Online Courses

open learning with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

The CIRAIG has created several Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to share life cycle assessment in an open learning environment. 

a collaboration between EPFL, Polytechnique and the CIRAIG



Looking to learn about life cycle thinking and systems thinking? Interested in learning how to calculate and interpret the environmental footprint of a product, service or technology?

This course is an introduction to life cycle assessment. You will learn the principles and concepts necessary to describe a value chain from cradle to grave, calculate an inventory of emissions and resource consumption, translate it into impact indicators and scale it to a functional unit according to the principles of ISO 14044 and international best practices.

This course was developed by the International Reference Center for Life Cycle Assessment (CIRAIG) in collaboration with the IPESE laboratory. It represents a collaborative effort between EPFL and Polytechnique universities.

With this course you will learn to:

  • Consider the principles of a life cycle perspective
  • Define the objectives of an LCA and lay the foundation for analyzing a product system
  • Conduct an emissions and resource consumption inventory
  • Describe the analytical framework for environmental impact assessment
  • Interpret and compare the results of an environmental footprint profile

Course production team

a collaboration between GreenSEAM, Concordia, Polytechnique and the CIRAIG


Course description

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!
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 production team