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FRAMEWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION-MAKING, FRED: A TOOL FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY-PREFERABLE PURCHASING
Curran*, M A. AND R. C. Schenck. FRAMEWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION-MAKING, FRED: A TOOL FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY-PREFERABLE PURCHASING. The International Conference & Exhibition on Life Cycle Assessment, Crystal City Hyatt, Washington, DC, 4/25-27/2000. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2000.
In support of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program of the US EPA, the Systems Analysis Branch has developed a decision-making tool based on life cycle assessment. This tool, the Framework for Responsible Environmental Decision-making or FRED streamlines LCA by choosing a minimum list of impact categories, providing guidance about data sources and data quality requirements, and examples of LCA,s performed in this streamlined fashion. The tool also provides models for calculating indicators, while recognizing that other models may be more appropriate for certain studies.
FRED identifies the following impact categories as a minimum list:
Global Climate Change
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Human Toxicity (carcinogenic/non-carcinogenic)
Resource Depletion (mineral, biological & fossil fuel)
FRED also gives guidance on data quality objectives based on the function and usage of the product.
Three pilot projects were undertaken during the development of FRED. Two of these were based on previously collected data made available through the National Institute of Standards and Technology EPP tool called BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability). The third project was a new data collection effort on a road maintenance product produced by a small business.
The outcome of the project indicated that there are significant data gaps in pre-existing databases, which may limit some types of analysis, particularly those relating to land use. On the other hand, it was possible to collect and analyze the data from a small vendor in a reasonable period of time (about four months), using the FRED format. This indicates that it is possible to use a streamlined life cycle approach for environmentally preferable purchasing without unduly burdening even small businesses.