Life Cycle Assessment


Life cycle assessment (LCA ) has its name from the vital insight that products, and thus the services derived from them, can cause environmental impacts at all stages of their life cycles, from material and energy resource extraction, through material and component production, product distribution and use, all the way to the end of the product’s life. One of the earliest examples was a comparison of beverage containers in 1969, conceived and funded by Coca-Cola and conducted by Midwest Research Institute. As the number of life cycle studies increased over the years, their limitations and shortcomings also became more apparent. Standards like ISO 14044 have resolved many, but not all, methodical challenges. Today, we also distinguish between LCAs that generate environmental profiles of existing products systems (attributional) and LCAs that study the consequences of changes in product systems (consequential). We conduct both types of LCAs for products systems of high interest and also work on advancing LCA methods and theory.


Couture J, Geyer R, Øvrum J, Kuczenski B, Øverland M, Palazzo J, Sahlmann C, Lenihan H (2019) Environmental benefits of novel non-human food inputs to salmon feeds, Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b03832.

Palazzo J, Geyer R (2019) Consequential Life Cycle Assessment of Automotive Material Substitution: Replacing Steel with Aluminum in North American Vehicle Production, Environmental Impact Assessment Research, 75(2019), 47-58.

Bilich A, Langham K, Geyer R, Goyal L, Hansen J, Krishnan A, Bergesen J, Sinha P (2017) Life Cycle Assessment of Solar Photovoltaic Microgrid Systems in Off-Grid Communities, Environmental Science and Technology, 51(2), 1043-1052.

Zink T, Geyer R (2016) There is no such Thing as a Green Product, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 14(2), 26-31.

Koffler C, Geyer R, Volz T (2014) Life Cycle Inventory, in: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Schenck R & White P (Eds.), ACLCA, Vashon, WA, USA.

Zink T, Maker F, Geyer R, Amirtharajah R, Akella V (2014) Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Smartphone Reuse: Repurposing vs. Refurbishment, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 19(5), 1099-1109.

Geyer R, Stoms D, Kallaos J (2013), Spatially-Explicit Life Cycle Assessment of Sun-to-Wheels Transportation Pathways in the U.S., Environmental Science and Technology, 47(2), 1170-1176.

Kuczenski B, Geyer R (2013) PET Bottle Reverse Logistics – Environmental Performance of California’s CRV program, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 18(2), 456-471.

Kuczenski B, Geyer R, Boughton R (2011), Tracking Toxicants: Toward a life cycle aware risk assessment, Environmental Science and Technology, Special Issue Environmental Policy: Past, Present, and Future, 45(1), 45-50.

Bumby S, Druzhinina E, Feraldi R, Werthman D, Geyer R, Sahl J (2010), Life cycle assessment of overhead and underground primary power distribution, Environmental Science and Technology, 44(14), 5587–5593.

Geyer R, Stoms D, Lindner J, Davis F, Wittstock B (2010), Coupling LCA and GIS for biodiversity assessments of land use: Part 2 – Impact assessment, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 15(7), 692-703.

Geyer R, Lindner J, Stoms D, Davis F, Wittstock B (2010) Coupling LCA and GIS for biodiversity assessments of land use: Part 1 - Inventory analysis, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 15(5), 454-467.

Early C, Kidman T, Menvielle M, Geyer R, McMullan R (2009) Informing packaging design decisions at Toyota Motor Sales using life cycle assessment and costing, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 13(4), 592-606.

Geyer R (2008) Parametric assessment of climate change impacts of automotive material substitution, Environmental Science and Technology, 42(18), 6973-6979.