New Presentation: The Influence of Consumer Behaviour on the Greenhouse Gas and Water Footprints of Showering


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been used as a tool for environmental footprinting of a wide range of household activities. However, despite the fact that showering is a major contributor to domestic water consumption and energy use there has been no detailed investigation of the life cycle environmental footprints of showering. In addition, even though differences in how consumers perform household activities may have a large effect on the conclusions of LCAs, they have been mostly restricted to aggregated assumptions and have not dealt with variability in consumer behaviour. This could result in low accuracy of the LCA outcomes. Therefore, integrating insights from consumer beahviour studies into life cycle assessment can play an important role in improving the reliability of environmental footprint of activities. The objective of this study is to probabilistically quantify the environmental impacts of domestic showering and to characterise the variability associated with consumers┬┐ reasoned choices such as the choice of water heater and consumers┬┐ habitual behaviours such as the shower duration, flow rate, shower temperature and the number of products used in the shower. We also consider the variability associated with the parameters such as cold water feed temperature, electricity grid mix of country and water scarcity of country on which consumers may not have a direct influence. We look at five footprint indicators namely 1. energy use 2. GHG emissions, 3. water withdrawal, 4. water consumption and 5. water scarcity (using the AWARE factors). We took one shower event as our functional unit and focussed on four countries with sufficient data for the analysis namely Australia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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