Psaros Announced as Finalist in Australia’s Prestigious Sustainability Awards

A long standing client of eTool has recently been announced as a finalist for the Banksia Sustainability Awards and we’d like to extend a congratulations

Psaros has been leading the way in sustainable multi-residential buildings in Australia through conducting eTool Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) for each of their developments with one of their more recent developments Edge, winning an International Property Award in the 2014 Asia Pacific regional competition.

Edge by Psaros Thumb

Edge by Psaros

Recently, Psaros and the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) formed a partnership to help encourage sustainable apartment developments in Perth City. They have commissioned market research to help understand community attitudes towards sustainable apartment-style living the future of Perth city.

Read the Psaros press release here.

We’d like to say a a big ‘congratulations!’ to Psaros from all of us here at eTool. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the Psaros Banskia Award!


eTool is now a member of Spacecubed!

Spacecubed is an inner city co-working office space that facilitates community engagement, collaboration, and innovation to help Western Australian startups, businesses and organisations grow.

eTool has recently joined as a community member at Spacecubed to support and participate in the growing startup and innovation community in WA. If you haven’t heard of Spacecubed, check it out here. 



We’re Going Global

Miss our September Newsletter? …We have some exciting news! 

eTool is growing some wings and heading off on a global journey…

From the very beginning, Richard and Alex created eTool and the eToolLCD software to achieve one mission – to create a global solution for a global challenge: global warming. After many years of hard work, struggle, briefly being the “LCA nerds”, and a great deal of patience, we now watch with excitement as the world embraces Life Cycle Assessment as a standard component of good building design.

To reflect our desire to improve the built form around the world, we’ve breathed new life into our website, created a succinct “Life Cycle Design Explained video“, and changed our domain name to Let it be noted: the latter was not an easy decision. The word ‘global’ had a certain “evil global domination” feel, much to the disdain of the team. However after many discussions, global seemed to be best word to signify our ultimate goal – so we are taking the world global back and giving it a new and positive reputation.

To date, eTool has conducted over 200 LCAs of all sorts of building projects with over 1,500 registered eToolLCD users across 61 different countries.

So while our global journey has already begun, we really look forward to continuing to work with you all in achieving global domination… domination of genuinely sustainable buildings that is!


-The eTool Team
Richard, Alex, Fei, Patrick, Portia & Henrique


All Essential List of 12 For a Carbon Zero Lifestyle

[Find original publication here]

A Carbon Zero Lifestyle

Alex hi res- Jan 2013I often get asked by homeowners and self-builders what really makes the biggest difference to the carbon footprint of a home design. Here are my 12 essential bases to cover if you want to go zero carbon but have a strict budget.

1. Life cycle design philosophy

What’s this “Life Cycle Assessment” or LCA thing about? Life Cycle Assessment can be used to calculate all the impacts of your design choices in terms of carbon, cost, greenhouse gas emissions, water, toxicity and more. Quantify and compare to improve your design and don’t forget to question everything.

2. Make it financially attractive
There isn’t much point making a house carbon neutral if it costs the earth, so invest in areas that are going to give you the best return financially and maximise your positive impact on the planet. Before you commit to any design decision, ensure you understand the capital outlay, cost savings and importantly the resulting carbon footprint.

3. Design for the future
Is your design a fashion fad or a timeless classic? Unfortunately, most houses in Australia are lucky to hit their 40th birthday before they are knocked down, so it’s important to consider the following:
• Planning and density – don’t build a detached house in a high density suburb or it will just get knocked over and replaced with townhouses.
• Future proof it – think ahead to what people might want after you’ve finished living there.
• Quality build – a house that is energy efficient, comfortable, functional, well built and well finished is going to last a lot longer than a dated, impractical, energy guzzling beast.
• Durability – if you are aiming for the house to live to a ripe old age, use durable materials.

4. Make it functional
The more people a house can house, the less impact per person that house will have on the environment – it’s that simple. Plus, the more functional a building is, the more likely it will live to retirement instead of retrenchment.

5. Quality not quantity
In Australia, our dwellings have grown 40% in size in the past 20 years, with 10% less people living in them.That means a house built in 1990 is 40% smaller than what we are building now and pretty much has 40% more impact on energy bills and the environment. So, build a smarter, smaller house with the architecture that works well and feels comfortable.

6. Low embodied energy materials
Try to use materials that aren’t responsible for too much – or zero – environmental damage in their manufacture. Think about where and how that product started its life and how it got here. As we transition towards renewable energy, the carbon impact of operating a house (like air-conditioning) will be reduced.

7. Reduce, reuse, recycle materials
Yep, this old chestnut again. Reduce – redundant materials and use raw or natural finishes that don’t require ongoing maintenance. Reuse – whatever you can from the last building or other local “retrenched” (knocked down) buildings. Recycle – materials from the last building and incorporate recycled and recyclable materials into the design.

