The core work at Athena is ISO-compliant life cycle assessment of construction materials and construction projects.

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Athena LCA Software tools have been helping North American sustainable designers since 2002.

Athena Institute software allows construction industry professionals to compare alternate design scenarios and incorporate environmental considerations beginning at the conceptual stage of a project – when most critical decisions are made. All Athena software tools are available for free.

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Robust life cycle inventory databases provide accurate scientific cradle-to-grave information for building materials and products, transportation, and construction and demolition processes. The Athena Institute brings the power of LCA to designers without requiring them to become LCA experts themselves.

Athena’s software tools—the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings and the Athena EcoCalculator for Assemblies—are related but different. The EcoCalculator spreadsheet tool is very fast but limited in design options—use this tool for a quick rough estimate of building design footprint. The Impact Estimator software is flexible, for a more detailed and accurate footprint estimate of a building.

The Impact Estimator for Buildings is a stand-alone program that allows users to model their own custom assembly and envelope configurations, and provides flexibility for proposed designs and existing buildings. Users need some technical knowledge, but don’t have to be structural engineers or architects to model a building. The Impact Estimator allows the user to input energy simulation results to calculate their operating effects alongside their embodied effects.

The EcoCalculator is a spreadsheet tool with pre-defined assembly and envelope configurations—the user needs only to input the square footage of any particular assembly to receive instantaneous embodied life cycle impact assessment results (operating energy is not included). The results presented are the same as, and derived from the parent software, the Impact Estimator. However, the user is limited to the existing pre-defined assemblies.

Pavement LCA (formerly Impact Estimator for Highways) is an LCA-based software tool that measures environmental impact of roadway designs.

All Athena tools comply with LCA methodology standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040 and 14044 series. The Impact Estimator and EcoCalculator use data from Athena’s own datasets and from the US Life Cycle Inventory Database.

The quality of the Athena Institute’s software tools enhances the value of design projects, setting them apart with qualified information. Athena has spent more than $2 million developing, verifying and updating the databases that form the basis of its tools, expressly to make its life cycle inventory databases the most comprehensive and reliable possible.