Evaluation of Life Cycle Assessment Software for Automotive Applications 2001-01-3732
Commercially available software tools are widely used to assist in conducting life cycle inventory, life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle impact analysis (LCIA), and design for the environment (DfE) studies. Five leading software tools, Boustead 4.2, GaBi 3.2, SimaPro 4.0, TEAM 3.0, and Toolkit, currently in use or under consideration by life cycle practitioners, were selected for testing, and a detailed evaluation scheme was used to evaluate the effectiveness of these tools for practical application in automotive life cycle studies.
A consensus numerical score for each of 20 separate test criteria was assigned to each of the software packages under evaluation, and the total scores compared. On the basis of these scores, the authors chose GaBi version 3.2 as the LCA software package currently best suited for use by experienced life cycle practitioners in conducting environmental life cycle assessments in the automotive industry. This choice is based on the professional experience and judgment of the authors and should not be construed as a blanket product endorsement or criticism of other commercial products, all of which possess useful features and may be further improved and upgraded at any time.
GaBi was judged to be the best software tool, with TEAM a close second. This was due in part to the quality and suitability of their databases, frequency of updates, clarity and logic of LCA operations, and acceptance among the user community. The impact evaluation methods used in GaBi and TEAM were also sufficiently advanced and flexible for full life cycle assessment in automotive contexts. A limiting feature of all the software tools was the absence of features specifically pertaining to design for the environment (DfE) studies.