8. Local, local, local but sometimes not
It makes sense to use locally produced materials and trades as less transport usually means less carbon. However, sometimes you’ll be looking at a compromise between a material that is local but with a high embodied energy versus an imported product that might be recycled. And when you’re considering transportation, investigate efficiency: could shipping from China be less than trucking from Perth to Melbourne?

9. Make it “climate sensible”
After embodied energy,“heating and cooling” are big factors when it comes to your home’s carbon footprint.We are getting better at this impact and Australia now has “six star” regulations that ensure that any new home build will have a fairly good level of thermal performance. It’s good to aim higher than this, but make sure you’re not compromising other aspects of your carbon footprint or return on investment. Consider how much energy and cost went into making that concrete slab you’ve used to get thermal mass and star rating up.

10. Hot water (don’t land in it)
When it comes to running your home, hot water and appliances will impact your energy bills the most, so consider them right from the start. Hot water systems such as solar hot water shouldn’t be viewed as a “bolt on” or “wait and see if we’ve got the budget” item. Make an informed decision on capital outlay versus ongoing savings.

11. Renewable energy
We all love renewables.They can provide a great return on investment and at the same time lower your overall carbon footprint. That said, try not to fall into the trap of thinking “no dramas, I’ll just add a few more solar panels to deal with that”.The embodied energy that goes into making things can never be recovered so make sure you always go back to where did it come from?

12. Low carbon doesn’t always mean sustainable
Reducing your home’s carbon footprint is only one metric of sustainability and it’s just as important to consider the way we behave in our own homes.Technology like real time energy monitoring has shown to reduce energy consumption by around 10% by affecting occupant behaviour. That’s a bigger impact than increasing star rating from six to seven stars.


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) vs Life Cycle Design (LCD)

While people are still coming to terms with what Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is, and why it is such a powerful tool to improve the way we build, here at eTool we’ve already moved to referring to Life Cycle Design or LCD.

Yes, it kind of does sound like some new audio visual technology or maybe even a hallucinogenic, but we think it’s super important put the word “Design” into the picture early on.

Heres why: eTool was always founded on the core concept of improving the way we design and build and definitely did not want to create another rating system. Our software eToolLCD is first and foremost a design tool, and it’s in the early design concept phase where you’ll get the best value for the planet and the economy.

Unfortunately, the building industry too often see ESD (again, not another hallucinogenic) or green rating systems as something you tack onto the end of a design process, and LCA definitely ran the same risk. While it’s just a word, “Assessment” at the end of “Life Cycle” just helped project stakeholders think that it should be pushed to the end of the design rather than right up front.

It’s almost guaranteed that outcome will be improved by having basic discussions around functionality before the client put pen to paper developing a design brief. Please ensure you get in contact with us as early as possible to discuss your next project or concept.



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.


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


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


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


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 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


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.


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.


eToolLCD to become IMPACT Compliant

Australia’s own eToolLCD is poised to become one of the first Phase 2 tools to comply with IMPACT LCA methodology since its release in October 2013

Perth-based life cycle assessment (LCA) consultants and software providers eTool, are making fast headway in embedding additional functionality into their world leading LCA app, to enable compliance with BRE’s IMPACT.

Developed by BRE, a world leading building science centre based in the UK, IMPACT is a specification and database for software developers to incorporate into their tools to enable consistent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC).

When completed, users will be able to enjoy eToolLCD’s unrivaled LCA functionality for the design of buildings and infrastructure, while accessing BRE’s highly regarded LCA method and data.

Daniel Doran of BRE said, “BRE is delighted that eTool are joining others by implementing IMPACT into their software. This will ultimately increase the uptake of high quality building LCA and will lead to lower impact buildings”.

Alex Bruce of eTool said, “IMPACT Compliance means eToolLCD users can earn two credits in BREEAM New Construction UK and up to 6 credits in BREEAM International – we see this as a great way to promote eToolLCD into the UK and European market”.

This move will make eToolLCD one of few life cycle assessment applications in the world compliant with the IMPACT LCA method.


< ENDS >

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

Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Coordinator
08 9467 1664


About eTool

eTool is a world leading life cycle software 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.

For more information, please visit You can also follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest eTool news, or read our blog.

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 see


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.



BRE is a world leading building science centre that generates new knowledge through research. This is used to create products, tools and standards that drive positive change across the built environment. BRE helps its government and private sector clients meet the significant environmental, social and economic challenges they faces in delivering homes, buildings and communities. BRE is owned by the BRE Trust, a registered charity. The Trust uses the profits made by the BRE companies to fund research and education that advances knowledge of the built environment