Sustainable Engineering

Life LCA: Life cycle assessment of a person

Project description

Private consumption is responsible for around 72% of global carbon emissions. Changes in lifestyle (especially of people in industrialized countries) can therefore make a significant contribution to sustainable development.

There are already various approaches that are intended to analyze the environmental impact of individuals and / or encourage a more sustainable way of life, including footprint calculators, regional studies (e.g. on Germany) or apps. However, these approaches often only consider one environmental impact or only certain stages of life, and are therefore often too unspecific to reflect individual consumer behavior.

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) offers an opportunity to analyze a large number of environmental impacts along the entire life cycle. Originally focused only on products and processes, there is now a specific LCA method for use on individuals. Such a life cycle assessment, or “Life LCA”, can increase environmental awareness by making individually caused environmental damage measurable and contribute to more sustainable consumption by showing optimization and reduction potentials.

The idea of the Life LCA was first pursued after entrepreneur Dr. Dirk Gratzel asked the TU Berlin whether it was possible to quantify the environmental damage caused by him over the course of his life and to suggest measures to reduce and compensate for it. TU Berlin carried out a pilot project with him and calculated his life cycle assessment.

The specific goals of the Chair of Sustainable Engineering are:

  • Life cycle assessment of a person
  • Compensation of the remaining environmental pollution of a person

Duration: 2017– open

Project partner:

  • Dirk Gratzel (entrepreneur)
  • TU Berlin

subjects: Sustainable consumption, life cycle assessment, compensation, resource efficiency

More information:
More details on the methodology available here:
Life LCA: assessing the environmental impacts of a person — challenges and perspectives

See Data and tools for further information on data collection

Website of the project partner

Public contributions on the topic:

Washington Times

Zeitfenster Aachen - talk by Dirk Gratzel

M. Sc. David Bossek
Room Z 202
Phone +49 (0) 30 314-29062
E-mail david.bossek(at)