Athena research teams follow common building materials from cradle-to-grave to calculate the environmental effects at each stage in the product’s life cycle.
From the beginning, the Athena Institute has been conducting life cycle research, developing an ever-growing set of comprehensive, comparable life cycle inventory (LCI) databases for building materials and products. In fact, most of the research at Athena goes into developing, verifying and updating the databases that form the basis of the Athena software tools. To date, Athena has invested more than $2 million on database development.
Athena experts conduct research independently to accomplish core program objectives, and work with industry to conduct thorough life cycle inventories. For example, in its original gypsum wallboard study, Athena studied not only regular gypsum board, but also the related finishing tapes and muds as well as fire resistant, moisture resistant, shaft-liner, mobile home and gypsum fiberboard. As a result, Athena provides users of its software tools with an unparalleled level of detail and specificity.
The Athena Institute has developed data not only for building materials and products but also for energy use, transportation, construction and demolition processes including on-site construction of a building’s assemblies, maintenance, repair and replacement effects through the operating life, and demolition and disposal.
Athena’s databases are regionally sensitive, taking into consideration manufacturing technology, transportation and electricity grid differences as well as recycled content differences for products produced in various regions. Athena databases are built from the ground up using actual mill or engineered process models and are not reliant on trade or government data sources.
For available reports, please see Publications.
For more information on the LCA data behind the Impact Estimator, please see our Software site.
Interested in adding a material or system to our databases? Send us an e-mail with your contact information and we will follow up promptly.