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eTool Brings Whole of Building LCA to Brazil

Adding to the mix of a great and festive culture, strong and growing economy, and abundance in natural resources, Brazil will now have access to eTool services and eTool LCD software to conduct whole of building Life Cycle Analysis. This exciting announcement is part of eTool’s global collaboration in building design and is an opportunity to provide Life Cycle Analysis services to a nation that is not only in continuous and fast development, but can also act as a showcase to the world for sustainable development.

“LCA is a fundamental concept in designing for sustainability and I’m excited to help eTool develop new projects in Brazil. When I came to live in Australia, one of my main goals was to take something back that would enhance the quality of life for people and also guarantee development in balance with nature, and that’s exactly what eTool is about”, said Henrique Mendonça. Henrique has worked for over 2 year as a Life Cycle Engineer at eTool and is now the Business Development Facilitator for Brazil.

Brazil is the 7th largest economy with over 200 million people. Rapid economic development has pushed millions of people from a low socioeconomic status ,up to middle class, which has increased the demand for basic infrastructure such as electricity and transportation as well as the services desired for this higher income population. Brazil’s infrastructure by necessity is going through some major overhauls such as ports, airports, roads, railways and energy systems. Worldwide demand for natural resources and food push Brazil’s national contribution to global warming in an upward trend due to fossil fuel emissions as well as deforestation and land degradation.

Strained resources and the rising demand for development provide opportunities for product manufacturers, designers, consultants, builders and developers to embrace the concept of LCA as part of intelligent building design. Certification standards on building environmental performance such as LEED, AQUA, PROCEL EDIFICA, and others, all include LCA as part of the design process, which is further indicative of the global trend towards LCA as a standard methodology for good building design. Research and development is also moving forward with academic partnerships in Brazil working on developing local life cycle inventories, and looking at the design and use of supporting tools.

“I believe education is a major goal for the LCA industry in Brazil at the moment. In order to support that, eTool is creating local case studies and producing relevant content, providing technical support to designers though webinars and creating local partnerships to spread the concept of life cycle design. There is a lot of expertise in LCA developed by eTool in Australia that will be applicable to Brazil, as international standards that eTool comply with (ISO 14040 and EN 15978) are guiding the future of LCA worldwide”, says Henrique, after meeting with industry professionals during his visit in Brazil early this year.

‘Think global and act local’ is a well-known statement in our society, and eTool is proud to be on the journey towards not just thinking globally, but acting globally. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you news from the tropical lands of Brazil and our other global collaborations.

 

Expo GBC 2014Henrique with his parents at the GBCB Green Building Conference in Brazil.

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Wrap-Up: “Who is afraid of a low carbon economy?”

Where would you find a presentation containing the following:

  • electric autonomous vehicles
  • pumping sewage out to fertilise farm land
  • timber buildings
  • cannibalism
  • and
  • paperless offices ?

At an eTool CSI talk of course! But what do they all have in common?

They were all strategies (some definitely tongue in cheek) to help move us to a low carbon economy.

It was a great show with (as you can see) plenty of super diverse conversations and ideas bouncing around the room. Interestingly, while technology was the focus the conversation naturally moved towards the social motivators.

We decided to run the session because we felt that there was a lot of fear pushed around by self interested organisations to make everyone scared of a low carbon economy. We wanted to show that it was easy.

While the some of the above strategies were pushing the boundaries, Rich, Pat and I each presented some basic concepts that would transition the entire economy to something close to sustainable.

Rich covered Transport and Waste. With transport, the solutions lay in increasing fuel efficiency, EVs, Bio fuels, appropriate sized vehicles, shift of freight to rail and improved logistics, autonomous vehicles, public transport and bikes, reduced transport needs through service based economy, and cool ideas like kite-powered shipping. With waste, it was ensuring organics don’t go into landfill with some of it going to fertiliser and some to energy, while using waste water to create methane and fertilising farm land.

Pat covered Industry with fuel replacement, recycling, alternative materials and reduced consumption being part of the mix.

I covered Land Use and Agriculture which were both pretty closely tied with most of the impacts from land use coming from agriculture. The solutions lay in shifting diets, reducing waste, changing farming models, converting inefficient food production to timber production, and going paperless.

You might ask “what about buildings?”. Well, eTool works on this every day of the week and if you follow what we do you’ll realise this is pretty much done and dusted. That said, if you want to know how to get a zero carbon building please get in contact with us.

The conversation that followed was fantastic and it looks like we will be running a similar session in the future so stay tuned…

– Al

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Green Stars for LCA in Perth

Cundall and eToolLCD blaze a green trail of LCA while achieving 5 Star Green Star ratings for buildings in Kings Square

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Over the past nine months, eTool has worked closely with progressive ESD consultants Cundall, to provide Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of four large commercial buildings in Kings Square.

