Eco-innovation of a wooden childhood furniture set: an example of environmental solutions in the wood sector.Sci Total Environ. 2012 Jun 01; 426:318-26.ST
The environmental profile of a set of wood furniture was carried out to define the best design criteria for its eco-design. A baby cot convertible into a bed, a study desk and a bedside table were the objects of study. Two quantitative and qualitative environmental approaches were combined in order to propose improvement alternatives: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Design for Environment (DfE). In the first case Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was applied to identify the hot spots in the product system. As a next step, LCA information was used in eco-briefing to determine several improvement alternatives. A wood products company located in Catalonia (NE Spain) was assessed in detail, dividing the process into three stages: assembly, finishing and packaging. Ten impact categories were considered in the LCA study: abiotic depletion, acidification, eutrophication, global warming, ozone layer depletion, human toxicity, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity and photochemical oxidant formation. Two processes can be considered the key environmental factors: the production of the wooden boards and electricity, with contributions of 45-68% and 14-33% respectively depending on the impact categories. Subsequently, several improvement alternatives were proposed in the eco-design process (DfE) to achieve reductions in a short-medium period of time in the environmental impact. These eco-design strategies could reduce the environmental profile of the setup by 14%. The correct methodological adaptation of the concept of eco-briefing, as a tool for communication among environmental technicians and designers, the simplification of the analytical tool used and the LCA, could facilitate the environmental analysis of a product. The results obtained provide information that can help the furniture sector to improve their environmental performance.