How Green Is That Product? An Introduction to Environmental Life Cycle Assessment

开始时间: 04/22/2022 持续时间: Unknown

所在平台: CourseraArchive

课程类别: 物理与地球科学

大学或机构: Northwestern University(美国西北大学)

授课老师: Eric Masanet



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Paper or plastic?  Hybrid or conventional vehicles?  Which is better for the environment?  To answer these questions, one must take a holistic systems view using a quantitative approach known as life cycle assessment.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a fundamental method for assessing the environmental impacts of products and technologies from a "cradle to grave" systems perspective.  It is an essential tool for anyone who performs environmental analyses or uses the results of such analyses for decision making. 

The course will provide an introduction to LCA methods and applications.  Students taking this course will emerge with a solid understanding of why an LCA systems perspective is important, basic skills for sound application of the LCA method and proper interpretation of its results, and an appreciation for the strengths and limitations of LCA in practice.  The course will cover the four major steps in LCA: (1) goal definition and scope; (2) life-cycle inventory compilation; (3) life-cycle impact assessment; and (4) interpretation and management.  The course will include a hands-on modeling project, which the students will perform in parallel to the lectures to reinforce learning objectives and to gain experience in LCA application.


- The basics of energy and mass flows and exchanges with the environment
- Working with environmental data: strategies and pitfalls
- Study design: goal definition, system boundaries, and functional units
- Compiling the data: life-cycle inventory methods (process-based and input-output methods)
- Understanding impacts: life-cycle impact analysis for land, air, water, and health
- Dealing with data uncertainties: scenario, sensitivity, and uncertainty analysis
- Results interpretation and system improvements
- Parting thoughts: advice and next steps for continuous learning



In this course you will learn the basics of the life-cycle assessment (LCA) method for holistic environmental analysis of products, technologies, and systems. LCA sheds light on the environmental implications of the consumption and behavioral choices we all make on a daily basis.


西北大学 环境 生命周期评估 LCA 环境保护 环保 生命周期评价



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