Economic Input–Output Models for Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Process and product models are commonly used for performing life-cycle assessments (LCAs) of the environmental impacts of materials and products through different stages of fabrication, use, and end-of-life options. In this article, we show that these models can be represented as process flow diagrams or as matrices of process interactions. In either representation, the inventory of environmental emissions and resources used is comparable, provided the process models are proportional in nature (any increase in product output produces a corresponding environmental burden). Matrix representations are advantageous if application cost, feedback flow, or speed of analysis is important. They are also useful in conjunction with comprehensive, general equilibrium models in which the system boundary of the problem (e.g., an LCA of a product) being analyzed is on the level of the national economy.




Published In

Environ. Sci. Technol, 32, 7, 184A-191A.