Carbon Leadership Forum

February 9, 2017

Model LCA Specifications

Model specifications can be used to request embodied carbon data for structural materials.

The purpose of the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) specifications are to establish recommended product specific LCA reporting data requirements, including the reporting of material quantities, with a goal of being able to measure embodied carbon footprints of new construction projects and to help secure LEED v4 credits for those projects.

The Division 1 section outlines the requirements and background information for the LCA data required, and provides context to the material specific sections that follow. This section should always be included in any specification that solicits LCA data requests that utilize this proposed language.

The additional material-specific sections are intended to be inserted into a complimentary Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) formatted project specification, with the added sections supplementing other material specific requirements.

This LCA specification approach is intended to provide a concise and consistent information request of material supply industries, allowing for a more predictable process for responding to LCA data requests. The goal would be that individual firms that use these specifications minimize the number of modifications they make to their project specific specification data asks, with the hope of industry seeing a more stable and consistent ask and in-term more reliable and normalized data becoming available.

It is important to note that, with Product Category Rule (PCR) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) LCA data as being developed today, the intent is to be able to compare LCA data between suppliers of similar materials, but not to compare LCA data between various materials. For example, EPDs cannot be compared unless compatible PCR and Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets are used. It is imperative that any individual or entity attempting to perform comparative LCA studies between material types qualify the differences between the reported data to prevent inaccurate LCA results, and only to combine compatible information sets.

The Model Specification project is being led by Leif Johnson (ljohnson@mka.com) at MKA Structural Engineers and is currently in the process of being reviewed by a range of stakeholders.

Download the editable word documents for open access use.