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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

Whole Life Cycle Analysis, or sometimes referred in literature to as Whole Life Cycle Cost, is an analysis of the impact, systems, processes, or services have on environmental, economic and social domains from cradle to grave. The aim of this module is to introduce the student to the concept of life cycle thinking, and to equip the student with the appropriate skills and understanding to conduct Whole Life Cycle Costing (WLCC) of engineering systems, processes, and services. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (E-LCA), economic Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), and Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) represent the three pillars of WLCC and encapsulate the relevant aspects of environmental, economic, and social impacts of system investment and operation. This module also provides an understanding of the responsibilities of the engineering profession towards people and the environment.

Learning Outcomes

1. Assess the environmental impact of engineering systems, products, and services within the framework of the LCA methodology as per the ISO 14040 series of standards
2. Select appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for benchmarking applications in WLCC
3. Develop bespoke system models with LCA software for analysis and optimization of a system’s environmental profile
4. Evaluate economic ‘hotspots’ in a system through LCCA and propose recommendations on change actions
5. Interpret qualitative S-LCA data and evaluate the associated location-specific social standards as they relate to a system supply chain and network
6. Compile comparative WLCC analyses of competing systems and products for relevant stakeholders

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Course Material & Discussion
Independent Study139.5Study and Assignment
Tutorial24This workload is a combination of LCA software labs and tutorial sessions.
Total Workload: 187.5

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to Whole Life Cycle Analysis
History and development; principles and context; environmental assessment tools; applications; life cycle software and databases; stakeholder and commissioner engagement.

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
ISO 14000 series of standards; assessment type selection; goal and scope definition; functional unit selection; boundary definition and avoided products; life cycle inventory analysis; classification and characterisation; normalisation; impact assessment; interpretation; sensitivity and scenario analyses.

Economic Life Cycle Cost Analysis
Capital expenditure estimation; construction cost indices; temporal and locational normalisation; operation and maintenance calculations; net present value; discount rates; technical and economic lifetimes; return on investment; sensitivity analysis.

Social Life Cycle Assessment
Supply chain tracking; cultural heritage; human rights; occupational risk; governance; local community; socio-economic repercussions.

Energy and Water
LCA of primary, intermediate and end-use energy conversion; wastewater treatment; water distribution; electrical grid-mix; sludge treatment; water conservation and reuse.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Farr, J. V., & Faber, I.: 2018, Engineering Economics of Life Cycle Cost Analysis., CRC Press,
  • Dhillon, B. S.: 2009, Life Cycle Costing for Engineers, CRC Press, US,
  • Horne, R., Grant, T., & Verghese, K: 2009, Life cycle assessment: principles, practice, and prospects, Csiro,
  • Boussabaine, A., & Kirkham, R: 2008, Whole life-cycle costing: risk and risk responses, John Wiley & Sons,
  • Tillman, A. M., & Baumann, H.: 2004, The Hitchhikers guide to LCA, Sweden,
Other Resources

50126, Handbook, Guinée, J. B., & Lindeijer, E., 2002, Handbook on life cycle assessment: operational guide to the ISO standards, Csiro,
Programme or List of Programmes