G-22 Data selection for a product LCA

Aspect G-22 Data selection for a product LCA
Various data sources exist for the calculation of product LCA data. They differ for example in terms of specificity, age, completeness and certainty. What data requirements apply for the production of product LCA data?

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 In general, specifications are given with regard to EPD: see 6.3.7 ‘Quality requirements’ in EN 15804. National EPD programmes that apply to the context of the LCA study may give more specific guidance.
Rules from:

EN 15978

6.3.6 Selection of data
6.3.7 Data quality requirements

CEN/TR 15941

Sustainability of construction works — Environmental product declarations — Methodology for selection and use of generic data



ISO 14044 Data quality requirements
Specific data are data relating to the specific process being studied.  Generic data are more general data – they may for example be an average from a trade association, a specific dataset that is used as a proxy for typical production, or a dataset developed from literature sources. Data quality considers the relevance and quality of the dataset relative to the process being considered, taking account of

a)    age of data;

b)   geography;

c)    technology;

d)    precision;

e)    completeness;

f)     representativeness;

g)    consistency;

h)    reproducibility;

i)     sources of the data;

j)     uncertainty.

For screening and simplified LCA, it can be appropriate to use lower data quality requirements: for example, a single database for upstream and downstream data may be used without considering further data quality or appropriateness of individual datasets. For complete LCA, it is necessary to consider and report on the data quality. In some circumstances, where a dataset is of particular relevance to a study, or where no suitable dataset is available, it may be necessary to collect data from upstream or downstream processes rather than use generic data. The scope of this data collection will depend on the detail required.

EPD programmes may require specific databases to be used for comparability purposes in terms of methodology until EN 15804 compliant data are widely available. Once EN 15804 compliant databases are available, there should be no differentiation between EN 15804 compliant datasets, other than the scope of the data used. It may be advisable to use the background database that is required from the EPD programme that lies within the context of the LCA study. This means that, for improved consistency, a product LCA study may/should be based on the national EPD programme’s background study.

ILCD already provides guidance on sources of generic data such as the ELCD and proprietary databases.

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