Strategically located within the $5.2 billion Perth City Link precinct, the project is part of one of Australia’s most significant CBD urban renewal developments.

Leading Australian group Leighton Property, set 5 Star Green Star requirements for all four of their current projects in Kings Square. With construction now underway, builders John Holland, Broad Construction and Probuild are working to achieve these targets.

Recently, Cundall successfully guided Kings Square One (KS1) to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating. The design was awarded a total of 70 points, five of which were awarded upon completion of the LCA as part of the “Material Impacts Credit” for the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star.

KS1 Project Manager Woody Forte, said achieving this first stage is a great outcome by the KS1 team and the project, and is a crucial point of difference in a competitive market for building owners and tenants alike.

“We worked collaboratively with our ESD consultant Cundall and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) experts eTool, to identify and incorporate in the design the most cost effective ESD features to deliver the 5 Star Green Star rating, whilst also ensuring alignment with the project deliverables was maintained,” said Woody.

Cundall was quick to incorporate the newly added LCA Green Star credits and engaged eTool to conduct the LCAs for the Kings Square developments.

“LCA was a logical inclusion for all of the projects and has made it easy to get a full understanding of the environmental performance of the design. eTool is paving the way for the next era in sustainable development with their innovative eToolLCD software. Their vision and approach means they fit in seamlessly with the project team and ensure that we keep up to speed with global advancements in ESD,” Cundall’s Senior Consultant, Oliver Grimaldi said.

eTool’s Business Development Director, Alex Bruce said, “Incorporating eToolLCD in all four projects in Kings Square as well as a number of other large Perth developments has clearly demonstrated to the industry that LCA is now a standard part of good design practice.”

“No other single product or service in the Green Star space can offer more value to improving your building’s environmental performance and rating,” Mr Bruce said.

As part of the requirements for the “Material Life Cycle Impacts” credit in Green Star, the LCA needed to be compliant with EN15978 (whole of building LCA) and ISO14044. While the Kings Square projects were some of the first in Australia to meet this standard, there are many poised to follow as the global demand for LCA continues to soar.

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Please note: High resolution images and interviews are available on request.

 

Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Manager
08 9467 1664
portia@etool.net.au
www.etool.net.au

 

Notes for Editors

“Materials Lifecycle Impact” Credit

In 2013, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released a draft “Materials Lifecycle Impact” credit, which made up to 8 points available for the conduction of a life cycle assessment of a building. Visit the eTool blog for more information.

 

IMPACT

IMPACT is a method and materials database for the implementation of building LCA and life cycle costing into building information modelling tools (BIM). For more information seewww.IMPACTwba.com.


LCA

Life Cycle Assessment is the study of environmental impacts that occur due to a products life including raw material extraction, transport, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and repair, demolition and waste processing, reuse and recycling.

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Wrap-Up: “Is there such thing as a sustainable building?”

Is there such thing as a sustainable building?

While it’s something that we are all striving for, are we able to define exactly what a “sustainable building” is? Is “sustainable” even the right word? Is it even possible to achieve? Is it something that we will ever agree on? And do we even need to agree to get a good outcome?

Alex Bruce facilitated this interesting conversation at one of our Cool. Smart. Innovative. sessions earlier this year. To guide the process, he broke it into sections:

1) What does sustainability mean?

To Alex’s surprise, everyone agreed on the definition of what sustainability meant: “a good quality of life for everything on the planet without compromising the ability for future generations to enjoy the same quality of life”. It’s interesting that everyone agreed on this point because it proves there has been a paradigm shift from the previous definitely of sustainable development which focused on only human quality of life, rather than the whole planet. Sustainability used to also be discussed as just “sustaining” or surviving, but now there seems to be agreement that it’s about prosperity.

2) Breaking sustainability into categories

This was a bit more difficult to narrow down but a consensus was reached that environment/ecosystem was most important as without it, we don’t have a society or economy.

3) Challenges & Solutions

It was discussed that in order to best achieve sustainable buildings, we need to put quantifiable targets of budgets around the things that can be quantified (carbon, water usage, etc.) One of the ways in which to do this, is to conduct a life cycle assessment. It was noted by the group that one of the biggest challenges to achieving sustainability on a personal level was the courage required to remove yourself from the social norm and stop consuming the things we are told we need to consume to be happy.

It was a fantastic night with great input by everyone. Thanks to all of you who participated.

If you missed this session but would like to stay informed or attend our next talk, sign up to our newsletter.