The Federal Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Commons is an inter-agency initiative to coordinate LCA research and programmatic activities to reduce duplication and increase effectiveness across government. The Federal LCA Commons has been formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Unites States Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency, to establish a working relationship to coordinate LCA data, research, and information systems. The initiative is bolstered by a number of other participating agencies, which are not signatories to the MOU. Participants each invest Federal funding in support of their mission, programs, and stakeholders. The formal relationship will serve to coordinate Federal resources, and expertise to advance the missions and programs of the Agencies.
The goals of the Federal LCA Commons (and its value to the public and the Federal government) are to:
- Advance Federal LCA data, research, and information systems by leveraging multi-Agency resources and expertise,
- Improve consistency in LCA methods developed by each Agency to develop LCA results for decision-making and public disclosure, and
- Enhance public and Agency access to Federal LCI data in a standardized searchable format from a common repository.
Operationally, the Federal LCA Commons is an interagency Community of Practice for LCA research methods and modeling conventions supported by a web platform to enable data set sharing and public access. This community of practice will collaborate to share expertise and methods to move toward common Federal modeling conventions and make Federal data sets freely available to the community of practice and the public through a web-based data repository.
The Federal LCA Commons data platform is the openLCA Collaboration Server application, which provides access to Federal and industry data repositories. The Federal LCA Commons is not a linked database with a common set of flows and processes, but rather a collection of repositories, which users can download as JSON-LD, ILCD, or fetch directly into their local openLCA desktop application.