Skip to main content

Three eco-tool comparison with the example of the environmental performance of domestic solar flat plate hot water systems

  • Authors
    Martinopoulos G.
    Tsilingiridis G.
    Kyriakis N.
Abstract

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a procedure used as an analytical tool for the evaluation of the
environmental impact caused by a material, a manufacturing process or product. For an end
product, LCA requires both the identification and quantification of materials and energy used
in all stages of the product’s life, together with their environmental impact. It requires therefore
a huge amount of data about materials, components, manufacturing processes, energy
consumption and the relevant environmental impacts.
For this reason, a number of software and databases have been developed, in order to
facilitate LCA users. These are the so-called Eco-Tools, used in an effort to minimize the
environmental impact of a product from the materials and the energy used for production.
In this paper, LCA is conducted for solar thermosyphonic systems, with the aid of three
commercially available Eco-Tools, usually used by LCA practitioners, namely: Eco-It, GEMIS
and SimaPro, and the results are compared. Although all three tools claim accordance with
the international standards and guidelines, differences do exist.
A typical solar thermosyphonic system (DSHWS) with a 4 m2 collector area and a capacity of
150 dm3 that covers the hot water needs of a three person family in Thessaloniki is used as
case study. The results of the three tools are compared for each component of the solar
system as well as for each material used and for the conventional energy substituted by the
system.