Life cycle assessment of an Internet of Things product : environmental impact of an intelligent smoke detector

Oliver Manz, Sonja Meyer, Corinna Baumgartner
Digitization and sustainability are the two big topics of our current time. As the usage of digital products like IoT devices continues to grow, it affects the energy consumption caused by the Internet. At the same time, more and more companies feel the need to become carbon neutral and sustainable. Determining the environmental impact of an IoT device is challenging, as the production of the hardware components should be considered and the electricity consumption of the Internet since this is
more » ... he primary communication medium of an IoT device. Estimating the electricity consumption of the Internet itself is a complex task. We performed a life cycle assessment (LCA) to determine the environmental impact of an intelligent smoke detector sold in Germany, taking its whole life-cycle from cradle-to-grave into account. We applied the impact assessment method ReCiPe 2016 Midpoint and compared its results with ILCD 2011 Midpoint+ to check the robustness of our results. The LCA results showed that electricity consumption during the use phase is the main contributor to environmental impacts. The mining of coal causes this contribution, which is a part of the German electricity mix. Consequently, the smoke detector mainly contributes to the impact categories of freshwater and marine ecotoxicity, but only marginally to global warming. CCS CONCEPTS • Hardware → Impact on the environment.
doi:10.21256/zhaw-24622 fatcat:d352wqfjybd53dfl3jg42hobje