Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to assess freshwater-related impacts according to a new water footprint framework formalized in the ISO 14046 standard. To date, no consensus-based approach exists for applying this standard and results are not always comparable when different scarcity or stress indicators are used for characterization of impacts. This paper presents the outcome of a 2-year consensus building process by the Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment (WULCA), a working group of the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, on a water scarcity midpoint method for use in LCA and for water scarcity footprint assessments.In the previous work, the question to be answered was identified and different expert workshops around the world led to three different proposals. After eliminating one proposal showing low relevance for the question to be answered, the remaining two were evaluated against four criteria: stakeholder acceptance, robustness with closed basins, main normative choice, and physical meaning.The recommended method, AWARE, is based on the quantification of the relative available water remaining per area once the demand of humans and aquatic ecosystems has been met, answering the question “What is the potential to deprive another user (human or ecosystem) when consuming water in this area?” The resulting characterization factor (CF) ranges between 0.1 and 100 and can be used to calculate water scarcity footprints as defined in the ISO standard.After 8 years of development on water use impact assessment methods, and 2 years of consensus building, this method represents the state of the art of the current knowledge on how to assess potential impacts from water use in LCA, assessing both human and ecosystem users’ potential deprivation, at the midpoint level, and provides a consensus-based methodology for the calculation of a water scarcity footprint as per ISO 14046.
Nowadays, there is an increasing discussion among specialists about water use efficiency and the best measures to improve it. In Portugal, there have been a few attempts to expand the implementation of in situ water reuse projects. However, there is a lack of information about indoor water uses and how they are influenced by sociodemographic characteristics. There are several studies that investigate per capita global water usage, but the partitioning of this volume per domestic device and daily cycles is yet unknown. Identified as one of the key questions in sustainable building design, the water end-use is of primary importance to the design of hydraulic networks in buildings. In order to overcome this lack, a quantitative characterization of daily water uses for each domestic device was performed, based on a weekly monitoring program in fifty-two different dwellings in the northern region of Portugal (Vila Real, Valpaços and Oporto). For forty of them, each water usage of different domestic devices of each dwelling was recorded. At the same time, the remaining twelve dwellings were also monitored in order to register the volume of water consumed in each utilization of each domestic device. This paper presents the results of this complete monitoring program, using collected data to establish indoor water use patterns for each domestic device, aiming to support a more realistic approach to residential water use. The daily cycles in the different cities, where the monitoring program was performed, are also presented, in order to evaluate possible influences of sociodemographic characteristics.
Former integrated urban energy assessments and optimisation have modelled domestic hot water (DHW) demand as a single stream, as space heating, currently, is the main energy demand in buildings and a detailed DHW modelling was therefore not required. However, the characterisation of energy saving measures (e.g. grey water heat recovery) and the selection of optimal heating utility in buildings with low temperature space heating would benefit from a differentiation of the various DHW end-uses at urban scale (building blocks, streets, districts, city). To this end, a new method characterising the main DHW appliances in households, hotels and nursing homes at urban level, is proposed. A review of European publications characterising water uses is conducted and utility load and energy consumption equations are developed. A specific model for district heating heat exchangers without thermal storage for integrated urban energy optimisation is proposed. The DHW-related energy consumption results are confirmed by literature values in a real urban case-study. Showering represents more than 80% of the DHW energy demand, and more than 97% of the total DHW heat use is required up to 40 °C. The proposed method contributes to urban energy assessments and optimisation by improving the level of detail of the outcomes and by strengthening their integrated approach.
