Impact Assessment Methods
To explain the methodology for how environmental impacts are evaluated in a life cycle assessment (LCA) and to provide the basic knowledge required for interpreting LCA results.
This course provides an overview of how various impact assessment methods are modeling the fate, transport & exposure pathways (causality chain) of emissions, allowing you to understand each impact category and why your results change when you use different impact assessment methods. This course will point out the strengths and weaknesses of the major internationally accepted impact assessment methods, thus allowing you to choose the best method for your LCA study. Your instructor will use visual slides to show you the structure of impact assessment and how various impact categories are assessed. The instructor will also use the SimaPro software to help you interpret the results.
- Review the basic structure of impact assessment methods including: midpoint, endpoint, characterization, normalization, weighting and single score.
- Learn how the fate, transport and exposure pathways (causality chains) are modeled in the following impact categories: climate change, ozone depletion, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, acidification, eutrophication, smog, respiratory organics, radiation, land use, resource use and water depletion.
- Compare impact assessment methods to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and their similarities and differences. The course reviews the following internationally accepted impact assessment methods: CML 2 (2000), ecoindicator 99, IMPACT 2002+, ReCiPe, TRACI I, and EDIP.
- View how impact assessment methods are modeled
- Discuss impact assessment methods under development.
Are you wondering exactly how a LCA evaluates your products or services environmental impacts? Are you curious what the impact category called “ecotoxicity” really means? Or the environmental impacts called “acidification” and “eutrophication”? Ever wonder why one impact assessment method says ecotoxicity is your biggest concern and another says land use is? This course delves into the science behind the evaluation of the effect of emissions on the environment. We will demystify how impact assessment methods are modeled and the calculations are made. After taking this course you will understand impact assessment jargon and be able to choose the most robust method for your LCA studies.
Students are required to have taken our Introduction to LCA online or onsite courses, and/or have a working knowledge of conducting an LCA. A college level course in chemistry is suggested, and we recommend that students purchase and read the ISO 14040 and 14044 (2006) standards before class.
The class will meet online at www.gotomeeting.com. You will be provided with an invitation and password before the class. For the purpose of the demonstration we use the SimaPro software tool. It is not essential that you know how to use SimaPro as the concepts presented in this course can be applied in other LCA software tools.
The best set up for taking the class is to have one monitor to view the slides and another running your LCA software tool to follow your instructor and gain hands on experience. If you would like to take the class but do not have access to software, we will provide you with a temporary SimaPro license. Before the class you will receive a print-out of the presentation slides, which you can use for note taking during the class. These prove to be a great help when conducting your future LCA’s.