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Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment for Surface Engineers

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About this course

Sustainability and environmental impacts are becoming more of a concern in engineering. Our processes for producing technology practically all have unwanted emissions to the air, soil and water, whether they happen directly in the production phase, upstream in raw materials extraction, or downstream during the use phase and end of life.

Surface Engineering has the potential to greatly improve the use phase performance of technologies by increasing efficiency. But what about it's impacts?

If you want to know...

  • What are the main environmental impacts associated with my surface engineering process?
  • How can I improve my surface engineering process to lower its impact on the environment? Where can we improve?
  • Is my surface engineering process more environmentally friendly than competitors? How does my process compare with the baseline?
  • Will using my surface engineering process be environmentally beneficial for a certain application?

... then you need a robust method to quantify the environmental impacts...

👉 and LCA is your best option!

What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

Life cycle assessment is a method to quantify all the potential environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product or service’s life from-cradle-to-grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal.

LCA Diagram

In an effort to bring awareness towards the life cycle impacts in surface engineering, the GreenSEAM network teamed up with the CIRAIG to produce a 3 hour online course to teach the basics of life cycle assessment. The course is specifically designed for surface engineers. All the examples provided are of case studies in this field.

This course will:

  • Introduce you to life cycle thinking
  • Give you a general understanding of the the key concepts in LCA
  • Provide examples specific to materials and surface engineering
  • Help you to start an LCA of your project
  • Allow you to better collaborate with LCA practitioners

This course will NOT:

  • Provide technological solutions for making surface engineering environmentally friendly
  • Prepare you to do a full LCA by yourself

Course Staff

Andrea Gideon

Andrea Gideon

Course Producer

Andrea Gideon holds a masters degree from Polytechnique Montreal, where she specialized in Sustainable Innovation and Creativity. She is now the Communications Coordinator of the CIRAIG, where she focuses on online courses, web development and creative direction. See Andrea's profile here

Laure Patouillard

Laure Patouillard

Content Direction

Laure holds a PhD from Polytechnique Montreal and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at CIRAIG, in charge of the operationalization of the regionalized life cycle impact assessment method IMPACT World+.
Since August 2019, she has been appointed as the CIRAIG’s Scientific Coordinator – in charge of developing CIRAIG’s scientific research and masters and PhD students’ supervision.See Laure's profile here

Additional support for the course was provided by:

  • Simon Durham, GreenSEAM, Concordia
  • Christian Moreau, GreenSEAM, Concordia
  • Sophie Fallaha, CIRAIG, Polytechnique Montreal
  • Zeynab YousefZadeh, GreenSEAM, Concordia
  • Milad Rezvani Rad, GreenSEAM, University of Red Deer
  • Shannon Lloyd, GreenSEAM, Concordia
  • Andre Macdonald, GreenSEAM, University of Alberta
  • Mohamad Kaddoura, CIRAIG, Polytechnique Montreal
  • Flavien Binet, CIRAIG, Polytechnique Montreal
  • Elliot Muller, CIRAIG, Polytechnique Montreal

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to complete the course?

The course should take you 3 hours. It is recommended to follow the course in two to three sittings to best follow the material.

Will I be able to do an LCA by myself after taking this course?

No. The intention of this course is to expose you to the life cycle thinking philosophy and to show you the basics of the LCA methodology. You should be equipped to start your study with the help of an LCA practitioner.

If I am not a surface engineer, should I take this course?

Yes! The examples used in the course are specific to the field of surface engineering but they are simple enough for anyone to follow along and comprehend the material of the course.

Will I learn strategies to make my technology greener?

No. This course is not designed to give you technological solutions, it is designed to educate you on LCA, a practical tool you can use to evaluate whether your product is greener than an alternative scenario.

What students are saying


"The course was EXTREMELY interesting and useful. Even from the very first second, I would have started learning new useful things. It did let me think out of the box and realized that there are other aspects that are important rather than the process itself, such as cost, risk assessment, how to quantify the environmental benefits and issues, main sources of impacts, etc. The course made me think of how to implement environmental aspects to my own research project to make it as "green" as possible since I am doing coatings for composite materials. The course was so efficient and great!" - Panteha Fallah, PhD Student in Green-SEAM Network
"The examples specific to surface engineering made the course relatable and tangible. I felt like I could apply life cycle assessment to my own research." - Andre Liberati, PhD Student in Green-SEAM Network