IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 2183: The Life cycle Assessment Integrated with the Lexicographic Method for the Multi-Objective Optimization of Community-Based Rainwater Utilization (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Community-based rainwater utilization (CB-RWU) has the advantage of easy maintenance and multiple benefits. However, its promotion proves to be a complicated task due to difficulties in quantifying and evaluating external benefits. This study integrated the life cycle assessment (LCA) with a multi-objective optimization model to optimize the relationship among all stages of CB-RWU, considering the trade-offs among the benefit–cost ratio, water-saving efficiency and environmental impact. The LCA results identified abiotic depletion potential for fossil fuels (ADPF) as the key impact indicators throughout the life cycle of CB-RWU. The optimal solution from the lexicographic method was 0.3098, 28.47% and 24.68 MJ for the benefit–cost ratio, water-saving efficiency and ADPF, respectively. Compared with the traditional optimization method, the lexicographic method improved the three object functions by 26%, 43% and 14%, respectively. The uncertainty of the environmental impact was the highest (CV = 0.633) with variations in the floor area ratio, total runoff coefficient and reservoir volume. Changes in the total runoff coefficient were the main source of the uncertainty, which suggested that more attention should be paid to the area ratio of each underlying surface. In addition, economic support from the government is urgently required for the further promotion and development of CB-RWU.