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Life Cycle Assessment As A Tool For Green Manufacturing Education

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Exploring New Frontiers in Manufacturing Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.867.1 - 9.867.10



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Paper Authors

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Trevor Harding

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1163

Life Cycle Assessment as a Tool for Green Manufacturing Education

Trevor S. Harding

Kettering University, Flint, MI 48504


The design and production of engineering products that have a reduced impact on the environment and human health has increasingly become a strategic goal of corporations. Consequently, starting engineers will need to be educated in green design techniques. One method that is particularly attractive to engineers is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is an objective approach to evaluating the environmental burden of a product, process or activity by identifying and quantifying material and energy usage and waste outputs at every life stage. LCA involves three steps: identification of scope of analysis, life cycle inventory, and impact analysis. Such an approach has two attractive features for engineers. First, it is a rational and quantitative process that is easily appreciated by engineers. Second, because it examines all stages of the life cycle, it allows engineers to easily identify what design or process improvements will lead to the greatest reduction in environmental impact.

The present paper will describe a laboratory experience used in a senior level materials and process selection design course developed by the author. The project involves conducting a LCA analysis on a telephone as part of a redesign of the phone to reduce its environmental impact. Students begin the project by dismantling the phone and taking inventory of the materials contained within the phone. This information is used to determine the energy consumed in production of the phone. Information is also provided regarding energy consumption in the distribution, use and disposal of the phone. Students are then asked to examine a variety of different design and process changes and determine the relative change in environmental impact resulting from these changes. The paper will discuss the LCA approach (including streamlined LCA), details of the laboratory project, student outcomes and suggestions for improving the project.


With increased societal and industrial interest in reducing the environmental impact of human activity, the need for environmentally conscious design and manufacturing has become more pronounced. While there have been considerable national and international efforts in recent years, including ISO 140001, corporations are only now beginning to recognize the need to train product and manufacturing engineers in the tools and techniques of design for environment2. Engineers have tremendous influence on the environmental impact of products at all life stages

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Harding, T. (2004, June), Life Cycle Assessment As A Tool For Green Manufacturing Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13994

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