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Life Cycle Assessment

Find out what a Life Cycle Assessment is and how...

it can be a valuable tool for building professionals and the people they collaborate with to understand the environmental impact they have and how they can reduce it to ultimately increase the value of their developments.

Life Cycle Assessments or LCAs, are reports created with the sole purpose of analysing how building materials are sourced and disposed of. It also assesses every other process in between. 
By obtaining and understanding the information provided within an LCA, you can begin to understand the impact of your project and take steps to minimise it whilst also maximising the financial aspects of your project.
 

Life Cycle Assessment explained

 

What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

Life Cycle Assessment or LCA is a tool providing information to building professionals helping them to understand the energy usage and various other environmental effects that are associated with the entire life cycle phase of a building. LCA is a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of processes and products from “cradle to grave”. LCA endeavours to identify the environmental effects of a product, and is progressively becoming a more widely adopted practice in the context of national and international environmental regulations.

LCA

When is a Life Cycle Assessment required?

An LCA is an optional rating system that has two main benefits, those being to help consumers and building-code officials make informed decisions whilst designing and building, and attempting to drive innovation by demonstrating areas through which the manufacturers can improve a product’s quality and efficiency. 

 

What are the requirements of a Life Cycle Assessment?

A Life Cycle Assessment requires the interrogation and study of the procedures through which a product is created, used and subsequently disposed. This process includes the study of the transport of materials, their packaging and the disposal of said packaging, as well as the embodied energy required to construct them. This is compared against international standards using LCA databases, tools, and models, to attempt to fully understand the smallest implications that production and construction has on the environment. By using an LCA, contractors can know how they can better prevent environmental problems related to project management and improper waste disposal, home builders using LCA can explain how a green building material yields energy savings throughout its lifetime, and building owners can see how sustainable products reduce environmental impacts for the lifetime of their investment.

 

 

 

How important 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 helps 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 
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!
 
Sources:
http://nbis.org/nbisresources/life_cycle_assessment_thinking/guide_life_cycle_assessment_bcorp.pdf
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Capability Statement

 

Assessment

How is a Life Cycle Assessment assessed?

 
LCA is a technique that is used to assess certain environmental aspects and potential adverse effects associated with a product, service, or process, by creating an inventory of energy and material inputs and environmental releases, evaluating any potential environmental impacts caused by identified inputs and releases. The results should help in making a more informed decision about the human health and wellbeing, and environmental impacts of products, processes, and activities. There are various software programs that are used to assess these impacts through which an accurate assessment of the full extent of a product’s effect on the environment can be established.
Within such an assessment, there are four stages concerned with identifying and analysing the impacts of the processes involved in the project. These stages include:
 
 
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.
 
 

Requirements

When is a Life Cycle Assessment required?

An LCA is an optional rating system that has two main benefits, those being to help consumers and building-code officials make informed decisions whilst designing and building, and attempting to drive innovation by demonstrating areas through which the manufacturers can improve a product’s quality and efficiency. 

 

Costing and Time Commitments

The cost of an LCA can vary greatly depending on the scale and complexity of the process given that there can be so many processes and materials involved in the project. 
 
Likewise, the time it takes to conduct an LCA can also vary greatly as the report requires correspondence with a wide range of individuals and manufacturers across industry. 
 
Please contact us and we will guide you through the process of obtaining a quote. 
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