An LCA of the cultivation of switchgrass in the Mediterranean region of Spain is carried out, based on 2010–2013 inventory data from experimental plots of two sites, Moncofar and Orihuela. Thus, a 4-year cycle is evaluated, considering different sources of variability. The functional unit is 1 t of switchgrass (dry basis) for electricity generation. Besides typical impact categories, blue and green water consumption impacts are also addressed by using watershed-specific characterization factors. In 2010, the production in Orihuela is more input-intensive than it is in Moncofar, while the biomass yield is lower. This causes greater climate change as CO -eq. (709.1 vs. 65.0 kg t ) and greater metal depletion as Fe-eq. (8.1 vs. 1.5 kg t ). In the subsequent years, the yields are higher in Orihuela, and Moncofar performs worse for some specific impact categories, mainly the toxicity-related ones, and also metal depletion as Fe-eq., but only in 2011 (2.0 vs. 1.2 kg t ). Due to larger irrigation doses, the blue water impact as ecosystem-eq. water is always higher in Orihuela (e.g. in 2010, 2020 vs. 390 m t ). On the contrary, the green water impact, also as ecosystem-eq. water, is greater in Moncofar, except for the first year (86.8 vs. 15.2 m t ). Switchgrass from the two locations could be eligible for bioelectricity production in the European Union in accordance with the sustainability requirements for greenhouse gas savings. decisions on crop management are, however, critical to the environmental impacts, evidencing the importance of taking a multi-year approach.
Regionalised characterisation factors (CFs) for watersheds around the world are available to assess water use-related environmental impacts. The main problem with using the watershed regionalisation level arises when a single CF is generated for large watersheds in countries where water availability and demand are not uniform. Additionally, water availability and use vary over time because of the effects of climate change and changing human lifestyles. These two factors are currently not taken into account in CFs, but should be included for the sake of the accuracy of LCA results. The aim of this research was to provide water stress index CFs at the sub-watershed spatial level for three temporal scenarios (present, short-term future and mid-term future) for Spain (Southern Europe), a country with considerable variability in water availability that is especially vulnerable to climate change effects.CFs were calculated following the water stress index (WSI) definition of Pfister et al. (Environ Sci Technol 43(11):4098–4104, 2009). The WSI was calculated on a yearly basis for 117 sub-watersheds—compared to 56 regionalisation units provided in the original method—and for (i) the current situation: current water use and availability; (ii) short-term future: projections for 2015; and (iii) mid-term future: projections for 2030. The uncertainties of the CFs were calculated for each sub-watershed.Temporal trend analysis of the CFs showed a general relaxation of water stress over the short-term when compared to the current situation, followed by a new increase. Major differences were noticed in the WSIs calculated by Pfister et al. (Environ Sci Technol 43(11):4098–4104, 2009) using global data and maps and the WSIs calculated in this study using national and regional data. The WSIs under consideration of uncertainty were higher than the deterministic result for intermediate WSIs.The CFs generated are useful compared with the CFs previously available because they improve evaluation of the water use-related impacts of present and future technologies with the life cycle stages located in Spain. We encourage LCA developers to update WSIs for other countries using information at the national level that is usually freely accessible.
The present work investigates the photocatalytic degradation efficiency of biorecalcitrant macrolide antibiotics in a circulating tubular photoreactor. As target pollutants, spiramycin (SPM) and tylosin (TYL) were considered in this study. The photoreactor leads to the use of an immobilized titanium dioxide on non-woven paper under artificial UV-lamp irradiation. Maximum removal efficiency was achieved at the optimum conditions of natural pH, low pollutant concentration and a 0.35 L min(-1) flow rate. A Langmuir-Hinshelwood model was used to fit experimental results and the model constants were determined. Moreover, the total organic carbon analysis reveals that SPM and TYL mineralization is not complete. In addition, the study of the residence time distribution allowed us to investigate the flow regime of the reactor. Electrical energy consumption for photocatalytic degradation of macrolides using circulating TiO2-coated paper photoreactor was lower compared with some reported photoreactors used for the elimination of pharmaceutic compounds. A repetitive reuse of the immobilized catalyst was also studied in order to check its photoactivity performance.
