Using screening level environmental life cycle assessment to aid decision making A case study of a college annual report

Using screening level environmental life cycle assessment to aid decision making A case study of... Purpose – The purpose of this study is to compare the life cycle environmental impacts of the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Sciences' current printed annual report to a version distributed via the internet. Design/methodology/approach – Life cycle environmental impacts of both versions of the report are modeled using the online environmental input‐output life cycle assessment (EIO‐LCA) tool. Most monetary model inputs were obtained from the University of Cincinnati and the others were estimated. Results are presented for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, water use, and human and ecosystem health impacts. Alternative scenarios reflecting different reader behaviors were evaluated. Findings – The electronic report reduces economic costs and all categories of environmental impacts so long as the recipients do not print the report at home. Impacts of the printed report were higher than the electronic report due to impacts associated with paper production and disposal and to a lesser extent differences in the impacts of mail versus electronic distribution. The environmental preferability of the options is heavily influenced by the number of users who choose to print the electronic report at home; if more than 10 percent print at home, it offsets the benefits of the e‐report. Research limitations/implications – Using the EIO‐LCA tool limited the accuracy of the results by using average US data for a specific supply chain. It was limited by assumptions about reader behavior with the e‐report. Practical implications – This case study demonstrates how a screening level life cycle assessment (LCA) might be used by a university administrator to make decisions supported by quantitative environmental information. Originality/value – The screening level LCA‐based approach can provide grounding for environmental decision making within a reasonable time period and cost while maintaining sufficient accuracy for guiding purchasing or product decisions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Using screening level environmental life cycle assessment to aid decision making A case study of a college annual report

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/using-screening-level-environmental-life-cycle-assessment-to-aid-w01C0g1MPS
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/14676371211190272
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to compare the life cycle environmental impacts of the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Sciences' current printed annual report to a version distributed via the internet. Design/methodology/approach – Life cycle environmental impacts of both versions of the report are modeled using the online environmental input‐output life cycle assessment (EIO‐LCA) tool. Most monetary model inputs were obtained from the University of Cincinnati and the others were estimated. Results are presented for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, water use, and human and ecosystem health impacts. Alternative scenarios reflecting different reader behaviors were evaluated. Findings – The electronic report reduces economic costs and all categories of environmental impacts so long as the recipients do not print the report at home. Impacts of the printed report were higher than the electronic report due to impacts associated with paper production and disposal and to a lesser extent differences in the impacts of mail versus electronic distribution. The environmental preferability of the options is heavily influenced by the number of users who choose to print the electronic report at home; if more than 10 percent print at home, it offsets the benefits of the e‐report. Research limitations/implications – Using the EIO‐LCA tool limited the accuracy of the results by using average US data for a specific supply chain. It was limited by assumptions about reader behavior with the e‐report. Practical implications – This case study demonstrates how a screening level life cycle assessment (LCA) might be used by a university administrator to make decisions supported by quantitative environmental information. Originality/value – The screening level LCA‐based approach can provide grounding for environmental decision making within a reasonable time period and cost while maintaining sufficient accuracy for guiding purchasing or product decisions.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 6, 2012

Keywords: Decision making; Electronic media; Print media; Annual reports; Environmental input‐output models; Communications; Life cycle costs; Life cycle assessment

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off