Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment

Project Description:

Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment (Structure and Enclosure) 

A Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that allows building professionals to understand environmental impacts and energy use associated with all life stages of the building- from raw material extraction through building decommissioning. 

Project Description

The credit option in LEEDv4, Option 4: Whole building life cycle assessment, requires improving building life cycle impacts by 10% when compared to a baseline building. Demonstrating a 10%reduction in the impact categories has posed quite a challenge for the majority of project teams and has deterred them from attempting this credit. The latest iteration of LEED, version 4.1,  is encouraging project teams to consider optimal building products by awarding a credit point for conducting an LCA of the project’s structure and enclosure, regardless of the LCA’s results. This small change will allow for broader adoption of LCA considerations in new construction projects. 

3R was hired onto a project team that chose to substitute the LEED v4.1 credit option in their v4 project. Utilizing the LEED recommended LCA tool, Athena Impact Estimator.


3R consultants obtained the project’s bill of materials, identified the structure and enclosure materials and categorized each material by assembly groups to input the accurate information into Athena. A LEED compliant report was then generated and was used to influence the project team’s building material decisions. 

Project Details:

Pittsburgh, PA

System Type:
Athena Impact Estimator

105,000 gsf

October 2019


  • Whole-Building LCA