AP and RP Partitions Carbon Footprint evaluationItalian Environmental footprint evaluation program

 

UniFor develops and manufacturers contemporary office furnishing solutions in accordance with the LCA or Life Cycle Assessment method, which permits assessment of the environmental sustainability of products throughout their life cycle, from raw material extraction to final disposal - “from cradle to grave” -, identifying the actions useful for reducing their impact on climate change.
In particular, carbon footprint calculation allows us to provide our customers with information regarding the environmental performance of products and processes. This information can help guide them in their selection of configurations and finishes.
UniFor has recently participated in the Italian Environmental Footprint Program with the study “Calculation of the Carbon Footprint of the UniFor AP and RP Interior Partition Systems”, co-funded by the Ministry of the Environment and for the Protection of Land and Sea.

The two partition systems differ in terms of performance, structure, morphology and quality of materials, but they share the same production chain.
Based on a sample configuration, 6m long by 3m high, composed of aluminum structural elements, solid and glazed paneling and a swing door, the study allowed us to obtain useful data for reducing the environmental impact of production cycles and to identify assessment parameters that can help guide our customers' choices.

Created under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, with the support of the faculty members of CE.Si.S.P. of the University of Genoa, an inter-University center with considerable experience in sustainability assessment, the study led to significant results, later verified and validated by the certification body RINA Services S.p.A. The study was conducted using rigorous scientific criteria, taking into account the entire production chain to calculate the CO2, both direct and indirect, potentially emitted during the production, installation, use and disposal of the partition systems.

The carbon footprint calculation was carried out using the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method, governed by the ISO 14040-14044 standards.

The system boundaries include all phases of the life cycle of the product - "from cradle to grave" - articulated in upstream (extracting and processing raw materials), core (manufacturing and assembly) and downstream (distribution, installation, use and end of life) phases.
All collected data refer to the year 2013.

Equivalent CO2 
The carbon footprint is measured in kg of equivalent carbon dioxide (kg CO2e), expressed in the form of global warming potential (GWP, Global Warming Potential - 100 years), and refers to one unit of furniture maintained throughout its useful life. The unit taken into consideration is a partition system measuring 6m long by 3m high, composed of aluminum structural elements, solid and glazed paneling, and a swing door.

 

PRODUCT kg CO2e/unit

RP partition 2703

AP partition 2456

In examining the value of emissions in the principal life-cycle stages of the selected products, the raw material extraction phase (upstream), in particular the production of primary alloy aluminum, resulted predominant.

By optimizing the thicknesses of the extruded aluminum profiles, we were able to reduce the use of raw materials, thereby significantly reducing impact.
Significant further reductions can be obtained by guiding customer choices towards finishes that permit the use of alloys with higher recycled content, and consequently less embodied energy in the product.

The results have been certified by the certification body RINA Services S.p.A. in accordance with the standards ISO 14040:2006 in ISO 14044:2006.

Go to the "Italian Environmental Footprint Program" web page “Programma nazionale per la valutazione dell'Impronta Ambientale