It is generally acknowledged that procurement of materials and products for the construction and fit-out of buildings is currently being driven by overly simplistic considerations and claims like recycled, recyclable, carbon neutral, low ecological impact, low embodied energy, renewable, low VOC, locally sourced etc.
These single issues may all contribute to the benefits of a particular material or product choice but on their own can be misleading.
The construction materials and products industries are enthusiastic to move toward a full LCA based assessment of materials and products on a Level Playing Field basis in particular because buildings have such long lives with many replacements of some materials and products but with others lasting the life of the building.
The Building Products Innovation Council (BPIC) and AusIndustry (through the Industry Cooperative Innovation Program (ICIP)) have approved funding to the tune of $1.6 million over 3 years in support of the Australian Life Cycle Inventory (AusLCI) project.
The Australian Life Cycle Inventory project will establish a methodology and database of consistent life cycle data, a consistent set of data for material and product replacement intervals and a consistent set of weightings for the relative importance of different environmental impacts in different climates.
LCA based assessment of materials and products services are available from BRANZ .