The third party certified LCI data used must be either from the individual supplier whose product is used or average data from the industry association in the specific country/region in which the material was produced because of energy source and environmental regulation differences. This is critical for a valid LCA analysis. Where databases have not yet been developed, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) from the producer or industry association can often provide the necessary information. Stainless steel is in these databases and many producers have EPDs.
Proving its Long-term Mettle: Longevity, whole-building LCAs, and stainless steel,The Construction Specifier, provides more information on available resources, examples of stainless steel use in sustainable design and documentation of the material’s durability.
As resources become more developed, Whole Building LCA will become a regular part of sustainable design but, at this point, it is still optional in The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the most recent versions of the three widely used voluntary rating systems – US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Star, and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).
Determining Material Replacement Frequency
Material service life prediction is necessary for LCA. This may seem challenging but site assessment tools and comparative long-term corrosion testing data for metals are available. Here are a few resources to assist with that process:
Design & Selection Criteria
Comparative Metal Corrosion Data
Capabilities & Limitations of Architectural Metals