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mat - an ICT application to support a more sustainable use of print products and ICT devices


Hischier, Roland; Keller, Michael; Lisibach, Rudolf; Hilty, Lorenz (2013). mat - an ICT application to support a more sustainable use of print products and ICT devices. In: ICT4S – First International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Sustainability, Zürich, 14 February 2013 - 16 February 2013, 223-230.

Abstract

Digital information and communication devices –smartphones or tablet, laptop and desktop computers– are often perceived as much more environmentally friendly than newspapers and magazines – but is this common opinion justified? Previous studies comparing the environmental impact of electronic vs. print media show that the answer depends on many parameters of the technologies under study and the use patterns assumed. Empa’s Technology and Society Lab, the University of Zürich the “Denkfabrik visuelle Kommunikation” jointly developed a web-based tool that can be used to evaluate the environmental effects of a broad variety of printed and electronic media for clearly defined use patterns. In a first step, the basic scientific facts were established using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodological framework. Two LCA studies have been done, one for the production and disposal of the various media, the other one for the (active) use of each of these media. Technical data from various producers have been used for the ICT devices examined as well as for the power consumption during the use phase. All inputs to these processes have been modeled using background processes from the ecoinvent database. The results from these two studies are environmental indicators for each type of media representing production and disposal resp. (active) use of the device, calculated per device resp. per unit of active use. Combining these data in the second step made it possible to calculate the environmental impacts from any specific use pattern combined with the various types of print and electronic media. In order to make those findings available to users who have no knowledge in LCA methodology, a website providing an easily applicable tool has been developed. Two cases studies – one comparing different ways of advertising for (food) products; the other one taking the conference paper at hand as example – show some of the possibilities this tool offers to non-specialists.

Abstract

Digital information and communication devices –smartphones or tablet, laptop and desktop computers– are often perceived as much more environmentally friendly than newspapers and magazines – but is this common opinion justified? Previous studies comparing the environmental impact of electronic vs. print media show that the answer depends on many parameters of the technologies under study and the use patterns assumed. Empa’s Technology and Society Lab, the University of Zürich the “Denkfabrik visuelle Kommunikation” jointly developed a web-based tool that can be used to evaluate the environmental effects of a broad variety of printed and electronic media for clearly defined use patterns. In a first step, the basic scientific facts were established using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodological framework. Two LCA studies have been done, one for the production and disposal of the various media, the other one for the (active) use of each of these media. Technical data from various producers have been used for the ICT devices examined as well as for the power consumption during the use phase. All inputs to these processes have been modeled using background processes from the ecoinvent database. The results from these two studies are environmental indicators for each type of media representing production and disposal resp. (active) use of the device, calculated per device resp. per unit of active use. Combining these data in the second step made it possible to calculate the environmental impacts from any specific use pattern combined with the various types of print and electronic media. In order to make those findings available to users who have no knowledge in LCA methodology, a website providing an easily applicable tool has been developed. Two cases studies – one comparing different ways of advertising for (food) products; the other one taking the conference paper at hand as example – show some of the possibilities this tool offers to non-specialists.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Event End Date:16 February 2013
Deposited On:15 Nov 2013 14:45
Last Modified:14 Aug 2017 21:34
Publisher:ETH E-Collection
ISBN:978-3-906031-24-8
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://e-collection.library.ethz.ch/view/eth:6558
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:8353

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