Title: Environmental impacts of household appliances in Europe and scenarios for their impact reduction
Citation: JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION vol. 267 p. 121952
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC117014
ISSN: 0959-6526 (online)
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652620319995?via%3Dihub
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121952
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Assessing the environmental impact due to consumption of goods and services is a pivotal step to-wards achieving the sustainable development goal related to responsible production and consumption (i.e. SDG 12). Household appliances plays a crucial role and should be assessed in a systemic manner, namely considering all life cycle stages, technological efficiency, and affluence aspects. The present study assess the impact of such household appliances used in Europe, and tests scenarios of potential impact reduction at various scales. Life cycle assessment is applied to 14 different household applianc-es (ranging from dishwashers to television devices) selected to build a set of representative products, based on their economic value and diffusion in households in Europe. Related impacts are calculated with the Environmental Footprint method for calculating a Consumer Footprint “appliances” for the baseline year 2010. A number of scenarios encompassing eco-solutions on a technical level, changes in consumption pattern, behavioral changes, as well as the combination of all these aspects are run to es-timate the Consumer Footprint related to household appliances for the year 2030, compared against this baseline scenario. The baseline Consumer Footprint is confirming the importance of the use phase in leading the impacts in almost all impact categories. Testing different scenarios concludes that there is a reduction of the impact for most of the categories (with up to 67% for the ozone depletion poten-tial, and still around 35% for the global warming potential), while two of the here examined impact cat-egories (i.e. land-use and mineral resource depletion) show an overall potential that is even negative – i.e. the results of all scenarios are higher than the ones of the 2010 baseline scenario. The increase in purchase and use of such appliances may offset energy efficiency benefits in some of the examined categories. Hence, the assessment of sustainability of appliances consumption should always include several scales, from the efficiency of the products (micro scale), to the improvement of the energy mix (meso scale), up to accounting for socio-economic drivers and patterns of consumption affecting the overall appliances stock (macro scale).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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