Solar thermal suffers in the market, the media and in the policy arena, because solar thermal energy is often not accounted for, and amounts of solar thermal heat are not transparently measured and displayed. This also leads to problems/malfunctions not being spotted quickly.
This “Technical study report on solar thermal technology LCIA methods and LCC models” aims at contributing to the demonstration of the advantages of solar thermal systems, taking the lifecycle into account. This means assessing both environmental and economic benefits of the systems over their operation period. These methods allow to exemplify the diverse benefits of this technology during the lifecycle of a system, in spite of high upfront investments costs.
In order to establish reliability and comparability of life cycle assessment a comprehensive set of rules has been defined within international standards regarding life cycle assessment and life cycle costing. In Chapter Life cycle assessment (LCA) – Fundamentals and definitions of this report the fundamentals and definitions of these rules of life cycle assessment are given.
The life cycle of a product may have impact in different areas. In order to distinguish and quantify them, impact categories have been defined which are described in chapter Available impact categories.
Chapter Available Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methods gives an overview on available life cycle impact assessment methods. It is described how these methods make use of the previously described impact categories and how they differ in purpose and complexity.
Chapter LCIA methods applied in LCA of solar thermal systems is a compilation and evaluation of life cycle assessment studies of solar thermal systems with a focus on the applied life cycle impact assessment methods.
In Chapter Life Cycle Costing (LCC) analysis is described with a focus on the application on solar thermal technologies and buildings using solar thermal supply systems.
This “Technical study report on solar thermal technology LCIA methods and LCC models” was developed as part of the Global Solar Water Heating (GSWH) Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative (GSWH Project), and as a result of a joint effort between The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through its Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) and the Global Environment Fund (GEF).
Funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the GSWH project’s main goal is to accelerate the global commercialization and sustainable market transformation of SWH, thereby reducing the current use of electricity and fossil fuels for hot water preparation. It will build on the encouraging market development rates already achieved in some GEF programme countries and seek to further expand the market in others where the potential and necessary prerequisites for market uptake seem to exist.