Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is an environmental evaluation method that makes it possible to quantify the impacts of a product, service, or process over the span of its life cycle, from extracting raw materials to end of life processing, not forgetting the inclusion of implementation and working life. A standardised, recognised tool (standards in the ISO 14040 series), the LCA is the most complete method in terms of overall multi-criteria evaluation, a result of interpreting the quantified balance sheet of material flows and incoming and outgoing energy flows at each stage of the product’s life cycle. To convey the results of the analysis, and to compare the same product or service, a functional unit is defined. This is a means of measurement that quantifies the function performed by the product being studied.
The results of an LCA are expressed as a series of environmental indicators, which include both potential impacts (e.g., x kg of CO2 equivalents for the greenhouse effect) and physical flows (e.g., y kg of hazardous waste).
Standards NF EN 15804, and NF XP C08-100-1, NF EN 15978 are industrial variations of standard ISO 14040 respectively for construction products, equiquements and buildings.