Expand your technical expertise with 1.5 and 3-hour workshops led by industry experts. Workshops offer in-depth dives into emerging issues, new technologies, and the latest tools and topics you need to know.
This course will give you the latest on Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), what they are, why you need them and how to create them. Resources and tools will be shared. There will be time for discussion and Q&A. The session will be taped and will be available on-demand for attendees.
Using Federal LCA Commons Resources to Submit Data to the USLCI
The Federal LCA Commons (FLCAC) is an interagency initiative to provide publicly available federal life cycle datasets. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) USLCI database is part of the FLCAC, and provides the opportunity for industry to share life cycle data. The objectives of this course are to 1) update participants on the status of the FLCAC resources and how to navigate and obtain public data for use in their projects, and 2) to use online USLCI support resources to walk participants through formatting and submitting their data for publication in the USLCI. The course will walk through the publication workflow from a local file to published dataset on lcacommons.gov using the openLCA software. The course will also demonstrate opportunities to use different FLCAC repositories together (e.g., using the USLCI with the recent FLCAC U.S. ElectricityLCI data). At the end of the course, the user will have a clear understanding of the what, why, and how of life cycle inventory data publication on the USLCI, and gain deeper insight into the FLCAC.
It’s broadly recognized that single use items and our culture of disposability are helping fuel the environmental crisis. Is utility or the underutilization of products, parts and packaging overlooked in your lifecycle analysis? From soda bottles to cheap clothing worn only a handful of times, most sustainability efforts are directed towards ex-post solutions instead of enhancing the utility or finding ways to extend a product’s lifespan. If sustainability efforts should align with impact, then logic dictates that we need to re-shape our thinking about how a product, its parts and packaging are all used. The rapidly changing regulatory outlook, like the EU’s New Consumer Agenda, and heightened scrutiny on sustainability efforts from consumers and investors will force many companies to reassess these strategies. This workshop will highlight key regulatory changes that could impact product design. It will discuss a framework and use historical examples to help you think about how to extend the life of your product through design, added durability, reuse and repurposing.
Hands-on introduction to Social Life Cycle Assessments (S-LCAs)
Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) provides a systemic approach to identifying social impacts on various stakeholder groups caused by companies involved in the value chains of products or services. After a short general introduction to S-LCA, including the UN guidelines for S-LCA, the Social Hotspot Database (SHDB) will be described. Participants will get access to the web-based SHDB tools during the workshop. And learn how to model their product or corporate supply chain, identify hotspots, and calculate a social footprint.
White Spaces Related to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Next-Gen Materials
This course aims to introduce the participants to the new technologies of next-gen materials; gaps in the existing materials industry and markets; and the gaps in sustainability/LCA approaches that can be solved via collaborative work amongst stakeholders in the industry. The term “next-gen materials” refers to materials that are more sustainable, high-performance, livestock-free direct replacements for conventional animal-based leather, silk, down, fur, wool, and exotic skins. Participants of the workshop will gain an understanding of the broad range of next-gen material technologies and the potential of the next-gen industry to provide lower impact materials for the fashion, automotive, and homegoods industries. Because of the nascency of this industry, most next-gen materials are in the R&D phase, which means that new manufacturing processes and novel bio-based raw material inputs are still evolving, making the practicality of full LCAs difficult. Similarly, innovators may not have access to available and verified datasets for which to measure environmental impact for these new materials and processes. Further, this new industry needs best practices for appropriate LCA methods and system boundaries, and standardized guidelines such as Product Category Rules (PCR). Consequently, the workshop aims to educate the participants about the issues faced by the next-gen material innovators, and their customers (brands) in estimating the product environmental footprint or LCA. Though LCA methodologies are accurate for design and supply chain tracking, there is a lack of consensus relating to comparative LCAs, particularly for different materials (e.g., comparing bovine leather, to synthetic PU leather, to plant-based leather). Some of the strategies that could be implemented to avoid unintended consequences and biased decision making are: consistency in methodology; data disclosures/transparency; choosing impact categories of concern/scope; comparative studies between different material categories, etc.
Absolute Sustainability, Planetary Boundaries, Ecosystem Services, and LCA: Theory and Application
"This course will introduce the concepts of ecosystem goods and services, relative and absolute environmental sustainability, and ways of incorporating these concepts in LCA. After motivating the need for these methods, we will describe the mathematical framework that expands the framework of LCA to include the role of ecosystems in life cycle assessment and engineering design. This multiscale framework encourages establishment of Techno-Ecological Synergies in LCA (TES-LCA). It integrates biophysical models and data with information about planetary boundaries and life cycle inventory. Illustrative examples of various degrees of complexity will help in understanding the theory and practical benefits of the framework. Applications to case studies such as biofuels, plastics, and solar energy will be used to compare conventional LCA with TES-LCA and relative sustainability metrics with absolute sustainability metrics. Examples will also focus on calculation of regional sustainability metrics. In the three hour version of this course, we will describe the development of software to perform TES-LCA. A prototype will be available so that participants can gain hands-on experience with the software tool."