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Environmental assessment


Under the umbrella term of environmental assessment we recognize a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods. The spectrum ranges from easy to use qualitative tools - such as the MET-Matrix, where the used materials, consumed energy and related toxicities are described - to more complex, quantitative methods, such as the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), where products are modelled in a detailed manner to derive different environmental impact categories (e.g. Global warming potential [GWP], Eutrophication potential [EP], Abiotic resource depletion [ADP], etc.).

 

The following table shows a comparison of qualitative and quantitative methods:

Qualitative methods (e.g. Checklists, MET-Matrix,..)

Quantitative methods (e.g. LCA, PCF,..)

Application area- For results used internally e.g. developing product improvement strategies- For results used externally, e.g. for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)
Advantages- Easy application
- Quick to perform
- High informative value
- Takes different environmental impacts into account
Disadvantages

- Less accuracy
- Low validity

- Requires a lot of data
- Time-consuming
Timing within the product devolopment process- Early in product development- Late in product development (due to detailed data requirement)

 

Additional Information


The ECODESIGN PILOT, a qualitative Tool for improving the environmental performance of products has been developed by the ECODESIGN research group. On the basis of the products' environmental profile the software provides tailor-made strategies. Each strategy contains a checklist for identifying possible product improvements.

ECODESIGN+ is an easy to use environmental assessment software tool for calculating, improving and communicating the product carbon footprint of products and services.

The LCA to go-Tools are sector specific simplified LCA-tools available for: bio-based plastics, industrial machines, electronics (including printed circuit boards, semiconductors and passive components), renewable energy, sensors and smart textiles.