Who Does LCA & Why?
ISO-compliant life cycle assessment is the most reliable method to verify environmental impacts and support claims. It provides designers, regulators and engineers with valuable information for exploring decisions in each life stage of materials, buildings, services and infrastructure. The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute applies LCA exclusively for the construction sector, but LCA is widely used across other sectors as well.
LCA identifies environmental hot spots in products and materials and establishes the benchmark against which improvements can be measured. Companies use LCA to demonstrate transparency and corporate credibility to stakeholders and customers. LCA is also used in new product research and development, when environmental footprint is important to the future marketing or cost structure of a product.
LCA is recognized in business rationales as consumer and regulatory environmental expectations are increasing in demand and sophistication. See our supporters and past work for examples of who is doing LCA in the construction sector.
LCA’s growing significance is evident in the next wave of eco-labeling: environmental product declarations (EPDs), which report LCA data. EPDs are often likened to nutrition labels on food packages. Already prevalent in Europe and Asia, EPDs are coming to North America, driven by market forces such as in LEED®. Suppliers to the construction sector are developing LCA data and EPDs to meet this market demand.
The benefit to LCA is simple: reliable, transparent data for both manufacturers and consumers, enabling better decisions.