LCA has been developed as a flexible system that can be adjusted to answer different kinds of question [CALCAS 2009]. In this context, standardization is always a difficult task, as it is done under a specific goal definition (e.g. EN 15804 is developed for giving rules for EPD). According to [CALCAS 2009], standards contribute to the harmonization of terms and procedures that are needed for comparison (as practised by rating agencies or consumer agencies). Thus standardization is often not helpful for the optimization of specific processes. Individual concepts that address the specific problems and goals are often more appropriate for such cases.
The practitioner should be aware that for some key aspects, such as goal definition, following the ILCD Handbook may lead to provisions that are different from those in the EN 15804/EN 15978 standards. Hence it is very important to distinguish the different provisions found in the EeBGuide. Although some provisions can be used for all studies, others may be used only under the goals and scope of the EN 15804/EN 15978 standards. For example, most of the time provisions for product LCA are in line with EN 15804.
The EeBGuide has two related objectives when choosing provisions from both CEN TC 350 standards and the ILCD Handbook. First, it is structured in line with the EN 15804 and EN 15978 standards (Modules A, B, C and D), so the provisions (based either on ILCD or EeBGuide) provides consistent rules for implementation of the two standards in practice. This is the ‘rigid’ part of the EeBGuide, which enables it to be in line with more operational projects such as the SBA Common Metrics. Such a perspective is more likely to fall under the secondary audience, e.g. for EPD and building certification purposes (but not only these).
Second, it is structured according to the life cycle steps of the LCA framework. It clearly defines provisions for the different goals and scope of building and product LCA studies. Here, the intention is to detail the different definitions of goal and scope that may be found in practice, for example in comparing two innovative products in an E2B EI research project, or assessing the introduction of a new technology into the market by the use of consequential modelling. This is the ‘flexible’ part of the EeBGuide. Such a perspective is more likely to fall under the primary audience, as E2B EI projects (but not only these).
2 Methodological approach of the EeBGuide.
- 2.1. Identification of important aspects for product and building LCA studies
- 2.2. Reference documents for the EeBGuide.
- 2.3. Procedure for choosing provisions from both CEN TC 350 standards and the ILCD Handbook
- 2.3.1. EeBGuide provisions for different goal definition: strictness vs. flexibility.
- 2.4. Use of three study types
- 2.5. Use of a baseline scenario.