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[Wrap-up] Selling Sustainability: The Missing Link

Well what a show!

It was standing room only at Spacecubed for our “Selling Sustainability” show for a subject that definitely sparked the interest of a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds and organisations. The three guest speakers didn’t disappoint with rapid five-minute spiels with equal measure of entertainment, insight and inspiration. The crowd joined in nicely with plenty of excited and animated discussion that followed.

Adam from Tinderbox kicked it off by highlighting the importance of telling a story in your marketing and branding. The story needs to be tailored to the archetypes of your audienceand again really understands what makes them tick. He made a fantastic point that people don’t buy Apple products because they are cheap, they buy them because they are sold on the story behind the brand.

Once you’ve got someone looking at your product, it’s time to listen to their needs, concerns, desires, and “hot buttons”. Diagnose them like a doctor and then provide the right solution – your product. One of many awesome analogies that Sven from Psaros unleashed during the night. Just like in marketing to sell well, you need to get inside your audience rather than trying to convince them of your ideas.

I was definitely corrected by Sven when asking about born sales people – “You’re not born a sales person you learn it”. Sven’s advice is “go and get some training, even 20 years later, you can still learn and improve your sales technique”.

One recurring theme was that empathy held the key. As Chris, from the Forever Project, pointed out your neighbour might drive a V8 ute and have two jet ski’s in his double brick garage but he is probably a really nice guy too. With a few conversations you may end up sneaking a few native plants into his sprawling green grass and start something big…. As Chris has tested recently serving up organic food is a good way to get people interested but when the entrée is the dirt that it was grown in, suddenly you give people a powerful connection to what is important in life and what is important on this planet. Enabling people see why we do what we do is far more convincing than just telling them what we do.

A pitch from Andrew from Life Cycle Logic nailed it when he summed up “we are not selling sustainability we are selling a vision of an awesome future”.

Another really interesting topic was the use of fear. It seemed to be agreed that fear could be used effectively, but you needed to be really careful that it wasn’t mindless baseless fear that the tabloids dish up. It needs to be something grounded in reality that can assist in convincing people to make a change for the better.

I didn’t count the words, but I know passion, vision, empathy, emotion, and dreams scored an order of magnitude higher than logic. Hard for me to cop as an engineer but pretty obvious that people buy with the heart and not the head. Considering that sustainability isn’t about logical short term gains but more about that awesome vision for the future, this makes total sense.

The feedback has been fantastic and judging by the crowds engagement, note taking and solid conversation afterwards it would appear that we all got a lot out of it.

Thanks to the venue sponsor Psaros, the three fantastic speakers, Portia from eTool for managing and most of all the attendees for making it an awesome night.

We are keen to keep the conversation going so please register your interest by emailing portia@etoolglobal.com and we’ll arrange another session.

 

Brown Paper Background

eTool International Residential Benchmark (Methodology Summary)

In light of eTool’s recent exploration into global markets, we thought it prudent to create a “global” benchmark for housing developments. Before getting into the nitty gritty, it’s important to understand the purpose of the eTool benchmark, which is:

  • To establish a common measuring stick against which all projects are assessed so that any project can be comparable to another (for the same building type);
  • To create a starting point, or “average, business as usual case” from which to measure improvements.

Benchmark Form and Structure

The benchmark has been created to represent an average dwelling built in a developed country, the statistics for a range of developed countries have been population weighted and combined into a single theoretical average dwelling.

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The statistics used in the benchmark are based on data obtained for each country. The construction type and dwelling size statistics take new build data wherever available, as this data is generally reliable and represents a picture of the way buildings are currently being built across the developed world. For residential buildings there is a mix of houses and apartments. This is the latest breakdown of the new dwellings density mix across the countries considered in 2010:

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For the single dwelling element (59% of our average dwelling) a building structure has been modelled taking a cross section of commonly used construction techniques. In this instance, the data was obtained for U.S.A.  The U.S.A makes up the largest proportion of new housing in the developed world and is considered to represent a fair “average house.”  Construction techniques are unlikely to differ significantly enough to impact on the overall modelling, whilst brick houses may be more common in the U.K. and Germany, timber framing is far more prevalent in Japan and Sweden.

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A similar approach was taken with windows, internal walls, floors and roofs. The vast majority of those installed in new builds across America and Europe are double glazed and allowances have also been made for the smaller proportions of other window framing options currently in common use.

