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Life-Cycle Inventory and Eco-Calculator for Building Materials

Life-Cycle Inventory Calculator and Eco-materials sourcing

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NREL and its partners created the U.S. Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI) Database to help life-cycle assessment (LCA) experts answer their questions about environmental impact.

This database provides a cradle-to-grave accounting of the energy and material flows into and out of the environment that are associated with producing a material, component, or assembly. It's an online storeroom of data collected on commonly used materials, products, and processes.

The critically reviewed LCI data are consistent with a common research protocol and with international standards. The LCI data support efforts to develop product LCAs, support systems, and LCA tools.

Online Life-Cycle Inventory Database

ATHENA® EcoCalculator for Assemblies

Life cycle assessment (LCA)–which allows the impartial comparison of building designs based on measures such as global warming potential–is an essential part of this effort.

the EcoCalculator, architects, engineers and others now have access to instant LCA results for hundreds of common building assemblies. The results embedded in the tool are based on detailed assessments completed with the ATHENA®Impact Estimator for Buildings, which in turn uses ATHENA’s own widely-acclaimed datasets and data from the US Life Cycle Inventory Database.

Developed by the ATHENA Institute in association with the University of Minnesota and Morrison Hershfield Consulting Engineers Open in new window, the tool was commissioned by the Green Building Initiative™ (GBI) for use with the Green Globes™ environmental assessment and rating system. Because of its value as an indicator of climate change impacts, the GBI also supported the team’s creation of a generic version for use by the entire sustainable design community–the version available here free of charge.

The EcoCalculator can be used for new construction projects, retrofits and major renovations, and for industrial, institutional, office or residential designs, either to compare specific assemblies or to assess all of the assemblies in a structure.

The first step is to select an assembly sheet from one of the following categories:

  • Exterior walls
  • Roofs
  • Intermediate floors
  • Interior walls
  • Windows
  • Columns and beams
The free Athena EcoCalculator

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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