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Life cycle assessment (LCA) categories

Three LCA Categories for EPDs

Cradle to Gate, Cradle to Gate with Options and Cradle to Grave are the three categories of Life Cycle Assessment. This is the basis of an EPD as indicated by environmental standard EN 15804.

Each LCA category in the checklist below relates to the five life cycle stages of a building. The numbering A-D refers to the modules given in the standard.

Business to business (B2B) EPDs for wood products are generally limited to specific stages of the life cycle, such as cradle-to-gate, since manufacturers may not be able to characterise how their product will be used after it is sold.

Cradle to gate
  • Covering the product stage information modules A1 – A3 (raw material supply, transport, manufacturing of products).  This comprises the minimum of processes that are required for compliance with EN 15804.
  • Declared unit1
  • Shall not be used for comparison.
Cradle to gate with options
  • Covering the product stage information A1 – A3 as a minimum, plus any other information modules from both the use stage (B1 – B7) and the end-of-life stage (C1 – C4).  Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (Module D) may be included.
  • Declared unit or functional unit2
  • Shall not be used for comparison.
 Cradle to grave
  • Covering all the life cycle stages as a minimum, including end-of-life (C1 – C4) at or beyond the study period.  Benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (Module D) may be included.
  • Functional unit.
  • Can be used for comparison if the functional unit is equivalent.
Notes:1 Quantity of a construction product for use as a reference unit in an EPD for an environmental declaration based on one or more information modules e.g. mass (tonne), area (m2), length (m), volume (m3), item (piece). 2 Quantified performance of a product system for use as a reference unit.