Learning Objectives - After reading this article, you should be able to:
- Understand the need to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment
- Introduce Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
- Interpret Environmental labels
- Understand, Read and Interpret Environmental Product Declarations
- Explain how EPD’s are currently being used and applied
- Describe the differences between LCA and an EPD
- Apply these tools (LCA/EPD) to formulating product specification choices
|1 AIA LU/HSW|
LCA or Life Cycle Assessment. It’s as a tool that allows building professionals to understand the environmental impacts associated with the building products they select to use on their projects over the entire life cycle of the product. Scorecard approaches, like the LEED rating system, provide a specific list of do’s and don’ts to be applied during the design process. The credits earned by projects designed under LEED do not provide feedback on how well a product selection could perform, environmentally or otherwise, after occupancy.
LCA, on the other hand, is a look at a product’s environmental impacts at all stages of a product’s life and aids in architectural decision making to help you understand the environmental impact of product specification choices long term. LCA will likely replace the attribute driven selection criteria that was prevalent over the last several years in environmental rating systems like LEED.