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LCA Software for Engineering Training on Product Development
1 , 2 , 2 , 3 , * 2
1  BSH Electrodomésticos España S.A.,
2  i+-aiTIIP, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Zaragoza
3  Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technologies, University of Zaragoza

Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainability Education and Approaches
Abstract: Environmental conscience has been growing gradually in recent decades. The market is demanding ecological actions over the products, and legislation is introducing ecodesign measures in products. Because of that, ecodesign is becoming an important discipline in engineering, to take into account the environmental impact of the product during its development, performing Life Cycle Assessment, but it is not still a common discipline in engineering. Training focused on LCA for product development is essential to introduce ecodesign between engineering students, who are not used to work with environmental concepts. The best tool for this training is LCA software to learn through the practice how to calculate the environmental impact of a design, and how this results can be used to improve their designs from an ecological point of view. This work presents the ECOTOOL, software designed to train engineers in LCA methodology. Current existing LCA software are not prepared to be used by untrained engineers, sometimes because they are difficult to be used due to large databases and the complex working environment, and sometimes they are extremely simplified, not sensitive to design modifications. ECOTOOL allows complete LCA performing with a working environment similar to other engineering tools, like professional CAD software, well known by engineers. It is provided with reduced databases, training helps, simplified results and an intuitive working environment to allow students to easily analyze the environmental impact of their designs and apply design actions to optimize it, at the same time they learn the concepts of LCA methodology. Comments to the editor: Thank you for your kind review. The claim that 'the market is demanding ecological actions' will be explained and justified in the paper, as there are links between European legislation and the environmental conscience in Europe. The expression "appropriate training" has been modified in the abstract to avoid misunderstandings. With “appropriate” we intended to mean that the training should be focused on environmental impact assessment for product development, and not just focused on environmental impact assessment in a scientific context, talking only about the calculation and the scientifically basis. For us, it is very important to focus the training in this discipline into a practical application, which is the product development, so products could be improved from an ecological point of view thanks to environmental impact assessment during the design process.
Keywords: Training; software; ecodesign; LCA
Comments on this paper
Javier Palacio
Excellent idea!
This paper presents in a well organized manner a methodology for a simple yet accurate LCA tool. More importantly, it is implemented into an intuitive piece of software that students and professionals would happily use.

Please keep working on that direction!

Julio Blanco
Very interesting software
Very interesting software applications to train engineers in LCA methodology.

Victor Camañes
Thank you all for your comments.
We will continue working on improving this methodology and software to introduce ecodesign between engineering students.

Hipolito Fals
Good idea!!!
Is very important development in LCA methodology to management a environmental impact during the design process. Thanks very much for your hard work.

Angel Fernandez
Excellent tool
The tool described in this research article is useful for new products of the future.
The evaluation of environmental impact from the conceptual design will lead to a more sustainable products.

Susana Martinez
Useful. Great!
As manager of an institution focussed tothe research, development and innovation in the field of the agrofood industry I´m concerned about the environmental impact of new packagings for food conservation, logistics, etc... I see very useful and interesting the creation of this EcoTOOL that permits to analyse the impact of a new product for example for packaging, and the application of the methodologies necessary to acurrate evaluation of different impact indicators from the very beggining of product development.