The professional society for life cycle assessment

Education Resources

ACLCA Textbook is available for purchase. Click here an overview pdf presentation of the Textbook. 

These are public service notices. Notice here does not constitute endorsement by ACLCA, or IERE or affiliated persons. 


Earthshift teaches a suite of LCA classes covering the basics, as well as special topic and practical application. The program uses primarily the Sima-pro software program.

The revised program is designed to help prepare one for the LCACP exam.


Free GaBi Education software for teaching

To facilitate the teaching of LCA, PE INTERNATIONAL offers a free version of its life cycle assessment software – GaBi, especially developed for a university-level course on sustainability. Users of GaBi Education get access to the GaBi Learning Centre, with video tutorials and tutorial handbooks.  GaBi Education is a fully functional version of GaBi 4,  supporting life cycle assessment, design for environment, energy and material flow analysis, carbon footprinting and many other environmental analysis activities.

Teacher you may apply for GaBi Education licenses for your own use and for your computer laboratory at

For questions, contact Peter Canepa at PE Americas on

What is LCA?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the science of measuring the environmental impact of products and services over their entire life cycle from cradle to grave. A Life Cycle Assessment model is actually at least three different models.

  1. A technosphere input-output models that describes the human activities in extracting, modifying, discarding and using energy and materials
  2. An emissions and resource model that estimates resource degradation and pollution emissions linked to the technosphere model, for example the emissions of air pollutants from burning a certain amount of fossil fuel in a boiler
  3. An environmental impact model that uses the resource and emission model outputs to estimate the impacts on the environment and the economy. The classic example is that of global climate change which is modeled in accordance with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, yielding units of CO2 equivalents. 

All of these outputs of these models are expressed relevant to the functional unit of the product in question, for example covering a square meter of floor for 30 years, or delivering 1 kWh of energy to the point of use. The use of a functional unit is what allows LCAs to provide the environmental results to the user in terms that are relevant to the user.

A carbon footprint is a kind of LCA that only reports Climate Change iimpacts. Normally LCA covers all relevant impact categories, and it is therfore known as the holistic yardstick of environmental performance. Life Cycle impact assessment results are indicators of impacts, not measurements of actual impacts on the environment. For example, LCA does not measure the loss of particular ecosystems. Rather the LCA provides indicators of aggregate losses all ecosystems across the life cycle.

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LCA History