Life Cycle Analysis is a design and project management process that encourages stakeholders to consider whole-of-life factors when making project decisions. It challenges us to consider all life cycle aspects, not restricting us to market costs but also considering reuse, location of source materials, transport, maintenance and support functions, and end-of-life processes such as closed-loop recycling or upcycling.
The application of a Life Cycle Analysis process is critical in achieving the most sustainable outcomes for Engineering projects as we face challenges for a low carbon future, the need for greater recycling and the trend to reduce and reuse materials across all sectors.
Serious challenges confront the implementation of Life Cycle Analysis. It challenges the convention of thinking short-term that is prevalent in the decision-making process across many industries. It requires stakeholders to look at a project from various points across its life, which often requires a greater financial investment in the design phase, but ultimately leads to better environmental, social and economic outcomes over the project lifetime. LCA can be useful as a key tool for planning measures that move us towards a more sustainable future. We can use it to determine the life cycle stages which contain the greatest embodied energy, and therefore where the greatest improvements in efficiency can be realised. Organisations that fully implement Life Cycle Assessment thinking may also provide a long-term perspective on policy options.
Should Life Cycle Assessment be incorporated in infrastructure planning and other decisions to enhance sustainability of projects? If so, how can we do it and encourage our decision-makers to use it?
About the speakers
Dr. Enda Crossin
Senior Lecturer - Engineering Practice Academy, Swinburne University of Technology
Dr Crossin is a Chartered Professional Engineer in areas of Mechanical Engineering, Leadership and Management, and Project Management. He is an expert in materials engineering and environmental Life Cycle Assessment with almost 20 years' experience in both industry and universities.
He has led industry-based research projects for a range of sectors, including agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, packaging and the built environment, with current research focus on utilising Life Cycle Assessment to understand the environmental performance of new material systems, and waste management systems in Victoria.
Dr Crossin has also expanded his research profile to include engineering education and is the Research Director for the Engineering Practice Academy, where he leads the research theme ‘The Future of Engineering Practice’.
Dr Crossin will provide an introduction to the LCA methodology, as well as provide real-world examples of projects performed under LCA during his career.
Senior Manager - Green Star Solutions, Green Building Council of Australia
Leading the Green Star Solutions team, Nicole is responsible for Green Star certification and technical development of the Green Star rating system. With a combination of technical expertise and marketing experience, Nicole is able to communicate the complexities of sustainable design and construction with her customers.
Nicole holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with first class honours from UNSW and has worked in manufacturing, engineering design and construction environmental management. She has also provided technical sustainability support for products supplied to the construction sector. She has particular expertise in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and was the Chair of the World Steel Association LCA Expert Group and a member of several technical advisory and standards writing groups.
Nicole will discuss the use of the design strategy of LCA and how to explore and maximise the benefits of projects prior to and during development, using cases from her own experience.