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3 – Building LCA 101: Embodied Carbon Accounting

This factsheet provides an overview of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) including methodologies, data sources, and includes policy guidance for using LCA.

Building greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be broadly divided into operational carbon – the emissions associated with energy used to operate a building – and embodied carbon – the emissions associated with the materials and construction processes across the building’s life cycle.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the agreed-upon methodology for measuring embodied carbon. LCA is a systematic approach for evaluating the environmental impacts of a building, product, or process over its full life cycle, from raw material extraction through end-of-life and disposal. By providing a standardized and robust approach to estimating the carbon impacts of construction products and projects, LCA can support more
informed decision-making from early design through procurement. In the context of policy, building LCA must comply with building embodied carbon reporting requirements or performance standards.

Authors

Meghan Lewis
Brad Benke
Steph Carlisle
Michelle Lambert

Graphic Design

Sindhu Raju

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