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For the multi-family dwellings, a standard concrete frame structure has been taken with one level of car parking and typical auxiliary and common layouts, such that the apartment living area represents approximately 50% of the total floor area of the building.  The total impacts of this building have been weighted on a per m2 basis and 56 m2 has been added to the model to represent the apartment element.

Benchmark Operational

Existing data has been used for operational energy, and arguably new build data would be preferable, but total existing data is generally a lot more robust (and readily available). Whilst new build energy figures were available for some countries, the figures tend to be from modelling completed for regulatory purposes and are therefore theoretical. In many countries there is a perceived “performance gap” between modelling results and actual consumption mainly due to differences in occupant behaviour, but also because of limitations in software and methodologies used for the modelling. The hope is that there will be continued industry effort towards monitoring of new build housing performances. Until further data in this area is available, we have a robust snapshot of how average buildings are currently performing by taking existing housing data.

The data for total residential fuel consumption was divided by the total number of dwellings in each country analysed. This was then weighted according to population to give a final figure for the average energy consumption of a developed country dwelling.

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End-use percentage estimates were then used to determine where this energy is being used in the dwellings.  Again, U.S. data[ix] has been used to represent the average.

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Other impacts such as appliances and cabinetry and finishes have also been included by the estimated proportion of dwellings estimated to include these.

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The global average water consumption is considered fairly consistent across most developed countries with America and Australia having higher water consumption due to larger garden sizes.  A conservative nominal 169l/person/day has been assumed for water supply and treatment.

 

[i] Populations by country 2010 http://countrymeters.info/en/United_States_of_America_(USA)

[ii] Characteristics of New Housing U.S.A http://www.census.gov/construction/chars/highlights.html

[iii] Statistics Bureau Japan http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/nenkan/1431-09.htm

[iv] EU Odysee Data 2008 downloaded on 11.7.2014

[v] Australian Bureau of Statistics Average floor area of new residential dwellings 2012 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/featurearticlesbytitle/E9AC8D4A1A3D8D20CA257C61000CE8D7?OpenDocument

[vi] U.S. Energy Information Administration – Annual Energy Outlook 2014 – Energy Consumption by Sector and Source http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/#release=AEO2014&subject=0-AEO2014&table=2-AEO2014&region=1-0&cases=full2013full-d102312a,ref2014-d102413a

[vii] Odysee energy database for EU and Norway (2008) downloaded from http://www.odyssee-mure.eu/ in July 2014

[viii] Statistics Bureau Japan Chapter 10 Energy and Water http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/nenkan/1431-10.htm

[ix] U.S. Energy Information Administration Residential Sector Key Indicators and Consumption http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/#release=AEO2014&subject=0-AEO2014&table=4-AEO2014&region=0-0&cases=full2013full-d102312a,ref2014-d102413a

 

 

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How We Are Making LCA Available to Anyone, Anywhere

We’ve just done something huge. We have just dramatically reduced the cost of using the world’s leading web-based Life Cycle Design (LCD) tool for the built form…while at the same time increased it’s functionality.

Why, you ask?

To put it simply: We love the planet and we love problem solving.

Our number one goal for eTool is to solve a big problem: too much CO2e in buildings and infrastructure. Our aim of integrating LCD into as many built form projects as possible, provides a solution. We’ve already saved over 450,000 tonnes of CO2e from going into the atmosphere, and we always want to see that number rise. Making eToolLCD even more accessible in every sense, is another massive step on the path towards achieving our ultimate goal.

We’re biased but we can see the day when LCD is just a standard part of good design. While growing rapidly, it’s still a niche market and would probably favour a higher cost/lower volume product… but we are in it for the long haul. We want everyone to realise the benefits of integrating LCD into your projects today, without financial, geographical or even knowledge barriers. We provide tons of free resources on our website for anyone to teach themselves how to utilise LCD principles and our training has become probably the most affordable on the market, all without compromising quality or detail.

Now, there is no excuse. Even if you’re unsure about using eToolLCD or even if you just want to learn what it’s about, we offer free “Intro to Life Cycle Design of the Built Form” webinars and comprehensive training comes with our range of  software subscriptions (starting as low as only $10/month!). So, even if you can’t see yourself as a specialist software user, sign up just to receive the incredible training and learn why we are confident that LCD is the only way to get a truly sustainable building.

