Promoting sustainability

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The UWME Design for Environment Lab promotes Sustainability and Design for Environment (DFE) through the advancement of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Industrial Ecology (IE).

Life Cycle Assessment Data

Accessibility to LCA data, e.g., for Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), is improving in large part due to national database development efforts.

USDA LCA Digital Commons

Open source data, like that in the USDA LCA Digital Commons, promise more transparency for LCAs. Features include data parameterization and extended meta data.

Design for Environment Courses

In ME515 Life Cycle Assessment, Beren Landaas Wells McKay presented this photo as part of his LCA of photography.  Visit the "Salmon Waves" sculpture at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

themed object

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington


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UWDFE Lab LCA tools


beta UWDFE Lab Excel to ILCD File Generator

DOWNLOAD the beta UWDFE Lab Excel to ILCD File Generator (for PC's only)

By adding the raw data and equations used to estimate process inputs and outputs as well as related meta data, this MS excel workbook will generate 1 dataset represented by xml files in 4 subfolders:

  1. the contacts folder will have 1 xml file for the data generator and 1 for the data reviewer

  2. the flows folder will have an xml file for each quantified flow on the exchange data worksheet  

  3. the processes folder will have 1 xml file

  4. the sources folder will have an xml file for each of the source documents described in the meta data


  • Meta data fields comply with the submission guidelines for the USDA LCA Digital Commons.

  • All exchanges on the Exchange worksheet MUST be included on the Exchange Library worksheet.  You may use those already listed in the library or add new ones.  Those already listed are from OpenLCA, ecoinvent 2.2, and the USDA LCA Digital Commons AND if you are an OpenLCA user, if you import the ecoinvent 2.2 and/or the USDA LCA Digital Commons v1.1 field crop databases into OpenLCA, and if you use the related exchanges in the Exchange Library, your OpenLCA inventory should link up.

  • You can add as many worksheets to the workbook as you like (the "Example data" worksheet is intended to be an example of such an addition).   Then, fill in the white cells on the Exchange data, Parameters, and Meta data worksheets as needed, add any new exchanges to the Exchange Library, create a folder on your PC's C drive called UWDFE_ILCD_FILES, hit the "Generate ILCD files" button, and you will have your ILCD files. 

  • You can run the generator multiple times (to represent multiple unit processes).  When you are done, zip the UWDFE_ILCD_FILES folder and import it into OpenLCA.

alpha UWDFE Lab agricultural equipment ILCD file generator

Available upon request to

Based on the documentation and supporting data developed for the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) NONROAD2008a model, this tool generates unit process datasets that represent gate-to-gate operations for the production of work (in MJ) by gasoline (2 and 4-stroke), diesel, LPG, and CNG agricultural self-propelled equipment.  The tool allows the user to specify:

  • the location of operation within the US,

  • the operating year (1996-2020),

  • the model year (1964-2020),

  • the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP),

  • the fuel sulfur and ethanol fractions, and

  • the operating temperatures (for gasoline equipment)

for 242 types of self-propelled equipment datasets organized into 19 types of fleets:

  1. 2-Wheel Tractors

  2. Agricultural Mowers

  3. Agricultural Tractors

  4. Balers

  5. Combines

  6. Cotton Module Builders

  7. Cotton Pickers

  8. Cotton Strippers

  9. Dumpers/Tenders

  10. Forage Harvesters

  11. Generator Sets

  12. Irrigation Sets

  13. Other Agricultural Equipment

  14. Pumps

  15. Skid Steer Loaders

  16. Sprayers

  17. Swathers

  18. Tillers

  19. Tractors/loaders/backhoes

Note that although the overall framework for the development of this tool has been peer reviewed, as of November 2013 the alpha version of the tool has not.  However, the data compare very well with NONROAD software outputs tested using select equipment operating in 2013.  A fully peer reviewed beta version will be available early in 2014. 

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