A life-cycle assessment, or LCA, is a standardized method for examining a broad range of environmental impacts associated with a process or a product over its complete life cycle. ISO 14044 is the accepted standard to use when performing an LCA.
Only the LCA of a building can provide estimates of the full range of environmental burdens, such as embodied energy use and related fossil fuel depletion; other resource use; greenhouse gas emissions; and toxic release to air, water, and land.
When applied to buildings, an LCA includes:
- Resource extraction
- Manufacturing and transportation of materials and prefabricated components
- On-site construction
- Building operations, including energy consumption and maintenance
- End-of-life reuse, recycling, or disposal