A blueprint for sustainable consumption and design including performance requirements

University dissertation from Stockholm : Byggvetenskap

Author: Martin Erlandsson; Kth.; [2004]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: ASustainable Consumption Evaluation(SCE) system framework is developed which is based on anextension of current LCA methodology. The SCE system results inEnvironmental Performance Requirements(EPR's) as the key means for its implementation insustainable design that can be used for product orproduct-service system benchmarking, monitoring and evaluation.The use of EPR's follows an already well-known managementsystem, which means that they will, when applied in design, behandled together with other functional aspects. The SCE systemalso makes it possible to determine whether an individual'slifestyle is sustainable, in the respect that it meets theperformance defined in a so-calledreal-vision, while however being conscious of itsrestrictions.A holistic way to describe the burden of the environmentalimpact is to focus on the consumption from an individual'sperspective. This way of analysing the problem provides theopportunity to evaluate the improvements that can be achievedby changing our lifestyle and our consumption patterns withinthe socially, economically and technically feasiblealternatives. Therefore, in this thesis, it was foundappropriate to divide the consumption into a number of superiorso-calledlife-supporting services(LSSs). Since these LSSs are analysed in a life cycleperspective, they cover all environmental impacts caused bymankind.To illustrate a sustainable development, a holistic,realisable, future scenario - a real-vision -is elaboratedaccording to the SCE system framework. From this real-vision itis then possible to define acceptable impact permits dividedinto a number of LSSs. The real-vision takes part in aprocedure performed in order to define the EPR's that includethe aimed LSSs in terms of being ecologically sustainable,economically as well as technically realistic, and sociallyacceptable (including ethical impacts).To make an assessment of what is ecological sustainabilitypossible, anEnvironmental Quality Objective(EQO) normalisation procedure is introduced. The developednormalisation procedure facilitates the reporting of differentimpact categories in a common unit that is achieved withoutincluding direct value choices. When the EQO normalisation isutilised, no limitation concerning public communication of theresult and its applications exists, according to the ISO 14 042regulation.The result of the developed framework composes a proactivedesign tool, as well as a concurrentclassification system, if verified by the EPR. The real-vision defines the EPRsaccording to environmental class A - Sustainable. In additionto class A, it is possible to define an environmental class C -Acceptable, which means that the EPRs agree with today's praxisor comply with some regulation or standard. The environmentalclass B - Environmentally Sound is between class A and C, butstill represents a relatively ambitious performance.Further, the outlined SCE system framework is specified andput into practice by an implementation of theLSS Living. Already accomplished consensus work that is accepted inSweden is utilised as a basis to define operationalmarket-based EPRs. The EPR category included and elaborated isImpact EPRs, which demonstrate the most innovative part of theSCE system. Impact EPR corresponds to what is often referred toas an environmental profile according to the LCA methodology.If the EPR for LSS Living according to environmental Class A -Sustainable is applied, this should result in a reduction ofabout 50 % of the current environmental impact.Key words:Classification system, Environmental QualityObjective (EQO); EQO normalisation, Environmental PerformanceRequirement (EPR); Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); Life-SupportingService (LSS); living; real-vision; sustainable consumption;Sustainable Consumption Evaluation (SCE); sustainableconsumption; sustainable design.

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