We invite you to join us for this exciting paradigm shift in sustainable design, help us meet our goals and achieve something positive for our planet.

– Alex Bruce

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ArchiBlox Creates Australia’s First Carbon Positive Pre-Fab Home

Going beyond carbon zero.

Archiblox’s latest project is a carbon positive modular home that boasts a difficult to attain eTool Platinum rating. Achieving a platinum rating means the design achieved a 90 per cent overall improvement in CO2e emissions compared to the Australian benchmark along with a minimum of 60 per cent improvement in each category (embodied carbon and operational carbon).

What does it mean to be carbon positive?

A net carbon positive outcome means the building offsets more carbon than it uses in construction and operation throughout the life of the building.

Check out the following press about ArchiBlox’s carbon positive home and if you are in Melbourne, you can check the house out at the Sustainable Festival running until 1 March.

Australia’s first carbon positive pre-fab home- SBS News

Can you compete with a carbon positive prefab home?” – Architecture & Design

“World’s first carbon positive prefab house” - Green Magazine

“World’s first carbon positive prefab house?” - ArchitectureAu

“The World’s First Carbon-Positive prefab house” – Dwell Magazine

“Prefabricated house in Melbourne’s City Square can produce more energy than it uses” – Dezeen Magazine

Sun Room in the Modular Design. Click to view the full case study >

Sun Room in the Modular Design. Click to view the full case study >

 

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Research Shows Sustainable Apartments are a Priority for Perth Community

Research conducted by Psaros in partnership with the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and the Property Council has indicated that the Perth community rates sustainability, public transport and walkability as some of the top priorities concerning the future of the Perth inner suburbs.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said

“This ground-breaking research dispels some deeply-held myths that have been holding Perth back from becoming more sustainable, more affordable and more liveable.”

“Our capital city is shaking off its ‘dullsville’ image, but there is a lot more that needs to be done. In particular, the research shows that high quality eco-friendly developments around transport links are strongly supported by the majority of Perth residents.”

“While there can at times be vocal opposition to individual developments, there is much broader and stronger support for increased density than planners and Local Councils might think. This is great news for our environment. For every sustainable apartment that is built, less energy is used, less waste is created, less natural bushland is destroyed and more trips are taken by public transport.”

Below is a quick summary by Psaros of some of the findings of the report. You can read the full report here.

 


 

Research

Undertaken by leading social research provider Ipsos between 4 – 17 June 2014. Respondents who live within 10km range of the Perth CBD were recruited in an online survey and focus group analysis. An even distribution of voters between 18 and 65+ with majority being single or two parent families with kids and older couples without kids. Final sample size n+524.

Main findings

There is very strong support for more medium & higher density apartment-style developments around transport hubs (71% support) and in inner areas (68% support).

 

The top three priorities for Perth’s future are;

•    an increase in public transport (train, light rail, buses) (95% support)
•    more eco-friendly buildings that generate their own power, collect rainwater and use less energy (89% support)
•    well-designed, safer bike paths to get to work and other places (86% support)

The most appropriate housing types for Perth city are:

•    a mix of mid-sized apartments, townhouses & retail / cafés (like Leederville and Northbridge) (79% support)

•    a mix of high-rise, town houses and parks (Like South Perth) (71% support)

Over half of residents (55%) would support increased building height limits to allow for higher density around transport links and 50% would support relaxing building height limits if developments are eco-friendly; .

The majority of respondents (73%) do not believe that the benefits of a separate house and garden outweigh the benefits of inner city living.

The majority of respondents (69%) do not consider low density living in detached single housing to be a more affordable option .

Perceived benefits of apartment living include:

•    easier to maintain (71% agree, 8% disagree)
•    reduce the need for land clearing (70% agree, 8% disagree)
•    lower environmental impact than detached housing (54% agree, 17% disagree)
•    save on energy costs (44% agree, 15% disagree)
•    save on car running costs (42% agree, 23% disagree)

3 in 5 inner city residents are likely to move house in the next 5 years; 73% would consider living in medium density housing and 50% in higher density housing.

eToolTeam_1_Cropped_Website

2014 Was Our Most Excellent Year Yet – Thank You!

We’ve come a long way over the last four years, and the last twelve months have been particularly exciting. We couldn’t have done it without our wonderful clients, partners, affiliates, supporters, friends and family - thank you!  We’d like to share with you some of our achievements over the last year and the exciting things we have planned for 2015.

