Compliance with International Standards

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Christo P
Posts: 22
Joined: 08 May 2014 16:46

Compliance with International Standards

Post by Christo P » 11 May 2014 23:11

Hi to everybody to the forum!
Hi to the Moderator!
I’m posting for the first time here and my questions will address the Moderator.
First, a few words for introduction:
I’m working in the building construction field and recently the sustainability features of buildings are my job. These features are being assessed and certified by several world famous methodologies which as a rule include a LCIA (and LCC) analysis in their assessment process. This explains my interest in the openLCA tool which is not only free, but seems to be well designed and elaborated. Really, I liked it.
Secondly, I have already read most of your web site information, downloaded and installed openLCA application v. 1.3.4 with nexus LCIA Methods pack, as well some other free recourses. These days, I’m getting more and more acquainted with the application components, techniques and specifics. They are very well explained and I do hope that sooner or later I’ll reach to the level the application needs, in order to produce professional results. But for now, I came to the following problem:
The sustainable building assessment methodology (in my case it is BREEAM of BRE Global, UK) sets a requirement to the used LCIA tool – the tool must comply with the following standards:
• ISO 14040, ISO 14044
• EN 15978 and EN 15941
So, my questions are:
1. Does openLCA comply as a minimum with the above international standards?
If yes, how can I find evidence confirming the compliance with those standards
(web site publication
or something else)? Please help me to find a solution that will convince BRE Global
Quality Assurance department about their “standards compliance” requirement.
And additionally,
2. Which one of the free LCIA methods/databases listed as free on the download
page can be recommended for LCIA
assessments of the sustainable buildings domain? I mean:
• EcoSpold01 as zip archive (10 MB) /this is the pack that I’ve installed for now/
• database for openLCA 1.3.4 (olca format file, 19 MB) /this is defined as data
base, I should import (or create?) it as a data base in order to use the methods
with normalisation and weighting factors included in it. Please, excuse my
incompetence; I don’t know what advantages bring both normalisation and
weighting factors. Maybe simplification of the calculations done by openLCA
• ecoinvent 2.2 Nov. 2010 (ZIP, 3.2 MB).
3. When making a LCIA model of a project, is it possible to combine data from
different databases, i.e. to import processes and flows from different databases
for the purpose of the same project analysis?

Thank you in advance.
Christo P

Posts: 750
Joined: 09 May 2010 23:28

Re: Compliance with International Standards

Post by aciroth » 14 May 2014 11:01

Hello Christo,
thank you for your kind words about openLCA.

Regarding your questions:
1, compliance with international standards:
- ISO 14040 and 14044: definitely, openLCA is desgined mainly to perform LCAs that are compliant with ISO 14040 and 14044, although it contains approaches that are beyond these standards, e.g. it is possible to apply weighting in a product comparison, as an optional step, and publish results later on, which is not foreseen by these standards.
- EN 15978 and EN 15941: We are currently involved in a project funded by German ministry for building to adapt openLCA to work with EN 15804 (EPDs especially); we have not in detail assessed a compliance to EN 15978 and 15941 but *I guess* openLCA is compatible. However it would maybe be nice to check this more in detail.
2, LCIA methods: I would recommend the LCIA method pack as it is newer and suits also for other databases than ecoinvent. Normalisation and weighting are two common steps in an LCA, normalisation makes all indicator results dimensionless which helps in the interpretation.
3: Combine different databases: Yes that is possible. Of course, the processes need to fit together (similar reference year, location, asf.).

For more specific questions, maybe you can contact us directly.

Hope this helps,

Christo P
Posts: 22
Joined: 08 May 2014 16:46

Re: Compliance with International Standards

Post by Christo P » 14 May 2014 17:14

Hi Andreas,
Thank you for the prompt reply.
It gave me the info I had asked for. So, I’ll stay with openLCA instead of spending time (and money)
on searching for other application.
It is encouraging to learn you are working on adaptation with EN 15804. I think that
a user ability to import data from EPDs when defining processes/flows would be useful, especially
for modeling a building. (You know a building is ever unique – architects create it, new materials
and products appear frequently, so databases need also regular updating).
OK, I’m going to focus on openLCA techniques and probably be in the forum again.
Best regards,

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