[Skip to Content]

Conducting LCA

The US EPA has developed a guide about conducting LCA. The LCA process is a systematic, phased approach and consists of four components: goal definition and scoping, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation.

  1. Goal Definition and Scoping
    Define and describe the product, process or activity. Establish the context in which the assessment is to be made and identify the boundaries and environmental effects to be reviewed for the assessment.

  2. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Analysis
    Identify and quantify energy, water and materials usage and environmental releases (e.g., air emissions, solid waste disposal, waste water discharges).

  3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)
    Assess the potential human and ecological effects of energy, water, and material usage and the environmental releases identified in the inventory analysis.

  4. Interpretation
    Evaluate the results of the inventory analysis and impact assessment to select the preferred product, process or service with a clear understanding of the uncertainty and the assumptions used to generate the results.1

1 US EPA. "Life Cycle Assessment: Principles and Practice," May 2006