Firstly and most importantly, we are ecstatic to announce that since the beginning of eTool, we have helped designers avoid over:

450,000 tonnes of CO2e!

That’s equivalent to planting 2,713,863 trees or taking 125,642 cars off the road! Our number one metric at eTool is reducing CO2 emissions, so we’re thrilled to see the number of CO2e saved increasing each and every month. 

As we continue to make eToolLCD the best of the best, we celebrate:

A few project & client achievements

    12     Green Star jobs completed and submitted with one achieving a 6-star rating and multiple achieving 5-star

     42     new clients such as Brookfield Multiplex, Mirvac, Lendlease & Broad, to name a few.

     9      HIA GreenSmart 2014 awards won by eTool clients

We’d like to especially congratulate long-standing eTool client Psaros, for their outstanding leadership in sustainability and their achievement of winning a 2014 Banksia Sustainability Award!

A few other (slightly quirky) eTool achievements by the numbers

      0     kilometers driven by cars to work by eTool employees (we opt for bicycles instead)

       1      CO2e saving plan developed to pump poo from Perth to farms (CSI talk TBC…)
       1      fantastic ‘Life Cycle Design Explained‘ video
    102    trees planted at the Bruce family farm by the team
     120    pages printed (hopefully after convincing more clients, 2015 will be 0!)

    171     attendees to eTool “saving the world” events (i.e. CSI talks & Great Debate)

     185    hours spent at the lunch table philosophising about how to save the world


2015: It’ll Be a Big One.

We’ve got some exciting things planned for the new year and we’re jumping out of our seats in anticipation. Here are just a few of our ambitions for the new year:

eToolLCD compliance with UK’s BREEAM IMPACT & DGNB (German Green Building Council) 
Watch this spacethis is huge. Delivering additional functionality that allows compliance with international green building rating systems is part of our continuing strategy of making eToolLCD the best and most globally accessible whole-building LCA software around.

Reaching the far corners of the world with LEED 
US-based LEED is used not only by the United States, but also in many other countries such as Brazil, Canada and India, just to name a few. Working on more LEED projects and showing consultants the power of eToolLCD means more carbon saved in even more parts of the world, something we always strive for.A zero-waste office
We want to make sure we walk the talk in the office in all areas, so starting 2015, the eTool office will become zero-waste. All employees will be responsible for disposing of their own waste with the intention of encouraging more mindful thought processes around product packaging and food waste. Wish us luck!


From all of us at eTool, we’d like to thank you for being a part of our journey. Stay tuned as more exciting things unfold in the coming months…Here’s to 2015!- Richard, Alex, Fei, Portia, Pat & Henrique
Media_Release

eToolLCD now EPD friendly

Product manufacturers can now upload their Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) into leading Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software, eToolLCD

Globally leading Life Cycle Design (LCD) software eToolLCD, has raised the bar in functionality by enabling users to enter their own Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in their database. This enables manufacturers with public EPDs to have their products listed in the software, allowing users and designers to incorporate them within their projects.

The incorporation of EPDs into the software aligns with global trends as building product manufacturers around the world embrace EPDs as a way to provide genuine and comparable evidence of their sustainability credentials. Manufacturers of any size can complete an EPD of their products, leveling the playing field for manufacturers by allowing comparisons of the environmental performance of products using a globally recognised standard.

“What is really exciting about this recent development in the software is that not only will it improve experience for the design team and improve building performance, but it also provides positive feedback to the manufacturers. Now material manufacturers can obtain an EPD, put themselves on the global stage in front of thousands of eToolLCD users, and most importantly, push other manufactures to lift their game,” said Alex Bruce, eTool Business Development Manager.

Most whole-building life cycle assessments rely predominantly on generic life cycle inventories of common construction materials. The inclusion of EPDs within eToolLCD allows design teams to ensure they are supporting manufacturers with quantifiably better products for their specific project criteria.

The framework chosen to allow EPDs to be uploaded into the database supports the use of the global standard EN15804 compliant EPDs, however other formats can be used if necessary.

“We have watched with excitement how the EPD standards and programs are aligning with construction products. Shifting the focus from material groups to particular manufacturers has the potential to really raise the bar and reward good manufacturers,” said Richard Haynes, eTool Group Leader of Operations & Development.

