A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a holistic approach to determining the total environmental impacts of a product
or service from extraction of raw materials and processing, to distribution, use, and end of life. By translating input and output
data into more environmentally relevant information, LCA can offer a window into the environmental performance of your product.
LCA can determine which materials or processes in your product's value chain most heavily contribute to such impact categories
as global warming, acidification, and ozone depletion. LCA can also establish a benchmark for making improvements, and serves as
the basis for creating your product's Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
Goal and scope
Life cycle impact assessment
Life cycle interpretation
Goal and scope: The plan for the LCA is defined in this first phase. The goal of the LCA includes the intended
application, the reasons for the study, the audience, and whether the results are disclosed to the public. The scope defines the
product to be studied, the functional unit, system boundaries, impact categories, and treatment of uncertainty.
Inventory Analysis: This phase of life cycle assessment involves compiling and quantifying inputs and outputs
for a product through its life cycle.
Impact Assessment: During this phase, we aim to understand and evaluate the significance of the potential
environmental impacts for a product system throughout the life cycle of the product. The fundamental element in impact assessment
is the impact category. ISO defines it as a class representing environmental issues of concern to which life cycle inventory
analysis results may be assigned.
Interpretation: ISO defines the final step as the phase in which the findings of either the inventory analysis
or the impact assessment, or both, are evaluated in relation to the defined goal and scope in order to reach conclusions and
recommendations. Interpretation compares the data and results with previous findings, and putting the results in the context of
decision-making and limitations. Interpretation is also devoted to a systematic analysis.
Building product manufacturers have several new opportunities to get specified by contributing more points on projects under
LEED v4. The life-cycle approach to Materials and Resources credits in LEED offer incentives for project teams to specify products
from manufacturers that provide full transparency of their product's environmental performance. Building products with an LCA can
contribute to LEED certification under LEED v4.
MRc2: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Environmental Product Declaration (possible 2 points)
Intent: To encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have
environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. To reward project teams for selecting products from
manufacturers who have verified improved environmental life-cycle impacts.
Achieve one or more of the options below, for a maximum of 2 points.
Use at least 20 different permanently installed products sourced from at least five different manufacturers that meet one of the
disclosure criteria below. Product-specific declaration.
Products with a publicly available, critically reviewed life-cycle assessment conforming to ISO 14044 that have at
least a cradle to gate scope are valued as one quarter (1/4) of a product for the purposes of credit achievement calculation.
Environmental Product Declarations which conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at
least a cradle to gate scope.
Industry-wide (generic) EPD - Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification,
in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as a participant by the program operator are valued as one half (1/2) of a product
for purposes of credit achievement calculation.
Product-specific Type III EPD - Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification
in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as the participant by the program operator are valued as one whole product for
purposes of credit achievement calculation.
USGBC approved program - Products that comply with other USGBC approved environmental product declaration frameworks.
Option 2: Multi-Attribute Optimization
Rewards projects that use at least 50 percent (by cost) of permanently installed products from manufacturers participating in
an extended producer responsibility program, or adhering to another USGBC-approved program that will verify reductions in at least
three of the following: