An approach for handling geographical information in life cycle assessment using a relational database

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Abstract

A new data model has been developed to handle information relevant to site-specific life cycle assessments (LCA). The model is orientated towards GIS-representations of three generalised subsystems. The technical, the environmental and the social subsystems. The technical and environmental systems are mainly linked through flows of energy and matter, which are the causes of environmental impacts, which subsequently is perceived, evaluated and acted upon by the social subsystem. For all three systems important differences, attributable to geographical locations can be determined. With the new data model a possibility to enhance LCA and reach more relevant results emerge due to a higher site specificity. The high level data model is expressed as relations between different entities using the entity relationship (ER) modelling language. An existing LCA-database, SPINE, which is already used by several companies for decision support in product development, can be utilised since the structure of the database supports geographical information. So far, applications with GIS-data are limited, but examples of area specific LCA impact characterisation factors exist.

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Bengtsson, M., Carlson, R., Molander, S., & Steen, B. (1998). An approach for handling geographical information in life cycle assessment using a relational database. In Journal of Hazardous Materials (Vol. 61, pp. 67–75). Elsevier Sci B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3894(98)00109-5

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