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Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Manager
+61 08 9467 1664
portia@etoolglobal.com
www.etoolglobal.com

About eTool

eTool is a world leading life cycle assessment and design consultancy that optimises building design for lower environmental impact and high performance. Utilising our unique software eToolLCD®, we work with architects, engineers and developers to measure and improve the life cycle impacts of buildings, surpassing industry standards. eToolLCD® makes sustainable development easy to achieve and cost-effective for all size projects, from residential and commercial building to land development and infrastructure.

 

Learn more about how to upload EPDs into eToolLCD here or get in touch to discuss options.

CitySwitchSignatory

eTool Joins CitySwitch

CitySwitch is a national program seeking to improve the energy efficiency of offices around Australia by encouraging commercial office tenants to commit to a number of energy efficiency measures and become a CitySwitch Green Office signatory. The City of Perth offers a local CitySwitch program that provides resources and assistance to commercial tenants pledging the commitments of the CitySwitch program.

To become a CitySwitch Green Office signatory, organisations are required to commit to:

  • Commence a benchmark NABERS Energy tenancy rating of their office within 3 months
  • Develop and implement an Energy Action Plan to achieve and maintain a 4 stars or higher accredited NABERS Energy tenancy
  • Appoint an Energy Manager to monitor actual performance
  • Request a NABERS Energy base building rating from the building owner/manager
  • Promote energy efficiency to staff, customers and suppliers and share their experiences with other Signatories
  • Obtain an annual NABERS Energy Rating and provide feedback on their success in a formal Progress Report

The eTool & Cundall Perth office have committed to the above, and we encourage others to do the same!

 

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2014 GBCA Green Star LCA Credits

As part of the exciting Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Green Star 2014 Design & As Built release, Life Cycle Assessment has taken another step forward in establishing itself as a standard component of good design.

The new Life Cycle Impacts credit provides up to 7 points for projects achieving a performance improvement across six environmental impact categories.

While the total number of points has increased the performance requirement has also risen from what was a 100% accumulative improvement to now being 130%. Essentially, there are more points available but designs will have to push harder to get them – ultimately a good outcome for the planet.

While most of the criteria and requirements have remained the same since the draft credit was realised earlier this year, it is great to see it firmly established in the new tool. More details can be found on Page 141 of the Green Star Rating Tool Technical Manual.

“As the circular economy expands, our industry will need to understand how to work with LCA…to drive the next evolution of sustainability,” said Romily Madew, Chief Executive of the GBCA.

Since LCA was first included in Green Star last year with the Innovation Challenge, eTool has been successfully involved with over 12 separate Green Star projects. These have ranged from large office, retail and tertiary education buildings through to retirement villages and supermarkets. Several have already achieved their targeted Five Star Green Star accreditation and with one hitting Six Star.

“GBCA members Cundall and eTool deserve applause for recently working together to earn five Green Star points for a life cycle assessment for the Kings Square buildings in Perth.” (read article here)

All projects have successfully managed to obtain the points targeted through the LCA credit with teams quick to included eTool in additional and upcoming jobs.

More importantly, project teams are finding that by integrating a Life Cycle Design approach they are realising far greater opportunities for improving environmental performance. Furthermore, it has been giving these projects, the consultants working on them and the clients, a world leading edge.

“Life cycle assessment is not a fad, and will increasingly be understood as a smart business decision within a sustainable business model”, said Romily Madew.

Make sure you sign up to our upcoming LCA in Green Star webinar if you want to keep up with the rapidly growing demand or contact us if you have a project you’d like to discuss.

Media_Release

Psaros WINS a 2014 Banksia Sustainability Award!

Leading WA developer and long-standing client of eTool, Psaros was the recent recipient of the SMB Sustainability Leadership 2014 Banksia Sustainability Award.

A testament to their innovation and commitment to sustainability, Psaros uses eTool to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA)  for each of their multi-residential developments, with one of their more recent developments Edge, winning an International Property Award in a 2014 Asia Pacific regional competition.

Edge by Psaros Thumb

Edge by Psaros

It’s an honour to be a part of the Psaros sustainability journey and we look forward to what lies ahead. Congratulations Psaros for Leading by Doing.

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Chiara Pacifici, Head of Sustainability, accepting the award on Psaros’ behalf.

 

More Psaros developments: