About us

A Sustainable Partnership

For more than a decade, the Athena Institute has been helping architects, engineers and others to evaluate the environmental impacts of new and existing buildings through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)*. The Athena Institute offers the only two tools in North America for the Life Cycle Assessment of whole buildings and assemblies: the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings software, and the award winning Athena EcoCalculator for Assemblies, a free, easy to use tool derived from the Impact Estimator. These tools are industry recognized and respected systems based on a set of comprehensive, comparable databases on a wide variety of building materials, calculating energy use and related emissions to air, water and land over the life cycle of the building.

Morrison Hershfield has collaborated with the Athena Institute in the development of the version 4 of the Impact Estimator for Buildings which featured enhanced functionality and flexibility for design teams, new regions and materials, new assembly options as well as database updates. This groundbreaking LCA software offers results based on real impacts such as CO2 emissions, energy consumption and solid waste generation. Relying on real impacts allows better understanding of environmental effects than relying on imperfect measures of impact, such as recycled content or use of re-used materials.

*LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) is an internationally recognized approach to evaluating the impacts that a product or process has on the environment over the course of its entire life. It is widely accepted as one of the best ways to assess and compare the environmental impacts of alternative building materials.


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