, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp 343-351

Part II: Dealing with parameter uncertainty and uncertainty due to choices in life cycle assessment

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Abstract

Results of product assessments are often criticised as to their handling of uncertainty. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive methodology reflecting parameter uncertainty in combination with uncertainty due to choices in the outcome of LCAs. This paper operationalises the effect of combined parameter uncertainties in the inventory and in the characterisation factors for global warming and acidification for the comparison of two exemplary types of roof gutters. For this purpose, Latin Hypercube sampling is used in the matrix (inventory) method. To illustrate the influence of choices, the effect on LCA outcomes is shown of two different allocation procedures in open-loop recycling and three time horizons for global warming potentials. Furthermore, an uncertainty importance analysis is performed to show which parameter uncertainties mainly contribute to uncertainties in the comparison and the separate environmental profiles of the product systems. These results can be used to prioritise further data research.