Environmental Impact Assessment for Manufacturing: Data Requirements for a Simulation-Based Approach
Paper in proceedings, 2012
The environmental footprint of products is an increasingly important measure for companies working to improve their sustainability performance, and the same measure has also become popular for marketing purposes. As a result, the demand for environmental product declarations and, thus, life cycle assessment (LCA) projects grows. To reap the full benefit from LCA studies in production systems analysis, LCA has more frequently been complemented with simulation of production flows (i.e. discrete event simulation) during the latest decade. Several examples of the DES-LCA combination in recent literature report substantial potential and successful implementations. However, a common problem is to establish efficient and credible procedures for collecting, analyzing, and representing the extensive amounts of input data required. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide recommendations for the management of environmental data in sustainability simulations. A review of seven previous DES-LCA projects provides a list of common sustainability parameters and experiences on how they should be collected and represented in simulation models. An important result is that deterministic representations appear to be enough for data not directly linked to production time. This finding makes it possible to replace time-consuming data gathering with collection of secondary data from public databases.
discrete event simulation