Annex C: List of available references for life cycle impact assessment indicators chosen in EN 15804/EN 15978

This Annex provides the practitioner with the sources of recommended LCIA methods (when they are in agreement with the EN 15804/EN 15978 standards). It also highlights the current inconsistencies between the units of the ILCD-recommended LCIA methods and the units of the EN 15804/EN 15978 standards.

The practitioner should notice that while different impact assessment methods are recommended by the ILCD Handbook or given in the EN standards, one cannot be sure that LCA data (both generic LCA background databases and EPDs) do support the application of an LCIA method. The practitioner has rather to evaluate data availability (among other decision criteria) before deciding on which impact methods to use.

Background information in EN 15804/EN 15978

The EN 15804 standard states that

“The impact assessment should be carried out for the following impact categories:

  • global warming
  • ozone depletion
  • acidification of land and water
  • eutrophication
  • photochemical ozone creation
  • depletion of abiotic resources (elements)
  • depletion of abiotic resources (fossil)

The characterization factors applied in the European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) provided by the European Commission (DG Joint Research Centre – Institute for Environment and Sustainability) should be used and shall follow the respective updates of the ELCD [EN 15804]. In addition, the characterization factor for ADP (elements and fossil) shall be taken from CML (Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Leiden, The Netherlands). The characterization factors for ADP-fossil fuels are the net calorific values at the point of extraction of the fossil fuels.”

References that can be considered for the impact category given in EN 15804/EN 15978

There is a need to specify the reference (scientific articles, scientific reports etc.) for each impact category, as the LCA practitioner can find several methods and characterization factors within one impact category (e.g. photochemical ozone formation). At the same time, the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) has recently provided recommended methods for each impact category. It is proposed here to identify, for the EN 15804 impact categories, the available references and characterization factors that can be applied when using the EeBGuide.

Three reports were used to derive the references for LCIA indicators given in the EN 15804/EN 15978 standards.

– Analysis of existing Environmental Impact Assessment Methodologies for use in Life Cycle Assessment (First edition);

– Framework and requirements for Life Cycle Impact Assessment models and indicators (First edition);

– Recommendations for Life Cycle Impact Assessment in the European context (First edition, December 2010).

References of ILCD-recommended LCIA methods that may be used when applying the EeBGuide in the framework of EN 15804/EN 15978 impact categories

The first table presents the references of the ILCD recommended LCIA methods that could be used when applying the EeBGuide. A comment below the unit of the LCIA indicators indicates whether it is consistent with the unit given in EN 15804 and EN 15978.

 

Impact category in EN 15804

Parameter in EN 15804

Unit of LCIA indicator referring to method given in next column

Sources of recommended LCIA method based on ILCD Handbook

Global Warming

Global warming potential, GWP;

kg CO2 equiv

(compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Climate change; midpoint; GWP100;

 

Source: Forster, P., Ramaswamy, V., Artaxo, P., Berntsen, T., Betts, R., Fahey, D.W., Haywood, J., Lean, J., Lowe, D.C., Myhre, G., Nganga, J., Prinn, R., Raga, G., Schulz, M. and Van Dorland, R., (2007). Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis IPCC 2007. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ozone depletion

Depletion potential of the stratospheric ozone layer, ODP

kg CFC 11 equiv

(compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Ozone depletion; midpoint; ODP;

 

Source: World Meteorological Organization, 1999: Scientific assessment of ozone depletion: 1998. Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report no. 44. Geneva.)

Acidification for soil and water

Acidification potential of soil and water, AP;

moles H+ equiv

(no compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Acidification terrestrial and freshwater; midpoint; Accumulated Exceedance

 

Source: Seppälä, J., Posch, M., Johansson, M., Hettelingh, J.P. (2006). Country-dependent Characterisation Factors for Acidification and Terrestrial Eutrophication Based on Accumulated Exceedance as an Impact Category Indicator. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 11(6): 403-416.

 

With updated characterization factors available in:

Posch, M., Seppälä, J., Hettelingh, J.P., Johansson, M., Margni M., Jolliet, O. (2008). The role of atmospheric dispersion models and ecosystem sensitivity in the determination of characterisation factors for acidifying and eutrophying emissions in LCIA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (13) pp.477–486

 

Eutrophication

Eutrophication potential, EP

moles H+ equiv

(no compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Eutrophication terrestrial; midpoint; Accumulated Exceedance;

 

Source: Seppälä, J., Posch, M., Johansson, M., Hettelingh, J.P. (2006). Country-dependent Characterisation Factors for Acidification and Terrestrial Eutrophication Based on Accumulated Exceedance as an Impact Category Indicator. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 11(6): 403-416.

