Life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Designers use this process to help critique their products. LCAs can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:
- Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases;
- Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases;
- Interpreting the results to help make a more informed decision.
Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analysis involves creating an inventory of flows from and to nature for a product system. Inventory flows include inputs of water, energy, and raw materials, and releases to air, land, and water. To develop the inventory, a flow model of the technical system is constructed using data on inputs and outputs. The flow model is typically illustrated with a flow chart that includes the activities that are going to be assessed in the relevant supply chain and gives a clear picture of the technical system boundaries. The input and output data needed for the construction of the model are collected for all activities within the system boundary, including from the supply chain (referred to as inputs from the technosphere).
Life Cycle Estimation (LCE) analysis is a technique to assess environmental impacts of the elements needed for construction. It allows the user to replace missing data in earlier stages of design by average of practice from a database developed by Belatchew Arkitekter