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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 918795, 9 pages
Research Article

A Sensitivity Analysis Approach to Identify Key Environmental Performance Factors

1DISP Laboratory, Lumière University Lyon 2, 160 boulevard de l’Université, 69676 Bron Cedex, France
2Computer Science Department, Faculty of Engineering, Qatar University and ictQATAR, P.O. Box 2731, Doha, Qatar
3School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China

Received 12 November 2013; Revised 10 February 2014; Accepted 24 February 2014; Published 30 March 2014

Academic Editor: Panos Liatsis

Copyright © 2014 Xi Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is widely used in design phase to reduce the product’s environmental impacts through the whole product life cycle (PLC) during the last two decades. The traditional LCA is restricted to assessing the environmental impacts of a product and the results cannot reflect the effects of changes within the life cycle. In order to improve the quality of ecodesign, it is a growing need to develop an approach which can reflect the changes between the design parameters and product’s environmental impacts. A sensitivity analysis approach based on LCA and ecodesign is proposed in this paper. The key environmental performance factors which have significant influence on the products’ environmental impacts can be identified by analyzing the relationship between environmental impacts and the design parameters. Users without much environmental knowledge can use this approach to determine which design parameter should be first considered when (re)designing a product. A printed circuit board (PCB) case study is conducted; eight design parameters are chosen to be analyzed by our approach. The result shows that the carbon dioxide emission during the PCB manufacture is highly sensitive to the area of PCB panel.