Life Cycle Impact Assessment

Ralph K. Rosenbaum, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Anne-Marie Boulay, Peter Fantke, Alexis Laurent, Montserrat Núñez, Marisa Vieira

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    This chapter is dedicated to the third phase of an LCA study, the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) where the life cycle inventory’s information on elementary flows is translated into environmental impact scores. In contrast to the three other LCA phases, LCIA is in practice largely automated by LCA software, but the underlying principles, models and factors should still be well understood by practitioners to ensure the insight that is needed for a qualified interpretation of the results. This chapter teaches the fundamentals of LCIA and opens the black box of LCIA with its characterisation models and factors to inform the reader about: (1) the main purpose and characteristics of LCIA, (2) the mandatory and optional steps of LCIA according to the ISO standard, and (3) the science and methods underlying the assessment for each environmental impact category . For each impact category, the reader is taken through (a) the underlying environmental problem, (b) the underlying environmental mechanism and its fundamental modelling principles, (c) the main anthropogenic sources causing the problem and (d) the main methods available in LCIA. An annex to this book offers a comprehensive qualitative comparison of the main elements and properties of the most widely used and also the latest LCIA methods for each impact category, to further assist the advanced practitioner to make an informed choice between LCIA methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLife Cycle Assessment: Theory and practice
    Publication date2018
    ISBN (Print)9783319564753
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319564746
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Business and Management
    • Sustainability Management
    • Sustainable Development
    • Renewable and Green Energy
    • Manufacturing, Machines, Tools
    • Operating Procedures, Materials Treatment


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