A free LCA textbook

Download the PDF version already adopted in 60 university courses in North America and more than 20 from the rest of the world. Translations to Thai and Chinese also available, and Spanish is in progress.

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Created by experts

The free book has been written by a small and established team of LCA professionals with 20 years of combined experience teaching LCA, and 50 years of performing LCA studies and research. The authors are H. Scott Matthews, Chris T. Hendrickson, and Deanna H. Matthews, professors at Carnegie Mellon University. Its free availability has been done with students in the developing world in mind. While produced with academic audiences in mind, other interested parties can access the content to learn about LCA. The textbook is the centerpiece of a comprehensive collection of unique learning resources leveraging free data and methods, such as the US LCI database. We encourage educators and users to contribute their own resources to be shared on this website.

Drafts of the book were used in undergraduate and graduate courses at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, the University of Toronto, and the University of Pittsburgh since 2012. Feedback from these road tests led to development of additional chapters, content, and learning tools.
The mission of the team was to write a book that could be widely adopted for a one semester course. The book contains embedded learning objectives, definitions of key concepts, discussion boxes, and examples carried throughout the book. It covers process-based, input-output-based, and hybrid LCA methods. Advanced material is provided for various chapters where needed for graduate courses or advanced practitioners. The book also includes many homework questions, with solutions available upon request. Did we mention its free?
The book provides introduction and substantive quantitative examples for all components of life cycle assessment. Developed alongside the book are a series of free tools to help understand how LCA data and methods are used to produce results for studies. The book uses Microsoft Excel, Mathworks MATLAB, SimaPro, and OpenLCA for demonstrations of managing data and building models. And did we mention its free?

Worth every penny.