Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a Public University- the Case of Three Selected Activities at the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a holistic approach in identifying environmental impacts of a product, process, service or activity including all the supply chain steps, use phase and end of life. It gains much popularity in recent years among decision makers as it requires intensive data and projects a snapshot of any activity. We conducted LCA study on selected activities of Chittagong University (CU) as it is a tertiary educational institution functioning with multi-dimensional activities. The main goal of our study was to explore global warming potential (GWP) in terms of CO2-eq of those selected activities (Nursery activities, Transportation service, and Admission process). We also calculated the number of trees required to offset the carbon footprint incurred by those activities. Nursery activities data were collected through several field visits and questionnaire survey, and the inputs to include in the system boundary were finalized through review results from existing literature. We selected 1000 seedlings as functional unit of the study. Life cycle impact analysis was done based on different reference values of GWP of different inputs. We found 3.86 ton-CO2eq footprint for producing 1000 seedlings which is equivalent to life time of 3.86 individual trees. In case of transportation service provided by CU, we collected data about different routes of transportation, distances covered by the routes and fuel consumption. Total GWP of transportation service was 859.087 ton-CO2eq which is equivalent to one year carbon sequestration of 859 acres of plantation. In Admission process LCA, materials, energy, and fuel data were taken as inputs. We analyzed inventory data to find GWP in per student basis. We found total carbon footprint of admission process was 1621.6168 ton-CO2eq and life time of at least 1621 individual trees are required to offset this amount of carbon. We also found that the total amount paper used in admission process is equivalent to 1536 individual trees. The average GWP per student for admission process was 9.08 kg CO2-eq. Total carbon footprint of selected processes was 2484.5038tonne CO2-eq which amount requires life time sequestration of 2484 tree individuals and one year sequestration of at least 2484 acres of matured tree plantation. We recommended to redefine logistics routes and to implement proper logistics planning so that it will be carbon efficient. Environmental hotspots of admission process were identified and recommended measures were mentioned in the study. Finally, this study can be used as a source of baseline information for decision makers as it is a first of its kind research in Bangladesh.

Where to find

Personal email

Filed under

Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment

Author Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain
Institution Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
Advisor Dr. M Mosharraf Hossain
Expected graduation 2013