Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of goods and services – An Input-Output Approach from C T Hendrikson, L B Lave& H S Matthews

Title: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of goods and services – An Input-Output Approach
Author: C T Hendrikson, L B Lave& H S Matthews
Publisher: Resources For the Future, Washington
ISBN No.: ISBN 1-933115-24-6
Year of Publication: 2006
Website: http://www.rffpress.org

The book is split into three parts:- Part 1 – Introduction to the EIO-LCA Method; Part 2 – Example Applications; and Part 3 Further Developments in the EIO-LCA (Economic Input-Output environmental Life Cycle Assessment) Method. Part 1 is a very good opening explanation to LCA and explains how the move to the input-output approach occurred. It also shows the links to sustainability and environmental impact assessment. The book is honest in revealing the controversies surrounding Life Cycle Assessments, i.e. sometimes it is not possible to define the “best” alternative or that some findings are unpopular. (Washing ceramic cups can have a greater environmental impact than using disposable cups.) The case studies and examples in Part 2 are clear and easy to understand and provide a sound demonstrative basis for people new to LCA to “have a go”.

Part 3 looks forward to extensions and alternative models for the EIO-LCA model, including the addition of occupational health and safety data to inputs and outputs. Readers should not ignore the useful data in the Appendices which includes compliance of an EIO-LCA study with the requirements of the ISO standards 14040, 14041, 14042 and 14043 and some alternative model forms for EIO-LCA.

The book is a reference work and is thus not a quick read. The detail included is valuable but requires time and concentration to absorb, understand and implement. Having said this, it is one of the most “user friendly” of the LCA manuals that I have come across.

There is a companion website for this book at www.eiolca.net which includes EIO-LCA software which can be used on-line.

Good reference work but absolute beginners should look at other texts as a balance.
AJH

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