crude oil and y m³ of natural gas during production, resulting in z grams of CO
2 emissions. When an inventory of all the inputs and outputs has been made, they are grouped into impact categories such as "human toxicity" or "climate change".



The inputs and outputs are then converted into indicators for each impact category using models and scientific knowledge. For example, all greenhouse gases are grouped under the "climate change" impact category. In order to compare these and illustrate the contribution to climate change in the form of a single indicator (often known as the carbon footprint), all inputs are harmonised to an equivalent and then added together – in this case, as "kg of CO
2 equivalents". To further illustrate this, let us consider the example of methane gas. Methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Emissions of methane are therefore multiplied by 25 to get their global warming potential in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents.

The environmental performance of the product considering climate change is then presented as the global warming potential in the form of a total amount of CO
2 equivalents. Some impact categories may have greater relevance than others. It is possible to give the indicators a weighting depending on their relative importance. For example, is climate change more, or less important than resource depletion? This can then be used in an assessment to derive a single indicator. However, such a process inevitably introduces a level of subjectivity.