LCA analysis of LED road luminaries

SERVICE MERCATO CLIENT Azienda del settore illuminazione YEAR 2020

Client brief

 Apply LCA methodology to compare the environmental performance, from a life-cycle perspective, of an innovative product against a traditional product with the same function.

 

Project challenge

for an important industrial lighting company, to develop a database of electrical and electronic components and assess the potential environmental impact of all the phases and processes involved: from the extraction of primary resources, to their transport, processing and assembly, through to the disposal and recovery of the main elements.

Solution

A cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of two luminaires was carried out: a traditional luminaire with a die-cast aluminium frame and the other with a technopolymer frame. The analysis was conducted in accordance with the UNI EN ISO 14040:2006 and UNI EN ISO 14040:2018 standards. A report of the findings was produced detailing the environmental impacts of each component of the two frames and each life cycle stage considered in the study. In addition, the report included an extensive comparative section in which the results of the LCAs were compared to see in which aspects one product was more competitive than the other.

 

Esecution phases

FASE 1

Drawing up checklists to collect data on the extraction of raw materials, production and transport of components, assembly, energy consumption during use, routine and end-of-life maintenance of each luminaire and its components.

FASE 2

Data processing for classification into macro-categories (components) and material types.

 

FASE 3

Assessments of the weight and quantities of each component and the percentage of total packaging for each device.

 

FASE 4

Assessment of transport distances for the component production and distribution phases.

FASE 5

Classification of the end of life of each component based on its composition and CER identification code.

FASE 6

Creation of end-of-life, disposal and recovery scenarios for each electronic component, evaluating the impacts and potential benefits deriving from recoveries (of matter and energy).

FASE 7

Creation and analysis of LCA models using calculation software.

FASE 8

Interpretation of results and sensitivity analysis.

FASE 9

Preparation of a technical paper (LCA report) and client delivery with debriefing.

Achieved results

The LCA analysis made it possible to i) understand the components and phases with the greatest impact and on which to intervene in the R&D phase to reduce potential environmental impacts (eco-design); ii) exploit the results to launch commercial strategies focused on the lower impact of the innovative luminaire compared to the traditional one; iii) responding to the public administration’s requests in the tender phase to identify the efficient use of resources used in the implementation, maintenance and end-of-life of luminaires (Minimum Environmental Criteria – MAC for “procurement of light sources for public lighting, procurement of luminaires for public lighting, procurement of design services for public lighting systems” within the Green Public Procurement National Action Plan).

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