COMPARISON OF A WATERCOOLER AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES IN TERMS OF THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS USING THE LCA METHOD

  • 1Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Pilsen, CZ

Abstract

The environmental impacts of products are evaluated based on an assessment of the influence of material and energy flows that the evaluated product system exchanges with the environment. The University of Southern Denmark is also dealing with this, and from the point of view of sustainable development, drinking watercoolers are being investigated using the Life Cycle Assessment method. This research conducts a Life Cycle Impact Assessment of drinking water supply systems at a university to determine if they fit the institution's sustainability agenda. In the evaluation, the impact of one beverage delivered from watercoolers is compared with beverages from five benchmarked systems. These systems are tap water, ice-chilled water, bottled water, soft drinks and hot drinks. They are set up in scenarios that are directly used for evaluation and subsequent comparison. This study uses a variant of “Cradle-To-Grave” Life Cycle Assessment, where a full assessment occurs from resource extraction to disposal, while using an attributive approach. The results of the life cycle assessment showed which system has the lowest impact and the results are quantified. Finally, based on the results of the life cycle assessment, the most suitable water chiller system is recommended and the University management is provided with information for further decision making.

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