Software as a bridge between theory and practice in life cycle assessment
Three mutually dependent elements are required for the application of life cycle assessment: methodology, data and software. Obviously, the design of software is determined by the methodology and the type of data available. Conversely, the development of software dictates the way in which data should be collected and recorded, and improves the theoretical framework, as it forces one to state the principles clearly and unambiguously. The influence of the development of software on both data and methodology is addressed and illustrated by examples, with reference to two key terms: transparency and explicitness. Three types of influence are distinguished: the design of a protocol, the formulation in terms of recipes, and the presentation of data.