With updated characterization factors available in:

Posch, M., Seppälä, J., Hettelingh, J.P., Johansson, M., Margni M., Jolliet, O. (2008). The role of atmospheric dispersion models and ecosystem sensitivity in the determination of characterisation factors for acidifying and eutrophying emissions in LCIA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (13) pp.477–486

 

Other source: [Guinée 2001]

Photochemical ozone creation

Formation potential of tropospheric ozone, POCP;

kg Ethene equiv

(compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Photochemical ozone formation; midpoint – human health; POCP;

 

Source: Van Zelm, R., Huijbregts, M.A.J., Den Hollander, H.A., Van Jaarsveld, H.A., Sauter, F.J., Struijs, J., Van Wijnen, H.J., Van de Meent, D. (2008). European characterization factors for human health damage of PM10 and ozone in life cycle impact assessment. Atmospheric Environment 42, 441–453.

 

Depletion of abiotic resources: elements

Abiotic depletion potential (ADP-elements) for non-fossil resources

kg Sb equiv

(compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Resource depletion- mineral, fossils and renewables; midpoint; abiotic resource depletion; The ILCD Handbook recommends using the reserve base

 

Source:

ADP-elements based on an update of characterization factors for elements and additional characterization factors have been listed on the basis of USGS economic reserve and reserve base figures in addition to the ultimate reserve by:

Oers, L. van, A. de Koning, J.B. Guinée & G. Huppes, 2002. Abiotic resource depletion in LCA – Improving characterization factors for abiotic resource depletion as recommended in the new Dutch LCA Handbook. DWW report, Delft; see http://www.cml.leiden.edu/research/industrialecology/researchprojects/finished/abiotic-depletion-lcia.html

 

Depletion of abiotic resources: fossil fuels

Abiotic depletion potential (ADP-fossil fuels) for fossil resources

MJ, net calorific value

(compliance with the unit given in EN 15804/EN 15978)

ILCD-recommended LCIA method: Resource depletion- mineral, fossils and renewables; midpoint; abiotic resource depletion;

 

Source:

ADP-fossil fuels based on low heating values (LHV) of the fossil fuels. The fossil fuels are considered to be fully substitutable. Factors provided by: Oers, L. van, A. de Koning, J.B. Guinée & G. Huppes, 2002. Abiotic resource depletion in LCA – Improving characterization factors for abiotic resource depletion as recommended in the new Dutch LCA Handbook. DWW report, Delft; see http://www.cml.leiden.edu/research/industrialecology/researchprojects/finished/abiotic-depletion-lcia.html

 

* CF are provided by [Oers 2002]

Link to online characterization factors of the ILCD-recommended LCIA methods that may be used when applying the EeBGuide in the framework of EN 15804/EN 15978 impact categories

MS Excel CF: http://lct.jrc.ec.europa.eu/assessment/resolveuid/cdfa2451af584ec3b3056a17060e4b6f (RAR-File)

ILCD formatted: http://lct.jrc.ec.europa.eu/assessment/resolveuid/0e0eb8ac1856f79a0a3816f20514b8db (ZIP-File)

 

References of other LCIA methods that may be used when applying the EeBGuide in the framework of EN 15804/EN 15978 impact categories

As for some ILCD-recommended LCIA methods, there is not a consensus with the standards (e.g. a different unit is proposed in the ILCD-recommended method). The practitioner can have a look at the online ILCD report for more information on the other LCIA methods:

http://lct.jrc.ec.europa.eu/assessment/LCIA-CF-09-02-2012-def.pdf

The CML 2002 LCIA method has also been very much used in practice for many years. The practitioner who would like to consult the online characterization factors can go to the following link:

http://cml.leiden.edu/software/data-cmlia.html

Please note that the units for AP and EP in the CEN TC 350 standards correspond to the CML 2002 LCIA method.

 

Concluding remarks:

A list of references for each impact category has been given, based upon the ILCD Handbook recommendations.

It should be kept in mind by the practitioner that there is still quite some freedom when applying the EeBGuide for different impact categories: acidification and eutrophication as the units (and thus the methods) differ between the EN 15804 standard and the ILCD recommend methods. In addition, some of the newly ILCD-recommended methods may not be implemented in commercial LCA software such as GaBi or SimaPro. Also, generic background databases and EPDs may not necessarily contain impact factors or indicator values for all of the methods listed. This situation, however, is expected to change and improve over time.

 


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