NC State
Scouse, A. A., Kelley, S. S., Venditti, R. A., and McConnell, T. E. (2020). "Evaluating sustainable product alternatives by combining life cycle assessment with full-cost accounting: A highway guardrail case study," BioRes. 15(4), 9103-9127.


Full-cost accounting techniques incorporate the environmental and societal burdens a product generates through its manufacture, use, and disposal into that product’s price. This research generates full-cost prices for functionally equivalent chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood and galvanized steel guardrail posts by combining previously conducted life cycle inventory analyses results with secondary emission valuation data. Based on the analysis, both CCA-treated posts and galvanized steel posts have environmental damage costs associated with emissions generated through the product’s manufacturing, use, and disposal stages. After developing full-cost prices for product alternatives, CCA-treated wood guardrail posts were found to be a more economical and environmentally responsible alternative to galvanized steel. In addition to generating full-cost prices, this research uses Monte Carlo simulation to provide estimates of variability around CCA-treated wood and galvanized steel damage costs.

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