|Clear, credible information on environmental impacts of materials helps consumers and code officials make more informed choices. It also drives improvement as manufacturers strive to improve energy efficiency, durability and environmental performance of their products.
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provides a comprehensive, balanced, quantified look at significant product environmental impacts. An LCA is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate a product’s environmental attributes based on comprehensive analysis of life cycle impacts and transparent data.
“Green” product or material claims, whether based on certification programs or as stand-alone claims, are proliferating in the marketplace and navigating the meaning and validity of these claims is increasingly difficult. An LCA is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate a product’s environmental attributes based on comprehensive analysis of life cycle impacts and transparent data. » Read more
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - Overview by Mary Ann Curran, Ph.D.
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Life Cycle Assessment Resources:
- How to Know If and When it’s Time to Commission a Life Cycle Assessment
This guide describes what constitutes an LCA, what are the benefits and limitations of different types of LCAs and related tools, and how to interpret and communicate LCA results.
- Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs): Improving Material Selection Options in the IgCC
- Life Cycle Assessment of Automotive Lightweighting Through Polymers Under U.S. Boundary Conditions
- Energy Code Fact Sheet—Energy & Economic Benefits of State Energy Codes
- Overview of Life Cycle Assessment – Wayne Trusty, Past President Athena Institute, Posted on the International Code Council Website
- Misconceptions and Misunderstanding about LCA – Wayne Trusty, Past President Athena Institute, Posted on the International Code Council Website
- The Future of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in Codes – Wayne Trusty, Past President Athena Institute, Posted on the International Code Council Website
- The U.S. Life-Cycle Inventory Database Project—Helping Us Find Answers to Environmental Impact Concerns
NREL, along with the Athena Institute, is leading the development of a publicly available LCI Database to collect information on the environmental impact of commonly used materials, products, and processes.
- Understanding Life Cycle Assessment
- ISO Standards for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for building products
- What’s a Product Category Rule? How Does It Fit with LCAs?
- See the New Product Category Rule (PCR) for Thermal Insulation from Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL)
- U.S. LIFE CYCLE INVENTORY DATABASE ROADMAP is maintaining data quality and transparency in the U.S. “We make decisions concerning the environment every day, and many of these decisions are based on incomplete, inconsistent, and flawed information. LCA provides a holistic evaluation methodology and a consistent framework for making better-informed decisions. Life cycle inventory (LCI) data are the primary inputs for conducting LCA studies. Studies based on high-quality data that are consistent, accurate, and relevant allow for robust, defensible, and meaningful results.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory accessed October 2011.
- Life Cycle Thinking - Only by looking at all the data, from cradle to grave, can one determine a building material’s impact over time. Life cycle inventory (LCI) data being supplied by the industry will help make this possible.
- Product Life Cycles, And Sustainability - Unprecedented life cycle information about many plastic products will soon be available in a publically accessible database. What does this mean for designers?
- Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Impact
- Environmental Issues in Construction
- Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastic Resins and Two Polyurethane Precursors
» Read more
Understanding Life Cycle Assessment
Green building components can play a critical role in reducing the environmental footprint during the entire life cycle of a commercial building.