A free online service will help manufacturers quickly assess their products’ carbon output, allowing them to take steps to greener goods.

Called the LCA Calculator, the service provides a complete product life cycle assessment. It evaluates issues such as types and amounts of material used in production, location of manufacture, materials processing, energy consumption of the product, where and how it is transported, and its final disposition.

The service was developed by Industrial Design Consultancy following the results of a survey of designers and engineers working in product development. The survey revealed that half of companies interviewed admitted that the environmental impact of a product was not currently a major design consideration, but 82 percent believed it would be in the future. Although 61 percent indicated awareness of life cycle assessment as a process to calculate a product’s carbon footprint, only 29 percent believed their company had every carried one out during design.

The calculator provides a detailed report with recommendations for improvement. It is available at www.lcacalculator.com.