Life cycle assessment
The impact of building materials on the environment tends to be assessed in an overly simplistic way by many environmental assessment and rating tools – sometimes resulting in outcomes that are actually worse for the environment.
A proper environmental assessment of any building material should include a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which considers not just the cradle-to-grave impacts of producing the material but also the impacts of the product’s use over its full life – up to, and including, its disposal.
Currently, in Australia, there is no agreed methodology for LCA and no consistent record of life cycle data that can be used to inform design and procurement decisions for the selection of building products and materials. Cement Australia is participating with the Building Products Innovation Council to develop a current and rigorous Life Cycle Inventory database to allow such analyses to be more credibly carried out.