By Mikayla Kolyvas • July 31, 2018

What is a Life-Cycle Assessment?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that provides information to building professionals, further assisting them to understand how to achieve environmental sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of a building project. LCA is a process that is progressively becoming more widely adopted in the context of national and international environmental regulations.

Are you legally obligated to acquire a life cycle assessment for your project? Technically no.

However, a LCA helps both consumers and building-code officials make informed decisions during the whole life cycle of a building project. The results from a lifecycle assessment help make more informed decisions about both human health and wellbeing and the environmental impacts of the products, processes and activities involved in developing a sustainable project.

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The assessment takes into account a variety of aspects throughout the project lifecycle, starting from the production of raw building materials to the disposal of products, including recycling. A life cycle assessment can be used to inform variety of processes including:

  • Product development and innovation
  • Green marketing and reporting
  • Sustainability strategy development
  • Sustainable procurement 

Four stages of the LCA process

Stage 1: Goals and Scoping

  • Which processes will be included in the project?
  • What are the project’s environmental concerns?
  • What economic or social good is being provided?

Stage 2: Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)

  • Environmental inputs and outputs of the project
  • Inputs can include: inputs of energy, materials and chemicals
  • Outputs can include: air emissions, water emissions and solid waste

Life Cycle Assessment (3)

Stage 3: Life Cycle Impact Assessment

  • Take inventory data and convert it to indicators for each impact category
  • Impact indicators can include: global climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, acidification, natural resources, ecotoxicity.

Life Cycle Assessment (2)

Stage 4: Interpretation

  • Analysis on the impact data
  • Helps understand whether the ambitions from the goals and scopes can be met.

Life Cycl Assessment

The team at Certified Energy specialise in providing information to building professionals helping them to understand the energy usage and various other environmental effects of their project. Give us a call today for more information on how you can acquire a Life Cycle Assessment for your project!

 

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Sources:

http://nbis.org/nbisresources/life_cycle_assessment_thinking/guide_life_cycle_assessment_bcorp.pdf