Life cycle assessment of households in Santiago, Chile: Environmental hotspots and policy analysis

Camila López-Eccher, Elizabeth Garrido-Ramírez, Iván Franchi-Arzola, Edmundo Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study is to assess the environmental impacts of household life cycles in Santiago, Chile, by household income level. The assessment considered scenarios associated with environmental policies. The life cycle assessment was cradle-to-grave, and the functional unit considered all the materials and energy required to meet an inhabitant’s needs for one year (1 inh/year). Using SimaPro 9.1 software, the Recipe Midpoint (H) methodology was used. The impact categories selected were global warming, fine particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, freshwater ecotoxicity, mineral resource scarcity, and fossil resource scarcity. The inventory was carried out through the application of 300 household surveys and secondary information. The main environmental sources of households were determined to be food consumption, transport, and electricity. Food consumption is the main source, responsible for 33% of the environmental impacts on global warming, 69% on terrestrial acidification, and 29% on freshwater eutrophica-tion. The second most crucial environmental hotspot is private transport, whose contribution to environmental impact increases as household income rises, while public transport impact increases in the opposite direction. In this sense, both positive and negative environmental effects can be generated by policies. Therefore, life-cycle environmental impacts, the synergy between policies, and households’ socio-economic characteristics must be considered in public policy planning and consumer decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2525
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • City metabolism
  • Environmental management
  • LCA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Life cycle assessment of households in Santiago, Chile: Environmental hotspots and policy analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this