Comprehensive Guide on Indicators for Life Cycle Environmental Performance

Published by firstgreen on

Life cycle analysis (LCA) has emerged as a critical tool for understanding the environmental impact of products and services throughout their life span. At Firstgreen Consulting, we pride ourselves on offering advanced insights into the energy sector, providing businesses the knowledge they need to make sustainable decisions. A cornerstone of these decisions lies in understanding life cycle environmental performance. Here, we provide an overview of the leading indicators, data quality, and scenarios crucial to LCA.

Key Indicators from EN 15804 and EN 15978

Adhering to the standards set by EN 15804 and EN 15978, the indicators listed from Table 1 to Table 3 are paramount. These standardized indicators have been meticulously developed to cater to a broad spectrum of products and services, making them a universal touchstone. However, the beauty of these models lies in their flexibility. The model can be expanded upon, allowing for the inclusion of new and relevant indicators when deemed necessary.

Abiotic Depletion & Its Limitations

It’s essential to note that while the impact category for Abiotic Depletion of non-renewable abiotic material (ADPelements) provides insightful results for construction materials, its utility is restricted. The missing characterization factors for numerous raw materials vital for producing these materials result in its limitation. Therefore, while it serves as an informative tool, leveraging it for benchmarking purposes might not yield accurate results.

Data Quality: Meeting the Benchmarks of EN15804 and EN15978

In our ever-evolving world, the quality and relevance of data play a crucial role in making informed decisions. Based on ISO14044, EN15804, and EN15978 establish stringent quality benchmarks:

  • Time-Related Coverage: Ensure datasets are up-to-date. Generic data should be updated within a decade, while specific producer data should not be older than five years.
  • Geographical Relevance: Data must be collected from areas that are representative and align with the study’s aim.
  • Technological Coverage: The data should encompass all pertinent technologies, mirroring the reality of each product.
  • Completeness: It’s vital to ensure datasets align with the analysis’s goal and scope.

Generic Vs. Specific Data

Two primary categories define data collection for life cycle assessment. The generic data is sourced from readily available databases like GaBi, whereas specific data is directly acquired from manufacturers and producers. This meticulous combination ensures that the provided data meets the above quality benchmarks. Especially for benchmarking processes and life cycle assessments of buildings, the harmonization of these data categories is paramount.

Life Cycle Analysis Scenarios

To accurately gauge the environmental impact over a structure’s lifespan, defined scenarios are crucial. These scenarios shed light on the behavior of a building’s structural system over a designated analysis period. Current technological advances and standard practices guide the assumptions and processes in these scenarios. However, it’s pivotal to approach this with a conservative outlook. Especially when considering the recycling and reuse of materials, the market for secondary materials is still in its nascent stage, indicating immense potential for growth and improvements.


With a burgeoning focus on sustainability, the significance of understanding life cycle environmental performance has never been higher. By leveraging the insights from EN 15804, EN 15978, and ISO14044, organizations can make informed decisions that not only benefit their operations but also contribute to global sustainability goals. At Firstgreen Consulting, we are at the helm of such transitions, offering insights and strategies that amalgamate renewable energy solutions with sustainability.

Categories: LCA