|Aspect||G-10 Definition of system boundaries for products|
||The system boundaries of product LCA can be different, depending on the goal and scope of the study. If the goal is to create an EPD, then the practitioner is likely to follow the EN 15804 standards. But even for EPD, the system boundaries can vary, depending on the type of data: cradle to gate, cradle to gate with options, or cradle-to-grave. For LCA used in ecodesign, it may be relevant to include the recycling potentials of the products, thus extending the system boundary (a cradle-to-cradle approach) – that is, including Module D if the study complies with EN 15804. Generally speaking, the main issue for any product LCA is to define what to include, especially for the production stage.How can the system boundaries be defined for product LCA?|
related study objective
|☒ stand-alone LCA||☒ comparative assertion|
related study phase
|goal and scope definition||inventory analysis (LCI)||impact assessment (LCIA)||interpretation||reporting|
|new buildings||existing buildings||construction products||screening LCA||simplified LCA||complete LCA|
|Provisions||The practitioner should refer to the ILCD Handbook, or otherwise EN 15804, depending on the goal and scope of his study.For LCA studies that are compliant with EN 15804, the practitioner should be aware that different system boundaries can be selected: cradle to gate, cradle to gate with options, or cradle to grave.
If the results are intended to be used for comparative assertions, then the rules used to define the system boundaries should follow the ILCD Handbook.
||Different cases can be found in practice. For EPD data, rules from EN 15804 should be applied. These types of EPD system boundary can be found, depending on the goal and scope (e.g. for 1 kg of declared unit for cement, the system boundaries will be only up to the gate of the plant).For E2B EI research projects, product LCA studies may be conducted for the full life cycle. The practitioner is likely to collect foreground data for the gate-to-gate stage among the project partners (e.g. a company involved in the project that would like to assess its new product), whereas for upstream or downstream processes the use of generic data may be sufficient. This last recommendation is also in line with EN 15804.|