Special issues with Respect to industrial Ventilation

It must be noted that LCA is a fairly new approach, at least for use in design contexts. There is a comparatively long tradition of compiling site-specific LCI data with reasonably good accuracy; however, these LCA methods are expen­sive and time-consuming.

Most LCA practitioners today see LCA as a tool based on natural science, and hesitate to do anything that does not give definite results. For designers, however, the quality of the product concept is the focus. Any information likely to give a better product may be used. Therefore, the willingness to in­clude “soft” information that is important but not easy to quantify is greater among designers and others working with product development. For instance, the work environment is seldom included in LCA, although various methodol­ogies have been suggested. When optimizing industrial ventilation, taking the work environment into account is critical.

A serious methodological debate has existed for a long time over the treat­ment of emissions and resources in electric power generation. There are two schools of thought; one that considers marginal effects and one that considers average figures. The problem becomes more complicated when considering the evolving free market for electricity. For instance, the inventory data in our example are based on an average European electricity production mix. If the electricity was bought from a hydroelectric power station, then the priority may be changed. However, in these discussions it is important to once again look at the goal and scope of the study.

When optimizing industrial ventilation, the real consequences for the en­vironment due to decisions made are of interest. Therefore, the marginal effect on the whole energy system is what is required. This is of course difficult. Many practitioners use electricity produced from coal processes as marginal, but some use natural-gas-fired power plants. It depends mainly on the area and time frame that is being considered.

The implementation of environmental assessment tools is complicated at all levels, for many reasons. It must, however, be an essential part of all the processes.

For this reason many organizations use different calculation methods in practice, even if it is known that the situation may change in the near future. Organizations must get used to using these methods. Renewing an existing system is easier than starting a new system.

One example is Finland, where in 1999 the EPS system was chosen as the reference method in the area of building services, including industrial air tech ­nology.