In 1998, the Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) launched a five-year national project entitled “the LCA Project”. The purpose of the project is to develop common LCA methodology as well as a highly reliable database that can be shared in Japan.
Activities over these five years have resulted in the supply of LCI data on some 280 products from Industrial associations voluntarily provided data. The results of these activities are currently being made available on the Internet in the form of an LCA database. In addition, a method entitled “Life-cycle Impact assessment Method based on Endpoint modeling (LIME)” was developed. It is expected that these results will be widely used in Japan. This paper presents an outline of the results of the LCA database and the activity for the dissemination in JEMAI.
The Swedish national LCA database was built to support industrial LCA needs. All experiences during the build-up and all data were documented so that the acquired knowledge should be useful in the future. This article describes many learnings and positive side-effects from ten years of establishing that database. The national co-operative form is presented, as well as the layout of the project. The data format and data quality approaches are described in terms of relevant choices and learnings. Learnings acquired in the project were put into use early, and integration of LCI data acquisition with industrial environmental information systems were tested in industries as early as 1997, and full-scale tests were proven successful in 2001. Integration with DfE methodologies has also been tested at industrial scales, as well as semi-automated environmental reporting.
In 2005 the database is still running and is actively maintained and is further developed. Companies start to want to update the database, and all key learnings from the ten years are available and can be utilised as competence for new projects, strategies and visions for more and better LCA data.
This paper provides an overview on the content of the ecoinvent database and of selected metholodogical issues applied on the life cycle inventories implemented in the ecoinvent database. In the year 2000, several Swiss Federal Offices and research institutes of the ETH domain agreed on a joint effort to harmonise and update life cycle inventory (LCI) data for its use in life cycle assessment (LCA). With the ecoinvent database and its actual data v1.1 a consistent set of more than 2'700 product and service LCIs covering the energy, transport, building materials, chemicals, pulp and paper, waste management and agricultural sectors is now available. Datasets are valid for European and Swiss conditions but partly also for other regions in the world (e.g., gas and oil extraction, metals mining). Nearly all process datasets are transparently documented on the level of unit process inputs and outputs. Methodological approaches have been applied consistently throughout the entire database content and thus guarantee for a coherent set of LCI data. This is particularly true for market and trade modelling, and for the treatment of multioutput and of recycling processes. Most multi-output processes are implemented as such, i.e., in their unallocated form with several co-product outputs and related allocation factors. With the help of these allocation factors, unit process raw data are derived and additionally stored in the ecoinvent database. This approach guarantees that 100 % of all inputs to and outputs from the multi-output process are allocated to the co-products. Transparency in reporting on a unit process level helps to adjust allocation factors applied on a multi-output process to one’s own needs. With limited own efforts one can even change the allocation approach from allocation to system expansion, in case this is considered more appropriate. Although measures have been taken to minimise errors in the database, they cannot be excluded. A pro-active information policy on data errors is followed. It helps the users to judge whether they may still work with the present version of ecoinvent data or they better correct selected errors that might otherwise influence the outcome of their current LCA case studies. The existence of the ecoinvent database proves that it is possible and feasible to build up a large interlinked system of LCI unit processes. The project work proved to be demanding in terms of co-ordination efforts and consent identification. One main characteristic of the database is its transparency in reporting to enable individual assessment of data appropriateness, to support the plurality in methodological approaches when using an ecoinvent dataset in another context and to allow for efficient and individual error corrections.
The Software-System and database GaBi for Life Cycle Engineering of IKP, University Stuttgart, has been made available to the LCA-community as a professional tool since 1992. In September 2002, the new version GaBi4 was released together with PE Europe, available in English, Japanese and German.
The GaBi software System and database supports LCA and LCE practitioners in efficiently performing LCA studies. While the database once has been main reason for using GaBi, the version GaBi3 became one of the world leading tools for professional use under WindowsTM also for its software capabilities and the easy to use graphical user-interface. Main aspects were also the modular approach and high flexibility.
Several, fundamentally new functions were implemented during the development of GabBi4 and become more easy to learn and use as well as more flexible and powerful.
This paper explains the powerful features in LCI modeling, visualization, balance analysis, helpful features and LCE support of GaBi software.
Environmentally conscious design, also known as eco-design, is essential for realizing sustainable manufacturing. For the past several years, Toshiba has been developing design methods and tools to support eco-design based on a life cycle approach. This paper describes “Easy-LCA,” life cycle assessment（LCA）software based on an environmental input-output（IO）database, and presents an application example. In general, an IO-based LCA database is certified from the viewpoint of system boundary. One of the features of our LCA database is that the number of inventory data items is the largest among IO-based LCA database systems developed in Japan.
Therefore, this software tool is particularly useful when life cycle inventory（LCI）data are applied in life cycle impact assessment（LCIA）. In the application example, the Easy-LCA database was utilized to calculate the environmental impact of a refrigerator. Also, an overview of a new LCA database using the year 2000 version of the Japanese IO table is introduced.
In connection with LCA, research (methodology and infrastructure) has progressed by many specialists and professors. What’s more, it has become useful in many industrial company or social fields. Therefore LCA is now very popular in Japan. At next stage, we think it is necessary that LCA should become more available for the designers and sales persons. They want to make use of LCA method for designing，and LCA results for environmental communication and marketing. For these purposes, the system is expected to calculate LCA easily and to obtain high reliability in society.
SimaPro is the most popular LCA software produced by Pre consultant in Netherlands, and Yamatake is the only dealer of it in Japan. In addition to automatic calculation LCI and LCIA, some features help their requests. These features include: easiness to use, availability of many kinds of European LCI-databases, visualized chart (which is easy to understand the results), high reliability for the result (uncertainly analysis is available in SimaPro6), and modeling of the disposal scenario in detail for recycle or reuse etc.
TEAMTM is a powerful tool that was developed to facilitate the completion of complex and time-consuming LCA studies which are often the cases. The strength of TEAMTM is that it allows companies and industries to model infinite variation of their targeted processes.
The latest version of TEAMTM (4.0) has been developed to comply with the terminology and methodology outlined in the ISO 14040 series of standards. In addition, the data management features of TEAMTM 4.0 allow users to import and export data modules in a standardized format (SPOLD). All of these aspects make it the best tool available for users looking to integrate life cycle thinking into its strategy.
The impacts of urban heat island phenomenon on human activity and ecosystems have already been obvious in Japanese large cities. To discuss importance of urban heat island mitigation measures, it is necessary to identify and quantify urban heat island impacts such as change in energy use (cooling, heating and hot water supply), change in water use, heat stress, damage to urban ecosystem, air pollution, change in precipitation and floods, etc. In this paper, cause-effect chain of urban heat island impacts is proposed and some examples of heat island impacts in Osaka city are identified and evaluated. Change in energy consumption in residential and commercial sector is evaluated quantitatively by numerical simulation. The result shows the difference in total energy consumption by different air temperature is small since decrease in heating and hot water energy use compensate for increase in cooling energy use.
In this paper, listed are the articles related to LCA studies on energy area which have been published in International scientific journals with peer review during 1975-2005. Articles in 110 International scientific journals have been queried on “Life Cycle Assessment”, ”Life Cycle Analysis”, ”LCA”, “LCI”, “LCIA”, etc. 217 articles related to LCA study on energy have been on list and sorted into 9 categories.