Composite Environmental Impact Index
What is better for the environment: paper or plastic grocery bag? Plastic or wooden coffee stirrers? Burning coal for electricity or making solar panels? Who knows? The factors involved in these, and other issues are numerous and complex, and rather difficult to compare. Burning coal produces greenhouse gases, making solar panels pollutes enormous amounts of water. What is worse?
To help answer this question we propose a single number, the CEII: Composite Environmental Impact Index (TM). Every object (or even activity) can be assigned CEII, which can be then directly compared. The higher number, the higher impact on the environment. We will strive to reflect all the aspect of the environmental impact in this one number, such us the depletion of resources or the pollution generated.
To compute the CEII of any given object, we split it into its component parts, compute CEII for each of them, and then add the CEIIs of all the parts, as well as the CEII for the assembly, packaging, transport, disposal, and whatever else we can think of. Take the light bulbs for example. What should we use: incandescent or fluorescent? Well, incandescent bulb is composed mainly of glass, copper and tungsten, is packaged in cardboard and uses 60W of energy. We will compute CEII for that bulb by adding the CEIIs of all its components. Then we can compare the result to the CEII of the equivalent fluorescent bulb which is composed of glass, ceramic, copper, mercury and phosphorus, must be packaged in plastic and uses 13W of energy. The result can be surprising!
- Help in making the production models of materials and item more accurate;
- Propose new items and processes to model;
- Provide more data and insights into environmental impact calculations;
- Discuss our assumptions and models;
- Participate in any other way you choose.