Life Cycle Assessment Practicum

Course Description: 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an environmental modeling method that has become increasingly popular within business and academia for evaluating the environmental impacts of products or systems. LCA considers impacts along the entire life cycle, from production to consumption to disposal, and generally provides quantitative information for a range of different environmental issues. In this practicum course, students work on real projects with industry partners in order to achieve skills and training as analysts in this field. The course begins with a review of the intellectual foundation of LCA, the computational structure of the method, and the international standards that govern its use. Students then receive several hands-on training modules for commercial LCA software packages, and work examples for model products and systems. This initial training prepares students to carry out their independent group projects over the remainder of the course. Special topics in LCA research and implementation are also covered later in the course, including, e.g., carbon and water footprinting, environmentally extended input-output analysis, and buildings. Regular project updates occur in class and individually with the instructor, and results are presented to industry partners at the end of the course in a professional consulting context.

Tom Swarr
F&ES 950a