The purpose of this study is to propose a method for harmonising Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) literature studies on the same product or on different products fulfilling the same function for a reliable and meaningful comparison of their life-cycle environmental impacts. The method is divided in six main steps which aim to rationalize and quicken the efforts needed to carry out the comparison. The steps include: 1) a clear definition of the goal and scope of the review; 2) critical review of the references; 3) identification of significant parameters that have to be harmonised; 4) harmonisation of the parameters; 5) statistical analysis to support the comparison; 6) results and discussion. This approach was then applied to the comparative analysis of the published LCA studies on tap and bottled water production, focussing on Global Warming Potential (GWP) results, with the aim to identify the environmental preferable alternative. A statistical analysis with Wilcoxon's test confirmed that the difference between harmonised GWP values of tap and bottled water was significant. The results obtained from the comparison of the harmonised mean GWP results showed that tap water always has the best environmental performance, even in case of high energy-consuming technologies for drinking water treatments. The strength of the method is that it enables both performing a deep analysis of the LCA literature and obtaining more consistent comparisons across the published LCAs. For these reasons, it can be a valuable tool which provides useful information for both practitioners and decision makers. Finally, its application to the case study allowed both to supply a description of systems variability and to evaluate the importance of several key parameters for tap and bottled water production. The comparative review of LCA studies, with the inclusion of a statistical decision test, can validate and strengthen the final statements of the comparison.

A method for improving reliability and relevance of LCA reviews: The case of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of tap and bottled water

Masoni, Paolo;Ottaviano, Giuseppe;Scalbi, Simona;
2014

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to propose a method for harmonising Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) literature studies on the same product or on different products fulfilling the same function for a reliable and meaningful comparison of their life-cycle environmental impacts. The method is divided in six main steps which aim to rationalize and quicken the efforts needed to carry out the comparison. The steps include: 1) a clear definition of the goal and scope of the review; 2) critical review of the references; 3) identification of significant parameters that have to be harmonised; 4) harmonisation of the parameters; 5) statistical analysis to support the comparison; 6) results and discussion. This approach was then applied to the comparative analysis of the published LCA studies on tap and bottled water production, focussing on Global Warming Potential (GWP) results, with the aim to identify the environmental preferable alternative. A statistical analysis with Wilcoxon's test confirmed that the difference between harmonised GWP values of tap and bottled water was significant. The results obtained from the comparison of the harmonised mean GWP results showed that tap water always has the best environmental performance, even in case of high energy-consuming technologies for drinking water treatments. The strength of the method is that it enables both performing a deep analysis of the LCA literature and obtaining more consistent comparisons across the published LCAs. For these reasons, it can be a valuable tool which provides useful information for both practitioners and decision makers. Finally, its application to the case study allowed both to supply a description of systems variability and to evaluate the importance of several key parameters for tap and bottled water production. The comparative review of LCA studies, with the inclusion of a statistical decision test, can validate and strengthen the final statements of the comparison.
Tap water;Comparability Life Cycle Assessment (LCA);Bottled water;Global warming potential
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/3032
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
social impact