Cost of LCA

The level of detail that is required in a life-cycle assessment depends a lot on the context of the study. You may just want a first impression of what the environmental profile of your product looks like, and find first answers to questions such as:
- how much embodied energy is there in the materials you use with respect to the energy you use on site?
- are any significant impacts to be expected for the use phase or post-consumer waste treatment?
- what might be the first steps toward improving the profile?
Benchmarking your product to the typical industry average is another goal you may have.

On the other hand, you may already know quite a lot about your product's life cycle and you want to compare a range of suppliers for a certain material you use, to see which one would provide you with the necessary inputs against lowest embodied impacts. You may want to compare it to a competing product. If you are a peak body, you may commission a study to compare a significant product group in your sector with competing products, e.g. glass bottles versus metal cans, and make the results publicly available for lobbying purposes. In all these cases, more detailed data and assessments are needed.

The range of costs reflected by these different situations is easily a factor of 10. So, yes, some LCA studies will cost well over A$ 50,000, but addressing your specific questions may cost as little as A$ 6,000 . From ten years of industry experience, we are confident that most LCA studies can be done for well under A$ 20,000.

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