Life cycle assessment evaluation of green product labeling systems for residential construction

Neethi Rajagopalan, Melissa M. Bilec, Amy E. Landis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    25 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be utilized to holistically evaluate novel trends in the construction industry and the associated environmental impacts. Green labels are awarded by several organizations based on single or multiple attributes. The use of multi-criteria labels is a good start to the labeling process as opposed to single criteria labels that ignore a majority of impacts from products. Life cycle thinking, in theory, has the potential to improve the environmental impacts of labeling systems. However, LCA databases currently are lacking in detailed information about products or sometimes provide conflicting information. Method This study compares generic and green-labeled carpets, paints, and linoleum flooring using the Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) LCA database. The results from these comparisons are not intuitive and are contradictory in several impact categories with respect to the greenness of the product. Other data sources such as environmental product declarations and ecoinvent are also compared with the BEES data to compare the results and display the disparity in the databases. Results This study shows that partial LCAs focused on the production and transportation phase help in identifying improvements in the product itself and improving the manufacturing process but the results are uncertain and dependent upon the source or database. Inconsistencies in the data and missing categories add to the ambiguity in LCA results. Conclusions While life cycle thinking in concept can improve the green labeling systems available, LCA data is lacking. Therefore, LCA data and tools need to improve to support and enable market trends.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)753-763
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    Volume17
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2012

    Fingerprint

    life cycle
    environmental impact
    sustainability
    construction industry
    labelling
    product
    evaluation
    economics
    manufacturing
    market

    Keywords

    • Building products
    • Energy
    • Environmental impacts
    • Green labels
    • Life cycle assessment
    • Residential model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)

    Cite this

    Life cycle assessment evaluation of green product labeling systems for residential construction. / Rajagopalan, Neethi; Bilec, Melissa M.; Landis, Amy E.

    In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Vol. 17, No. 6, 07.2012, p. 753-763.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Rajagopalan, Neethi ; Bilec, Melissa M. ; Landis, Amy E. / Life cycle assessment evaluation of green product labeling systems for residential construction. In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 2012 ; Vol. 17, No. 6. pp. 753-763.
    @article{500c285f9a3e42d88434d08817deef76,
    title = "Life cycle assessment evaluation of green product labeling systems for residential construction",
    abstract = "Purpose Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be utilized to holistically evaluate novel trends in the construction industry and the associated environmental impacts. Green labels are awarded by several organizations based on single or multiple attributes. The use of multi-criteria labels is a good start to the labeling process as opposed to single criteria labels that ignore a majority of impacts from products. Life cycle thinking, in theory, has the potential to improve the environmental impacts of labeling systems. However, LCA databases currently are lacking in detailed information about products or sometimes provide conflicting information. Method This study compares generic and green-labeled carpets, paints, and linoleum flooring using the Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) LCA database. The results from these comparisons are not intuitive and are contradictory in several impact categories with respect to the greenness of the product. Other data sources such as environmental product declarations and ecoinvent are also compared with the BEES data to compare the results and display the disparity in the databases. Results This study shows that partial LCAs focused on the production and transportation phase help in identifying improvements in the product itself and improving the manufacturing process but the results are uncertain and dependent upon the source or database. Inconsistencies in the data and missing categories add to the ambiguity in LCA results. Conclusions While life cycle thinking in concept can improve the green labeling systems available, LCA data is lacking. Therefore, LCA data and tools need to improve to support and enable market trends.",
    keywords = "Building products, Energy, Environmental impacts, Green labels, Life cycle assessment, Residential model",
    author = "Neethi Rajagopalan and Bilec, {Melissa M.} and Landis, {Amy E.}",
    year = "2012",
    month = "7",
    doi = "10.1007/s11367-012-0416-9",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "17",
    pages = "753--763",
    journal = "International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment",
    issn = "0948-3349",
    publisher = "Springer Science + Business Media",
    number = "6",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Life cycle assessment evaluation of green product labeling systems for residential construction

    AU - Rajagopalan, Neethi

    AU - Bilec, Melissa M.

    AU - Landis, Amy E.

    PY - 2012/7

    Y1 - 2012/7

    N2 - Purpose Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be utilized to holistically evaluate novel trends in the construction industry and the associated environmental impacts. Green labels are awarded by several organizations based on single or multiple attributes. The use of multi-criteria labels is a good start to the labeling process as opposed to single criteria labels that ignore a majority of impacts from products. Life cycle thinking, in theory, has the potential to improve the environmental impacts of labeling systems. However, LCA databases currently are lacking in detailed information about products or sometimes provide conflicting information. Method This study compares generic and green-labeled carpets, paints, and linoleum flooring using the Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) LCA database. The results from these comparisons are not intuitive and are contradictory in several impact categories with respect to the greenness of the product. Other data sources such as environmental product declarations and ecoinvent are also compared with the BEES data to compare the results and display the disparity in the databases. Results This study shows that partial LCAs focused on the production and transportation phase help in identifying improvements in the product itself and improving the manufacturing process but the results are uncertain and dependent upon the source or database. Inconsistencies in the data and missing categories add to the ambiguity in LCA results. Conclusions While life cycle thinking in concept can improve the green labeling systems available, LCA data is lacking. Therefore, LCA data and tools need to improve to support and enable market trends.

    AB - Purpose Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be utilized to holistically evaluate novel trends in the construction industry and the associated environmental impacts. Green labels are awarded by several organizations based on single or multiple attributes. The use of multi-criteria labels is a good start to the labeling process as opposed to single criteria labels that ignore a majority of impacts from products. Life cycle thinking, in theory, has the potential to improve the environmental impacts of labeling systems. However, LCA databases currently are lacking in detailed information about products or sometimes provide conflicting information. Method This study compares generic and green-labeled carpets, paints, and linoleum flooring using the Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) LCA database. The results from these comparisons are not intuitive and are contradictory in several impact categories with respect to the greenness of the product. Other data sources such as environmental product declarations and ecoinvent are also compared with the BEES data to compare the results and display the disparity in the databases. Results This study shows that partial LCAs focused on the production and transportation phase help in identifying improvements in the product itself and improving the manufacturing process but the results are uncertain and dependent upon the source or database. Inconsistencies in the data and missing categories add to the ambiguity in LCA results. Conclusions While life cycle thinking in concept can improve the green labeling systems available, LCA data is lacking. Therefore, LCA data and tools need to improve to support and enable market trends.

    KW - Building products

    KW - Energy

    KW - Environmental impacts

    KW - Green labels

    KW - Life cycle assessment

    KW - Residential model

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84865149376&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84865149376&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1007/s11367-012-0416-9

    DO - 10.1007/s11367-012-0416-9

    M3 - Article

    VL - 17

    SP - 753

    EP - 763

    JO - International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

    JF - International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

    SN - 0948-3349

    IS - 6

    ER -