Calculating MIPS 2.0

The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach for calculating MIPS. Today’s computing power, available to every researcher, and access to software and databases dedicated to lifecycle analysis make calculating MIPS using matrix inversion possible. This also opens up possibilities for enhancing MIPS-models programmatically: parameterizing the foreground and background systems, batch modeling for producing time series, and computational algorithms enhancing interpretation. The article provides (1) an overview of the methods and tools used for calculating MIPS from its origins to today, and (2) demonstrates some of the programmatically enhanced capabilities offered to MIPS-practitioners.