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Sustainability Analysis: Environmental

Life-cycle Assessment (LCA)

  • LCA is a technique for analyzing and quantifying the environmental impacts of a product, system, or process.
  • LCA is a comprehensive approach that examines material and energy inputs and outputs over the life cycle of the product or process.
  • LCA quantifies a range of potential environmental impacts, such as ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, and smog formation.
  • LCA results are context specific. Therefore, LCA studies should not be directly compared since each study is performed to address a specific question.


Case studies featuring LCA

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

  • EPDs are a transparent, verified type III eco-labels that communicate the environmental footprint of products, such as construction materials.
  • EPDs can encourage the demand for and supply of products that promote more sustainable use of finite resources and create less stress on the environment.
  • EPDs follow the standardized LCA defined based on the stakeholders' consensus and documented in the Product Category Rules (PCR) and subjected to a critical review process.
  • EPDs can be product- and facility-specific but may also be for a generic product from a group of manufacturers (e.g. regional or industry-average EPD).
  • EPDs based on the same PCR can be compared to identify materials with improved environmental performance, given that the PCR provides enough prescriptiveness for comparability.
  • EPDs and PCRs are not required by federal law or regulations.


Updated: 11/03/2021
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