Life Cycle Assessment in Earthster

LCA methodology, available impact methods and databases

Updated over a week ago

The most important concept in LCA is that of Life Cycle. To get an understanding of the impact of a product, we must look at the complete picture, and follow it from the early beginning (when its materials are extracted), through manufacturing, distribution, use and end of life.

Basically, we need to account for every impact in nature, because of the existence of that product or service. To do that, we build a model of the product's life cycle. And we break it down in smaller pieces. And we find information from those smaller pieces.

In this section, you will be able to read about how we apply Life Cycle Assessment in our calculations.

The science of Life Cycle Assessment

Life cycle assessment or LCA (also known as life cycle analysis) is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life cycle of a commercial product, process, or service. Read more about Life-cycle assessment on Wikipedia.

Functional unit in Earthster

In Life Cycle Assessment, the functional unit is the output(s) of the life cycle and how they are defined. The function is delivered by the life cycle, and most of the time by the use phase. The purpose of the functional unit is to make things comparable.

Earthster lets you define multiple analogous units for a given cycle. That means that you define different ways of measuring the output of your cycle.

  • Production units

    The simplest functional unit is just how many products you are measuring the impact of.

  • Functional units

    Functional units measure the functional output of the cycle. They measure the benefits delivered by the product, in a way that will make the results comparable.

Life Cycle Assessment literature often conflates all of the terms above (production unit and functional unit) into the term "functional unit". You can still use that naming, but we encourage you to take a functional approach (the intent behind ISO defining functional units) in those.

Impact methods

Earthster's standard subscription plans come with 5 impact categories from the impact method called ReCiPe 2016 from RIVM in its hierarchist perspective.

The 5 main impact categories (ReCiPe 2016 Endpoint/H) available to every user

Impact category


Climate change

kg CO2eq

Damage to ecosystems


Damage to human health


Damage to resource availability


Water use


Other available impact methods and their categories

With a full Ecoinvent license you can view additional impact categories in the same interactive way as the main 5 impact categories. Contact us for exporting your results in a specific category.

Available databases

In Earthster you have automatically access to the latest versions of available databases. Cycles with older versions can be easily updated in the Data sources drawer.

  • Ecoinvent version 3.10

  • USEEIO version 2.1

    • Available scale units for the datasets:

      • USD2012 (seller)

      • USD2012 (buyer)

      • USD (seller) -> This year's USD value

      • USD (buyer)s -> This year's USD value

    • Conversion rate from USD2012 to USD: 1.302

  • NETL

LCA methodology and ISO standard

Our LCA methodology allows users to follow the ISO 14044 standard.

You can model any product, service or activity through cycles, which represent the whole life cycle of a product. The results can be downloaded as a json or csv file.

Earthster allows modeling LCAs with multiple production and functional units which allows better comparability and following any PCR requirements. LCAs created with Earthster can be utilised for any type of reporting and environmental declaration , including EPD purposes.

With a full Ecoinvent license users can download the datasets required for PEF.

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