Sustainability Basics: Life - Cycle Assessment
There is increasing talk about life-cycle assessment (LCA) in the construction industry. LCA is often confused with life-cycle-cost analysis (LCCA), which has been around for a number of years. LCA is an environmental accounting tool. When performing an LCA, financial impacts are not considered and monetary units are not part of the analysis. Instead, an LCA accounts for environmental impacts in terms of mass or energy use (inputs) and emissions to air, water, and land (outputs).
An LCA is an environmental assessment of the life cycle of a product or process. When performing an LCA, the practitioner looks at all aspects of a product life cycle — from the first stages of harvesting and extracting raw materials from nature, to transforming and processing these raw materials into a product, to using the product, and ultimately recycling it or disposing of it back into nature.
Emily Lorenz, LEED AP BD+C., Materials Consulting at CTLGroup, used her sustainability column to discuss Life-Cycle Assessment in the December, 2011 American Society of Concrete Contractors newsletter.
To read the full column, access the PDF download above.
Source: The Voice of the Concrete Contractor
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