GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Life cycle analysis (LCA) software packages were the subject of a new report commissioned by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA). According to the study, though (LCA) software packages can be a useful means for supporting sustainable products, differences that may arise between LCAs carried out by various companies should be taken into account by the user.

The study, conducted by an independent, third party, says that variability in a single product could be noteworthy based on variables used by the practitioner, which suggests that comparing products from assorted manufacturers is not advised.

The report states that “raw material production and the energy used to manufacture a product play a role in its environmental impact, as do other factors such as its transportation to market, how it interacts with its environment while in use, and how the product will be disposed of at end of life.”

“As the transparency trend gains momentum, furniture manufacturers are providing public statements of environmental information including Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs),” said Tom Reardon, executive director of BIFMA. “While the use of these documents can help users understand the environmental hotspots in a product’s lifecycle and the potential environmental impacts, users must be cautioned about comparing the results for products.”

BIFMA says that the study provides the association the chance to inform members and their customers about the possible differences in results and push for improving data and evaluation methods. 

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