MIE315 (Design for Environment) – Smart vs Traditional Lighting
I have had the pleasure of being able to use my MIE315 knowledge to account for the impact of engineering on society and the environment in the latest project in the course. I believe that after working on this project I have gained a solid foundation to work with design for environment projects, but I still need to improve on how I can directly correlate environmental and societal effects.
For the project itself, our team was responsible for analyzing and comparing two lighting alternatives to determine the environmental and societal effects, keeping in mind economic and financial considerations. The topic of discussion as I briefly mentioned above was between smart and traditional lighting in the corridors for a hospital in Hamilton. The scope of the life cycle study has been made around the hospital itself, and the life stages of the lighting. There are a plethora of light bulbs available around the world that work either traditionally or smartly and as such our team chose LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs as the basis on which we will compare Traditional vs Smart lighting. This is because LEDs have proved themselves to be at the forefront of energy efficient bulbs.
In order to determine everything with respect to a common unit to represent practical functionality we chose our functional unit as = lighting for one m^2 of corridor for 1000 hours.
To define our scope, we set up a system boundary as well shown below:
Our team then took several different analyses to compare both lighting systems. We started with economic analysis, where we considered each life-cycle stage cost (pre-manufacturing, manufacturing, delivery, use and disposal), economic analysis from the client perspective (Net Present Worth), and interest rate for the analysis after which we compared both alternatives. Our example of the Life Cycle stages cost is shown below:
Next, we used Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment to determine environmental effects. This included inventory analysis for each life-cycle for each lighting system, impact analysis, and endpoint analysis. Some of these results you can see below:
Furthermore, Societal Analysis was also conducted each product throughout its lifecycle. An assessment was done as to if the product failed to meet basic expectations, did meet basic expectations or was above basic expectations for its stakeholders. Separate results were generated for both Smart and Traditional Lighting and they were compared:
Certain mitigation strategies were also used such as Manufacturing of LEDs in the US and Improvement of Factories in China.
Finally, Sensitivity Analysis was conducted to check if small changes in the Economic Analysis or Hybrid LCA, greatly affected our results.
In the end, our team concluded that the Smart LED was clearly the superior choice from a performance, environmental and societal aspect but not from an economical standpoint. We assumed the hospital did not have budgetary issues since it is financed by the government therefore our recommendation was the Smart LED.
In light of all the research and effort my team and I put behind this report, I am confident to say that I am more capable than an average individual to tackle an engineering problem while keeping in mind the impact of engineering on society and the environment.