A screening campaign of drugs of abuse (DOA) and their relevant metabolites in the aqueous environment was performed in the Netherlands. The presence of DOA, together with the potential risks for the environment and the possible human exposure to these compounds through consumption of drinking water was investigated. Sewage water (influent and effluent), surface water of the rivers Rhine and Meuse, and drinking water (raw and finished) were analysed by four different laboratories using fully in-house validated methods for a total number of 34 DOA and metabolites. In this way, data reported for several compounds could also be confirmed by other laboratories, giving extra confidence to the results obtained in this study. In total 17 and 22 DOA were detected and quantified in influent and effluent sewage samples, respectively. The tranquilizers oxazepam and temazepam, and cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine were found in high concentrations in sewage water. Nine compounds were possibly not efficiently removed during treatment and were detected in surface waters. The results indicated that substantial fractions of the total load of DOA and metabolites in the rivers Rhine and Meuse enter the Netherlands from abroad. For some compounds, loads appear to increase going downstream, which is caused by a contribution from Dutch sewage water effluents. As far as data are available, no environmental effects are expected of the measured DOA in surface waters. In raw water, three DOA were detected, whereas in only one finished drinking water out of the 17 tested, benzoylecgonine was identified, albeit at a concentration below the limit of quantification (<1 ng/L). Concentrations were well below the general signal value of 1 μg/L, which is specified for organic compounds of anthropogenic origin in the Dutch Drinking Water Act. ► The Dutch water cycle was screened for the presence of 34 drugs of abuse (DOA). ► Samples were analysed by four different laboratories using fully in-house validated methods. ► DOA were determined in influents (17) and effluents (22), surface water (9), and raw water (3). ► Neither environmental effects nor human health risks are expected for the detected DOA.
The paper presents the results of a study carried out on Lampedusa Island (Italy) and based on the survey of electricity consumption data. The main outcomes of the study are: The study shows how electricity consumption in Mediterranean small islands are very high with respect to the national average and lays the basis for future studies on the impact of automation and Renewable Energy Sources on the energy supply-demand sustainability of the island.
Objective To investigate dietary and non-dietary characteristics of wholegrain bread eaters in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study. Design Cross-sectional study using an FFQ. Setting Women were divided into two groups according to wholegrain bread consumption. Subjects Adult women (n 69 471). Results Median daily consumption of standardized slices of wholegrain bread was 25 in the low intake group and 45 in the high intake group. The OR for high wholegrain bread consumption was 028, 219 and 463 for the first, third and fourth quartile of energy intake, respectively, compared with the second quartile. Living outside Oslo or in East Norway and having a high level of physical activity were associated with high wholegrain bread consumption. BMI and smoking were inversely associated with wholegrain bread consumption. Intake of many food items was positively associated with wholegrain bread consumption (P trend <001). After adjustment for energy intake, consumption of most food items was inversely associated with wholegrain bread consumption (P trend <0001). The mean intakes of thiamin and Fe were higher in those with high wholegrain bread consumption, even after taking energy intake into account. Conclusions Energy intake was strongly positively associated with wholegrain bread consumption. Geographical differences in wholegrain bread consumption were observed. Our study suggests that women with high wholegrain bread consumption do not generally have a healthier diet than those who eat less wholegrain bread, but that they tend to be healthier in regard to other lifestyle factors.
► Large energy monitoring and lifestyle campaign in the residential sector, in 12 EU countries. ► Information technologies and entertainment loads: key contributors to the power demand. ► Potential electricity savings up to 48% are possible in the European residential sector. ► Cold appliances, lighting and electronic loads are the main responsibles for the electricity savings. ► BAT associated with responsible consumer behaviour can reduce wasteful consumption. Although significant improvements in energy efficiency have been achieved in home appliances and lighting, the electricity consumption in the European Union household has increased by 2% per year during the past 10 years. Some reasons are associated with an increased degree of basic comfort and level of amenities and with the widespread utilisation of new types of loads. Wishing to increase the understanding of the energy consumption in the EU households for the different types of equipment including the consumers’ behaviour and comfort levels, and to identify demand trends, an energy monitoring campaign, was carried out in 12 geographically representative EU countries, accompanied by a lifestyle survey. From the measurements carried out it was concluded that Information Technologies and entertainment loads are key contributors to the power demand. In basically all types of loads there is wide range of performance levels in the models available in the market. Available technology, associated with responsible consumer behaviour, can reduce wasteful consumption. Based on a bottom up approach the European residential sector potential electricity savings that can be implemented by existing technologies and improved behaviour can reach 48%. The paper presents policy recommendations promoting market transformation and behavioural changes in the equipment selection and operation.