Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the necessary underpinning to truly understand and engineer how complex systems, products, or processes use materials, water, and energy resources throughout their lifetime. Life cycle assessment is a useful tool for evaluating the environmental impacts of a system. For example, LCA can be used to quantify greenhouse gases, energy and water usage, and emissions from a building's life cycle phases, and can be a useful tool for greening buildings.
Life cycle assessment as a tool provides a comprehensive and quantitative analysis of the environmental impacts of a product or process throughout its entire life cycle. Established guidelines for performing detailed LCAs are well documented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Society for Environmental Toxicologists and Chemists (SETAC), the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). While there are elements of life cycle assessment in all of our research, we also conduct research specifically on method development for LCA.
This work was funded by the National Science Foundation, EFRI-SEED: BUILD - Barriers, Understanding, Integration - Life cycle Development.