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Life Cycle Assessment of Building Products

Format On Demand: Article/Print
Offered by McGraw Hill Construction
Category Other
  • LEED Green Associate

Those involved in green building design and construction have recognized for some time that the materials and products used in buildings make a significant environmental impact long before they are ever installed in a building. These impacts can include intensiveamounts of embodied energy used to extract raw materials and then manufacture the product. They can also include the associated fossil fuel depletion and carbon footprint of the process which may contribute to smog, ozone destruction and global climate change. Thedisposal of products at the end of their service life likewise contributes to environmental impacts through the use of energy to remove and relocate them plus the impact of disposal in landfills, incineration, or other methods. Because of these recognized impactsover the full life of products and materials, there has been increasing interest in finding a reliable method for quantifying, comparing, and documenting the comprehensive environmental impacts related to specific building products. In response, there is increased interest and focus on the use of a standardized Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) process. In the interest of encouraging truly greenerbuildings, the proposed LEED version 4 (anticipated mid-year 2013) and other green certification programs are using LCA as more comprehensive tool to gauge the degree to which building materials and products can be considered to be truly environmentally preferable.


1. Identify and differentiate emerging practices involved in quantifying the environmental impacts of building materials and products.

2. Investigate the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) processes and their relevance to green building design.

3. Explore the use of LCAs and EPDs as part of the emerging LEED version 4 requirements for materials andresources and other green certifications.

4.Observe and evaluate specific case studies using product transparency and benchmarking.

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LEED-specific LEED AP BD+C LEED Green Associate 1.0
AIA/CES (LU) 1.0