The USDA Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Commons provides access to data, tools, and resources that support life cycle assessment for U.S. agricultural production and agriculturally derived products.
Life Cycle Assessment
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) collection is a catalog and archive of data, tools, and resources that support LCA for agriculture and related areas of research. It is complementary to the USDA LCA Commons Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) database, and provides access to a wider range LCA data and tools.
Life Cycle Assessment (also known as life cycle analysis, or cradle-to-grave analysis) is a method of assessing environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product's life. For example, it measures impact from raw material extraction to materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. The goal of LCA is to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services by quantifying all inputs and outputs of material flows, and then assessing how these material flows impact the environment. This information is used to improve processes, support policy, and provide a sound basis for informed decisions.
Browse Life Cycle Assessment Resources
- Life Cycle Assessment Tools is a catalog of tools for life cycle data management
- USDA Life Cycle Assessment Commons Inventory Data is a collection of unit processes, formatted for use in LCA software.
- Case Studies and Supporting Data provides access to supporting data that are not formatted for use in LCA software.
This product system model represents the generation of two co-products from forest or wood product mill operation residues using the Tucker Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Thermochemical conversion process. The two co-products are a synthesis gas (syngas) and biochar (a form of charcoal made from woody biomass via pyrolysis, used as a soil amendment, and under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions). Data for this process were collected in St. Regis, Montana and Locust, NC, where the Tucker RNG conversion process has been tested and demonstrated.
Unit processes represent wheat-wheat-fallow and wheat-wheat-rapeseed crop production simulations that illustrate using the IPCC (Tier 1) method for calculating changes in soil C and the roundtable on sustainable biomaterials (RSB) method for estimating N2O emissions in different locations for the use in modeling the crop production portion of the HRJ lifecycle. Data are archived in a SimaPro .csv file, which can be imported into various life cycle assessment modeling tools.
This unit process represents the gate-to-gate production of 1 air-dried metric tonne of kraft lignin, coproduced with southern bleached softwood kraft pulp (SBSK), high voltage electricity and unrefined tall oil soap. The pulp is derived from pine or loblolly pine in a kraft pulping process at a mill in the southern United States (U.S.). Lignin is extracted via precipitation and acid washing. All flows are production weighted to kraft lignin. The SBSK pulp production technologies are an aggregation of those applied in the southern U.S. in 2013.
This product system represents the poultry meat produced for human consumption as a result of producing one broiler. Both types of live weight poultry are at the farm gate, ready for transport to the processing plant, although not necessarily at the same farm. It includes the fraction of a spent hen attributable to the production of one broiler.
The goals for the release of Version 2 of the field crop data are to rework the data to link up with the tier 2 field operations/ work process datasets, eliminate the use of service processes, and rework balance parameters using a simpler formula. Models represent states that produced field crops in the ARMS survey years included.
The swine production datasets are the product of ongoing work by the University of Arkansas Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Pork Board. The data documentation in this metadata record describes the project background and nomenclature, in addition to a description of the dataset structure, individual unit processes, and production scenarios. Flow-level metadata descriptions for selected unit processes within the U.S. swine dataset can be found in the Appendix section.
These unit process models represent crop production in US states in multiple years. The main data source used for the development of the field crop data described here is the annual USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). ARMS data are from an annual national survey of field-level farm practices sponsored jointly by USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). These datasets were released in ecospold version 1 in June 2012.
Data from: Greenhouse gas emissions from milk production and consumption in the United States: A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment circa 2008
This carbon footprint study for fluid milk was commissioned in order to identify where the industry can innovate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the supply chain.