Most of us who work in sustainability do so, at least partly, because we love the constant development and learning that is required to stay at the forefront of our field. However, as a relatively young professional discipline, with lots of technical content and quickly evolving challenges, it can be difficult to stay on top of developments in the area of sustainability.
Edge Environment recently partnered with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to deliver a four part training specifically aimed at providing attendees with the latest technical information. The training provided comprehensive information Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) within the built environment in an effort to make some of the most interesting recent developments in sustainability easily accessible to the building and construction industry.
The four face-to-face and seven webinar sessions are now completed and we wanted to share with you some key developments that we see in the area of LCA:
- Product Disclosure is coming to Australia: LCA based product disclosure has underpinned eco-labels and product declarations in Europe and the USA for over a decade. The launch of the Australasian Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Program, combined with activity by National Standards and Standards Australia, point to a new wave of disclosure of environmental impacts in Australia. In particular, EPDs offer a new opportunity for declaration of environmental impacts for a large range of products and services. Unlike ecolabels, that are only open to top performers, anyone can get an EPD.
- Green Star 2014 Design and As Built is an LCA game-changer: History has shown that Green Star provides a strong driver for market transformation in the building industry. LCA is now specifically recognised in two credits: Life Cycle Impacts (whole building LCA) and Sustainable Products (product based LCA information). We are already seeing the demand for rigorous, life cycle based information drastically increase on the back of these changes.
- LCA is underpinning strategy and procurement: LCA is being combined with Life Cycle Costing and social impact analysis to inform strategy and sustainable procurement. This combination of social, environmental and financial information is termed ‘whole of life analysis’. This analysis can help decision makers to understand tradeoffs at points in time as well as variations in impacts over time.
Although LCA has been around since the 1960s it is only more recently that the data and standards have developed to a stage where it can underpin product disclosure, asset analysis and strategy. Although LCA can be complex, practical examples and exercises can help anyone from sustainability practitioners to product developers and corporate strategists understand how to apply LCA and benefit from a complete picture of environmental impacts.
If you missed our LCA training series you can access recordings of the webinars through the GBCA’s eLearning platform here.