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Sign in. It presents the four basic stages of conducting an LCA: goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and improvement analysis. The system boundaries, assumptions, and conventions to be addressed in each stage are presented.

Life-Cycle Assessment

This document is designed to be an educational tool for someone who wants to learn the basics of LCA, how to conduct an LCA, or how to manage someone conducting an LCA. Companies, federal facilities, industry organizations, or academia can benefit from learning how to incorporate environmental performance based on the life cycle concept into their decision-making processes.


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Life-cycle Assessment: Inventory Guidelines and Principles

First name. As described in the previous section, all elementary flows of the same type are summed up in the same position of the vector.

Associated Data

The step of substitution is something usually completed by the providers of LCA databases and not performed by the user. The LCA practitioner only selects an appropriate dataset and for a service, process or product and is then made available automatically.


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  • The number of elementary flows used in a database by default can be very large and is typically on the order of thousands of flows. Most datasets have small, but non-zero contributions in all positions of the emission vector due to the fact that in LCA all upstream elements are considered please refer to Figure 2. While the model behind the calculation of CFs can be of arbitrary complexity, the LCIA as described by equations and has implicit limitations.

    Each element of has exactly one corresponding element in and the sum of all pairwise products make up the impact. As a result, the impact is the sum of all individual contributions. Considering correlations between single contributions is not possible in this model. To perform an LCA, impact models are needed.

    These models can be seen as toolboxes where Characterisation Factors CF linked to different impact categories are gathered by impact category.

    In each impact category e. These results can thus be aggregated by impact category.

    Account Options

    Figure 2. Whatever the impact category considered, different models endpoint and midpoint exist. Indeed, since LCA appeared, models have been enriched and new methodologies have been proposed resulting consequently in various methods. This Guide analyses the impact assessment methods to select the most appropriate ones in the European context.

    The different methods to assess impacts related to Ecotoxicity are presented in Table 2. A previous version, EDIP, was not included in the evaluation. The emissions defined in the Life Cycle Inventory see 2. These emissions can occur into different compartments of the environment e. Multimedia fate models have been developed to calculate the concentrations resulting from these emissions in freshwater, terrestrial or marine ecosystems.

    Life-Cycle Assessment: Inventory Guidelines and Principles, 1st Edition (Hardback) - Routledge

    Depending on the physico-chemical properties of the substances emitted and of the compartment of emission, the potentially ecotoxic substances either remain in the compartment of emission or move to another compartment see Figure 2. Some are quickly degraded.


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    Others can persist in the environment. Ecotoxicity on species thus may vary with the Fate of emitted substances. The model accounts for all important parameters in the impact pathway as identified by a systematic model comparison within the consensus process. The model addresses the freshwater part of the environment problem and includes the vital model elements in a scientifically up-to-date way. In this project, USEtox is even the sole one recommended today for impact assessment of chemicals on the aquatic environment.

    An important factor in the reliability of the assessment of ecotoxicity as well as other impact indicators is the completeness of data used in the LCA. As described in section 2.

    Life Cycle Assessment – Principles

    The situations described in the preceding list can have an influence on the overall uncertainty of an LCA impact score. Situation 1 leads to the impact for an emission flow to be calculated as zero, thus making no contribution in the overall score. This can be sensible if the element for which is undefined is assumed not to make an impact in the selected impact category e. But it would constitute a factor of uncertainty in the general sense, as it may not be easy to see for non-experts in an impact category whether this assumption is justified.

    Life-cycle assessment has emerged as a valuable decision-support tool for both policy makers and industry in assessing the cradle-to-grave impacts of a product or process.

    Three forces are driving this evolution. First, government regulations are moving in the direction of "life-cycle accountability;" the notion that a manufacturer is responsible not only for direct production impacts, but also for impacts associated with product inputs, use, transport, and disposal. Second, business is participating in voluntary initiatives which contain LCA and product stewardship components.