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Tool Box Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment is the assessment of the environmental impact of a given product or service throughout its life span. This includes all production inputs, use and disposal.  It allows comparison of all biogeophysical effects of products and services, and informing a design process to lessen negative impacts.
For additional information in Life Cycle Assessment, contact Sustainability Team member:

Life Cycle Analysis

  • The Life Cycle of a CD or DVD
    An EPA produced online poster that shows the life cycle analysis of a CD or DVD.

  • Life Cycle of a Jean
    Levi Strauss & Company’s Life Cycle Assessment of its Jeans.

  • Life Cycle Assessment of the Stonyfield Farm Product Delivery System
    This is a 233 page PDF from the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan.

  • Sustainable Manufacturing 101 Module
    The Sustainable Manufacturing 101 Module is designed to familiarize companies, particularly small-to-medium-size manufacturers, with key concepts, approaches, strategies, terminology and regulations related to sustainable manufacturing. The modules guide users through sustainable manufacturing’s various aspects to help companies identify opportunities for savings and value enhancements throughout the production cycle and supply chain. The module is divided into six distinct lessons, each of which can be downloaded separately.

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Life Cycle Assessment Links

  • Life Cycle Assessment Links
    A resource list and compendium of links about life cycle assessments.

  • EIO-LCA:  Free, Fast, Easy Life Cycle Assessment
    The Carnegie-Mellon tool page.
    The Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) method estimates the materials and energy resources required for, and the environmental emissions resulting from, activities in our economy. The EIO-LCA method was theorized and developed by economist Wassily Leontief in the 1970s based on his earlier input-output work from the 1930s for which he received the Nobel Prize in Economics. Researchers at the Green Design Institute of Carnegie Mellon University operationalized Leontief's method in the mid-1990s, once sufficient computing power was widely available to perform the large-scale matrix manipulations required in real-time. This website takes the EIO-LCA method and transforms it into a user-friendly on-line tool to quickly and easily evaluate a commodity or service, as well as its supply chain. The results from the EIO-LCA model and this website are free for non-commercial use and may not be used in other derivative works or websites without permission.

  • LCA Calculator
    An example of a Life-Cycle Assessment on-line calculator, for assessing the energy input and carbon foot-print of a product.

  • American Center for Life Cycle Assessment
    A professional organization.

  • Sustainability Constraints as System Boundaries: An Approach to Making Life-Cycle Management Strategic
    By Ny, et al, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 10 number 1-2, p 61-77.
    This article looks at the relationships between The Natural Step, life-cycle management, and strategic management.

  • ISO 14040:2006
    The International Standards Organization (ISO) includes Life Cycle Analysis in its 14040 standard (Environmental Management). Detailed information requires purchase.

  • Life Cycle Assessment – EPA
    From the US EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory's Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) website. The LCA 101 document, entitled "Life Cycle Assessment: Principles and Practice," provides an introductory overview of life cycle assessment and describes the general uses and major components of LCA.

  • Life Cycle Assessment – Distance Education Course
    This is a course produced by Dr. Oliver Joilett and Dr. Gregory A. Norris for the Harvard School of Public Health.

  • International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    Journals can be read free online.

  • The Institute for Environmental Research and Education
    The Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to disseminate comprehensive, fact-based research for use in the development of responsible environmental policy, programs and decisions.

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Life Cycle Assessment Software

There are a growing number of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software packages available.  Software can be important, given the complexity of LCA study subjects. Due to the different legal frameworks in the European Union (EU) and in the U.S., some software features that can be used in the EU may not function in the U.S.

To web search, try these search strings:

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