Track: A

Date: 31.08.2018

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Room: Brandenburg Gate

Session 11: Addressing the Social Dimension of Sustainability

Presenter: Karen Muir, Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Co-Authors: Matthias Stucki, Regula Keller

Which processes in a hospital are particularly resource-intensive? How can cost-efficiency in hospitals be increased and environmental impact be reduced? How can life cycle innovation be applied in the health care sector in order to increase its sustainability? These questions were addressed in the project “Green Hospital”.
Environmentally speaking, healthcare is the fourth most relevant consumer sector (after food, mobility and housing). However, there have been very few comprehensive environmental assessments of this sector. As a result, it is unclear where the greatest scope for improvement lies and how improvements could be implemented. To date, efficiency analyses in the hospital sector have only focused on economic aspects: none have taken environmental impacts into account.
The specific goals of the project “Green Hospital” were:
(1) to develop consistent and comprehensive knowledge concerning resource consumption end efficiency in Swiss hospitals
(2) to analyse determinants of life cycle environmental impacts in the health sector and hospitals
(3) to compile a list of environmental best practices and investigate the currently realisable options
(4) to test hands-on applications for environmentally optimised processes
The Life Cycle Assessment research group of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences analysed Swiss hospitals from an environmental perspective using life cycle assessment. Catering, infrastructure, energy use and the provision of medical treatment (medicine, medical equipment etc.) were determined to be particularly relevant. Additionally, they are working together with partner hospitals to develop and test innovative approaches within the hospital setting.

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Presenter: Massimo Perucca, Project HUB 360

Co-Authors: Stefania Truffa

Sono-Chemistry and Spray coating technologies allow developing sustainable and safe processes to functionalise surfaces. In situ synthesis of metal oxides nano-particles guarantees environmental safety and functional surface enhanced durability. Specific processing applications have been studied for the development of precommercial pilots for one-step durable antimicrobial/anti-biofilm coating of a broad range of 2D and 3D surfaces for the production of antibacterial materials. Sector Focus is provided for: biomedical sector, (medical textiles and catheters applications), water purification (functionalised filters), and upholstery (textiles for indoor applications).
The emergence of multidrug resistant pathogens is currently approaching an epidemic level. There is a pressing need for not only treating infected patients, but also for preventing hospital acquired (nosocomial) infections and community acquired transmission of infections to non-infected population. Such infections cause death, trauma, recurrent loss of work hours, and longer stay of patients after surgical procedures with a concomitant loss of billions of euros every year.
Antibiotics or other antimicrobials, e.g. phenolic derivatives, or silver, have been used mainly for coating of textile-based products, despite of the toxicity of some of these active agents and the risk or uncontrolled release of the coating during use into the environment. In addition to the enforcement of rigorous hygiene measures new approaches are required to restrict the spread of infections.
Following the nanotechnological processing recipes, novel biocompatible nano-particles with proven antimicrobial efficiency are being synthesised and embedded in the target materials exploiting nanotechnological Innovation through Sustainable Chemical processes.
The sustainability assessment of the new processes is being developed through the Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing methodology, proving promising results for the addressed applications in terms of functionality, cost effectiveness, low environmental impact and positive social effects.

[1] Patient Safety, Health First Europe, Chaussee de Wavre 214D, 1050 Brussels, Belgium,
[2] M.Perucca, G.Piacenza, Environmental and economic sustainability of novel enhanced antibacterial nanotechnology finishing based on ultrasound processes, IFATCC XIII congress, Budapest
[3] Protect, Pre-commercial lines for production of surface nanostructured antimicrobial and antibiofilm
textiles, medical devices and water treatment membranes, Project No. 720851,
[4] ISO 14040-44

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Presenter: Andreas Brekke, Ostfold Research

LCA is claimed to be a useful tool to implement environmental issues in product development. Still, many authors have reckognised the difficulties in gathering data for immature life cycles and in comparing mature products with new products. Several methods are proposed to build scenarios for new products and having reliable data for the environmental performance of emerging products is important to ensure sustainable product design.
In recent years, Social LCA (SLCA) has grown as a method to capture the social impacts related to a product’s life cycle. The method is still in its infacy and too many indicators exist without any explicit ranking between them. Whereas standard LCA, or Environmental LCA (E-LCA), can be built from generic data sets, as the material and energy use for most products can be regarded to be independent of place (although energy and material sources may vary somewhat). Data for SLCA needs to be more specific to the organisation and the sites where production (and consumption and EOL) activities take place. How can such data be generated for non-existing, i.e. emerging products, with a reasonable level of confidence, validity and certainty?
This paper explores ways to create life cycle inventories for social impacts in life cycles. Sustainable products needs a comprehensive understanding of social issues in production. Production of nanocellulose and valorization of surplus resources in food production are utilized as empirical examples.

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