Researchers examine the environmental impacts of automobiles to eyewear

December 08, 2008

At first glance, a simple pair of eye glasses might seem benign to the environment - until one considers what goes into the production of frames and lenses. Réjean Samson, a professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Université de Montréal's affiliated school, École Polytechnique, says glasses and frames are more damaging to the environment than we imagine.

The aluminum used in frames is often composed of bauxite extracted somewhere in Africa and transformed in Quebec using another metal such as magnesium. Lenses are made of silicon, manipulated at high temperatures to ensure durability, and both procedures require considerable energy.

Before glasses reach consumers, Samson says, they go through designers, producers, vendors, optometrists and opticians. To reduce the environmental impact of those glasses, every step of their production needs to be evaluated. For example, is it really necessary to use aluminum? Maybe we could reduce the size of the lens?

Such questions are necessary to conserve our environment says Samson, who is also general director of the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), founded by École Polytechnique, HEC Montréal and the Université de Montréal. The CIRAIG also collaborates with a dozen institutions including the University of California at Berkley, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Michigan.

Another question the CIRAIG examines is how cars affect the environment beyond oil changes, tire renewal and fuel consumption. Manufacturing a car is not without its environmental concerns, since components often travel long distances before arriving at an assembly plant. That's why a Mercedes car factory in Germany, which Samson recently visited, provides its designers entire environmental snapshots via computer.

"Sustainable development makes the connection between the economy, environment and society," says Samson. "We can't deal with ecology while ignoring human rights."

Another CIRAIG analysis was on telecommuting for Bell Canada. "We discovered that if an employee works from home, he saves on transportation costs, but other costs would be increased, such as heating and telephone," says Samson.
-end-
Other CIRAIG clients are Le Cirque du Soleil, Gaz de France, Environment Canada, City of Montreal and Cascades.

On the Web:

About the Université de Montréal:
www.umontreal.ca/english/index.htm

About the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services:
www.ciraig.org/en/index_e.html

About Polytechnique Montréal:
www.polymtl.ca/en

Media contact:

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
International press attaché
Université de Montréal
Telephone: 514-343-7593
Email: sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca

University of Montreal

Related Fuel Consumption Articles from Brightsurf:

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

Evolution of consumption: A psychological ownership framework
Technological innovations are rapidly changing how we consume goods and services.

Comprehensive look at US fuel economy standards show big savings on fuel and emissions
In one of the first comprehensive assessments of the fuel economy standards in the US, researchers found that, over their 40-year history, the standards helped reduce reliance on foreign oil producers, saved $5 trillion in fuel costs and prevented 14 billion metric tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

A smart way to predict building energy consumption
In a time of aging infrastructure and increasingly smart control of buildings, the ability to predict how buildings use energy -- and how much energy they use -- has remained elusive, until now.

Luxury consumption can fuel 'impostor syndrome' among some buyers
If you have the money, what could be wrong about purchasing a Swiss watch or an Italian sports car?

The influence of alcohol consumption among cohabitating partners
Research has linked a partner's or spouse's drinking with changes in alcohol-related behaviors, but few studies have considered only cohabiting relationships.

Competitive people are more prone to drug consumption
A Psychology research team at the University of Cordoba (Spain) studied how personality influences substance abuse among young people.

No need to cut down red and processed meat consumption
The researchers performed four systematic reviews focused on randomized controlled trials and observational studies looking at the impact of red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes.

Estimate of cigarette consumption in England
Estimated total cigarette consumption in England fell by almost one-quarter between 2011 and 2018 in a study comparing survey and sales data.

Clarifying the economic value of adjusting the power consumption
The economic value of demand response that adjusts the power consumption has not been clarified.

Read More: Fuel Consumption News and Fuel Consumption Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.