G-15 (Buildings) / G-14 (Products) Transport of goods in LCA studies

Aspect G-15 (Buildings) / G-14 (Products) Transport of goods in LCA studies
Description
With globalized supply chains, logistic processes occur throughout the life cycle of every product. The most important ones are transport processes, where several possibilities exist for the activity of carrying goods (e.g. by truck, ship or airplane) for the various life cycle stages, e.g. raw materials supply, manufacturing, on-site implementation, end of life. The environmental impacts connected with transport processes depend on several factors, e.g. the transport distance, the load factor or the empty return.How should the transport of goods be considered?

related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

relevant for

new buildings existing buildings construction products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions Generally speaking, in all LCA studies of a product or a building, transportation processes should be included for every life cycle stage: raw materials supply, manufacturing, transportation to the site, use, and end of life.The EeBGuide provisions are adapted depending on the study types and the corresponding life cycle stages. For screening and simplified LCA studies, transport to the building site and transport to end-of-life facilities are optional, owing to their potentially minor relevance, whereas they should be included for complete LCA. If they are included, the results should be documented separately.The provisions for a specific life cycle stage (e.g. Module A4) supersede the general provision provided here. The practitioner should refer to the provisions for the corresponding aspects: ‘Transport of raw materials to the manufacturer’, ‘Transport of products to the construction site – screening and simplified LCA’, ‘Transport of products to the construction site – complete LCA’, ‘Transport of wastes to landfill, incineration and recycling facilities’.
Other kinds of transport of goods not directly related to a building product may be taken into account for building LCA studies if they are relevant for the goal and scope of the study. If they are included, included, the practitioner should refer to the provisions for the corresponding aspects: ‘Transport of construction machinery to the building site – screening and simplified LCA’,
‘Transport of construction machinery to the building site – complete LCA’.

Rules  from:

EN 15978

In EN 15978, the conventional life cycle stages take into account the related transportation processes that occur during the production, construction, use and end-of-life phases.
7.4.3.2 Boundary of the transport to and from site (Module A4)
7.4.3.3 Boundary of the construction installation process (Module A5)
7.4.4 Boundaries of the use stage (Modules B1–B7)
7.4.5 Boundary of the end-of-life stage (Modules C1–C4)
7.4.6 Boundary for the benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (Module D)

=> Transport of goods, wastes, construction equipment and construction materials should be included in the different life cycle stages

EN 15804

In EN 15804, the conventional life cycle stages take into account the related transportation processes that occur during the production, construction, use and end-of-life phases.
6.3.4.2 Product stage
6.3.4.3 Construction stage
7.3.2.1 A4, Transport to the building site

7.3.2.2 A5, Installation in the building
7.3.4 End-of-life

=> Transport of goods, wastes, construction equipment and construction materials should be included in the different life cycle stages

Guidance
Any life cycle stages (i.e. Modules A1–A3, A4, A5, B and C) should include the related transport processes. The practitioner should be aware that even if a life cycle stage is labelled e.g. A3 ‘Manufacturing’, internal transport of goods can occur. Thus the transport-related impacts theoretically occur for each life cycle stage. For any gate-to-grave information module, additional information to support the generation of LCA data at the building level can be provided by means of a scenario. Module A4 includes only transport from the factory to the construction site. Earlier transport journeys are included in Modules A1 and A2. For example, in an EPD for a steel cladding panel, the transport of iron ore to the steelworks is included, with the extraction of iron ore, and the production of steel sheet via the blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace, in Module A1.  The transport of the steel sheet to the panel manufacturer is included in Module A2, panel manufacture is included in Module A3, and transport from the panel manufacturer to the construction site in Module A4.Transport is generally a significant impact only for materials with very low manufacturing impact, such as aggregates and timber. Also, transport by water has much lower impact than transport by road. Guidance mentioned in the cut-off rules aspect should be adopted for the inclusion of transport processes in the life cycle of a building or a product.Default values for average distances, truck types and load factors should reflect the actual transport. For average LCA data, the use of average values may be sufficiently accurate. Average values can be found in various literature sources e.g. in some transport reports available for each country, or in the documentation of transport LCA datasets from individual databases (e.g. ecoinvent, ELCD, GaBi). Further guidance adapted to the study type and to the life cycle stage is given in the other aspects.

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