0 votes

Hi, I've just started out with performing LCAs and I'm using OpenLCA. I followed the PET vs PC bottle tutorial but I used the Environmental Footprints (EF) database. I completed the tutorial but there's a few things I am still a bit confused about:

  • I suppose my first question before I get into the specifics of the tutorial is about picking a database. I chose the EF database because it looked credible and the description on nexus seemed to fit my aims. Both ELCD and EF seem to be produced by the EU however, I saw that ELCD is now no longer supported. Is EF the more modern database that I should be using or is there a reason I would pick ELCD over EF?
  • When selecting my flows, how do I know which flow to pick when there are so many similarly named? The bottle tutorial asks for water. When searching flows for water, so many different ones appear. I eventually went for one called 'Tap water_technology mix_at user_EU-28+3_S'.
  • Some of my results vary (to be expected), but some just seem strange. The tutorial says the the lorry transport should be the biggest factor on Selenium emissions to fresh water but this does not show up when using EF database (Using both EML-IA or EF method). Are small discrepancies like this to be expected?
  • Following on from selecting a method, is there a way to know what methods are compatible with a database? I couldn't find anything about this in the documentation for EF.

I'm sorry if there's a lot of different points there to talk about, I did not want to clog up the forum with that might be beginner questions! Thank you for any support

Kind regards,


in openLCA by (190 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
by (94.9k points)
selected by
Best answer
Hi Andrew,

the PEF database is meant to be used for Environmental Footprint studies (and strictly speaking, the free version must not be used in other contexts).

Picking the flow: true, this is somehow your job as a modeler (similar as building a house: there are many possibilities to choose windows). Typically you will use tap water though, and a market and region mix is good if you do not have more specific information.

With different databases you will of course get different results, often though, the pattern somehow remains the same.

Last bullet: Currently not directly, but the PEF database fits to the PEF method pack; we are working on a more direct solution currently.

Best wishes,