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UCSB Energy & GHG Model

Steel Industry Provides Improved Tools to Contribute to Sustainable Automotive Industry

Using the UCSB Automotive Energy & GHG Model

WorldAutoSteel has released Version 5.0 of the UCSB Automotive Energy & GHG Model (“UCSB Model”). The model, developed by the University of California at Santa Barbara, helps users to analyze the environmental impact of new vehicle design using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This helps automakers evaluate emission savings over the full life cycle of a vehicle, and is part of the steel sector’s contribution to a sustainable and competitive automotive industry. With this update, the UCSB Model provides full vehicle LCA capabilities.

Life cycle assessment experts (LCA) and automotive engineers interested in the full life cycle of a vehicle can download Version 5.0 of the UCSB Model free-of-charge from this page (see right).

“An LCA assists automakers in evaluating and reducing the total energy consumed and the lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their products,” said Russ Balzer, Technical Director at WorldAutoSteel.  “The UCSB Model looks specifically at material substitution, but its data and parameters capture around 99 percent of the energy and GHG impacts of the studied automotive material substitutions.”  The model enables evaluation of the differences in impact between alternative material vehicles of equivalent size, utility, equipment, and powertrain configuration.  It reports Global Warming Potential (GWP) and total and fossil energy requirements per vehicle grouped by three life cycle phases: Production, Use, and End-of-Life.

Version 5.0 model improvements were developed under the leadership of Dr. Roland Geyer of the University of California’s Bren School for Environmental Science and Management.  This model builds on the same peer-reviewed methodology from UCSB’s earlier model versions.

LCA is being used widely in automotive on a voluntary basis to evaluate vehicle environmental impacts.  It also is used in many other product sectors: in national legislation (biofuels US+CH), packaging (NED), and industry standards (EU eco-labelling of products, energy performance of buildings).

The Version 5 model is fully parameterized and retains its Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format, making it user-friendly and portable. Users get a free download of the model and user guide for use in conducting their own evaluations.

For users that want to look beyond energy and GWP impacts, the UCSB Model interacts with autoLCA™, which provides a connection between the UCSB model and thinkstep’s GaBi full Life Cycle Inventory database.  This connection to the GaBi database allows autoLCA™ to report full LCA results using both the TRACI 2.1 and ILCD/PEF recommended impact assessment tools.  Users must have the proper leasing agreements to use GaBi in order to take advantage of autoLCATM’s integration with the UCSB Model.

Download the UCSB Model and User Guide by clicking the Related Documents link above right.  In the video following, Russ Balzer, WorldAutoSteel’s Technical Director, explains the contents and functionality.  Questions?  Email us at

UCSB Model – How it works! from worldautosteel on Vimeo.

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