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About the Model

This site allows you to estimate the overall environmental impacts from producing a certain dollar amount of any of 500 commodities or services in the United States. It will provide rough guidance on the relative impacts of different types of products, materials, services, or industries with respect to resource use and emissions throughout the U.S.

The entire supply chain of requirements is included, so that the effects of producing a $20,000 car would include not only the impacts of final assembly, but also the impact from mining of metals, making electronic parts, forming windows, etc. that are needed for parts to build the car. This analysis is a form of life cycle assessment based upon an economic input output model of the United States, publicly available data and linear algebra calculation methods.

The impact model is linear, so the effects of a $20,000 car purchase would be double that of a $10,000 motor vehicle. Remember that this data is only for production, so impacts of gasoline use and maintenance need to be evaluated separately with EIO-LCA. Environmental impacts include energy use, air pollutants, hazardous wastes, toxics emissions and dollar estimates of external air pollution costs. See the methods page for more information.

To make an estimate, you must first browse or search for one of 500 manufacturing or service sectors in the economy modeled by EIO-LCA. It may help to describe a particular process (i.e. oiled, gravure, laminated, etc.), or item (i.e balconies, acetone, cabinets, skewers, etc.) when using keyword searches.

We have compiled additional information about the model related to:

In fact, by starting the easy steps below, you can walk through a tutorial on how to use the website. If you're already well versed in using it, you can just click the Use the Model link above to skip the tutorial and get back to work.

The tutorial gives instructions and examples on how to use the EIO-LCA.net tool. You will provide inputs, manipulate the display of the results, and interpret the results. The instructions use an example of increasing economic activity in the "Automobile and light truck manufacturing" sector by $1 million. For information on the methodology behind the eiolca.net tool, the math, and interpreting the data, see the background information.

Click here to start the tutorial.

Over Time, EIO-LCA has been created and improved by a large team of researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • H. Scott Matthews
  • Jim Garrett
  • Arpad Horvath
  • Chris Hendrickson
  • Matt Legowski
  • Mark Sin
  • Jon Mayes
  • Harn Hua Ng
  • Kevin McCloskey
  • Rob Ready
  • Jeff Knupp
  • Vanessa Hodge
  • Amanda Rehr
  • Joe O'Hallaron
  • David Todd