Keywords

life cycle assessment, ict and sustainability, ict and energy efficiency, life cycle inventory database, life cycle modelling, environmental informatics

Start Date

1-7-2008 12:00 AM

Description

Informatics can make a relevant contribution to sustainable development, if the effects of ICT applications are systematically assessed from a life-cycle perspective and the results of life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies are taken into account by decision makers. The basic scheme of a product life cycle includes the three phases production, use and end of life. In the production phase, raw materials are transformed into the product. In the use phase, the product delivers the service it has been intended for. After the service life of the product ends, parts of the product may be reused or recycled. The rest leaves the system for final disposal or to be recycled in other product systems. Only if life-cycle thinking is applied both to ICT products and to products influenced by ICT applications, is it possible to decide whether a potential ICT application will have a positive or negative environmental impact on the bottom line. With life-cycle thinking, it will be possible to make substantial steps toward sustainable development. Informatics, and in particular environmental informatics as a specialized sub-discipline of it, can contribute to life-cycle thinking by supporting the modelling and data collection process in LCA studies. In addition, dynamic simulation models are useful in prospective technology assessment where LCA methodology reaches its limits.

Share

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Informatics and the Life Cycle of Products

Informatics can make a relevant contribution to sustainable development, if the effects of ICT applications are systematically assessed from a life-cycle perspective and the results of life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies are taken into account by decision makers. The basic scheme of a product life cycle includes the three phases production, use and end of life. In the production phase, raw materials are transformed into the product. In the use phase, the product delivers the service it has been intended for. After the service life of the product ends, parts of the product may be reused or recycled. The rest leaves the system for final disposal or to be recycled in other product systems. Only if life-cycle thinking is applied both to ICT products and to products influenced by ICT applications, is it possible to decide whether a potential ICT application will have a positive or negative environmental impact on the bottom line. With life-cycle thinking, it will be possible to make substantial steps toward sustainable development. Informatics, and in particular environmental informatics as a specialized sub-discipline of it, can contribute to life-cycle thinking by supporting the modelling and data collection process in LCA studies. In addition, dynamic simulation models are useful in prospective technology assessment where LCA methodology reaches its limits.