EN 15978 and eTool LCA Normal System Boundary

EN 15978

In 2011 the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) released a new standard for measuring the environmental sustainability of buildings.  We grabbed a copy of this standard, EN 15978 soon after it was published to understand how eTool stacked up against the requirements.  We breathed a sigh of relief, although we had a few things to tidy up, what we were happy with was that we actually needed to reduce the scope and system boundary of a normal eToolLCA to report to EN15978.

Background to EN15978

This standard was one of the first to be released by CEN Technical Committee 350.  It was part of a much broader project to fully define how to measure the sustainability of buildings.  Within TC 350 there were working groups determining how to measure a building’s:

  • Environmental Performance,
  • Social Performance, and
  • Economic Performance.

Impressive.  The full suite of sustainability covered under one set group of standards.  And it doesn’t stop there, there are also working groups covering civil works and construction products.  Incredibly, they are making very good headway through this arduous scope with 8 standards already published and another four under development.  EN15978 is the key to measuring the environmental pillar of sustainability.

How Does it Work?

Well, it’s kind of complex you have to read the detail of the standard, and a good number of the standards referenced.  That said, we will summarise as best we can.  The basic philosophy is to rely 100% on LCA as the method of measuring environmental performance.  So there is hence a heavy reliance on ISO 14040, 14044 and 14025 which eTool LCA software also heavily draws on.  The standard gives guidance on how to apply LCA to buildings.  It effectively defines the goal, scope and method for LCA practitioners working on buildings.

The System Boundary

The diagram below shows the system boundary of EN 15978 is shown below.  For existing users of eTool LCA, or those who rely on eTool ratings, our standard system boundary is also shown.  We think the EN 15978 have essentially done a fantastic job putting this together (with a few exceptions we discuss below).

EN 15978 and eTool LCA Normal System Boundary

EN 15978 and eTool LCA Normal System Boundary

The largest omission from the system boundary is what EN15978 calls “non building related energy use”.  They essentially include HVAC, domestic hot water and lighting but exclude all other energy used within the building.  This makes sense at first glance, after all, these areas are certainly the most heavily influenced by the building designers, and other energy use is very heavily occupant driven.  There are however some strong arguments for including all energy used within the building, a few of which are listed below:

  • A building designer can influence occupant behaviour, and as such these aspects should be considered by architects and engineers, for example:
    • Energy monitoring has been proven to influence occupant behaviour in both commercial and residential buildings and should be considered by the design team
    • In residential buildings, energy use per occupant generally drops off with higher occupants per dwellings due to the base loads (refrigeration, living area entertainment, standby loads, lighting and heat losses from hot water systems) being spread between more occupants.  Buildings that allow and encourage more occupants per dwelling will (all else being equal) use less energy per occupant, and hence should be differentiated.
    • In commercial buildings, an integrated fit out of work stations can have huge positive impacts on energy use through the use of central servers for data storage and processing and mini computers at work stations drawing very little power.  A seamless implementation of such systems may require architectural and engineering consideration during the design of the building so should be factored.
  • Building integrated renewable energy systems should if possible be sized to meet the entire load of the building, not just the base building loads, so designers should be aware of the entire loads.
  • Developers can have a large influence on the building performance (at least initially) through the final fit out of appliances (residential) and work stations (commercial) so this should be within scope so we don’t drop the ball on this opportunity.
  • Vertical transport (elevators, escalators etc) for medium rise buildings can be heavily influenced by design:
    • The building envelope needs to cater for the most efficient plant geometrically
    • The use of stairs or ramps should be encouraged through design to reduce reliance on plant
    • The building electrical systems should be designed to cater for regenerative drives etc
  • Communicating the total impact of buildings without accounting for occupant energy use is very misleading.  Imagine moving into a building marketed as ‘energy neutral’ building only to find your power bill only drops 25%

Environmental Indicators

The suggested list of reported indicators is quite comprehensive for EN15978 and is shown in the below summary table:

 EN15978 Indicators

EN15978 does state that not all indicators need to be reported, but the documentation must specify the reasons for omission.  Interestingly toxicity, land use, biodiversity are missing from the above list.  The standard states that this is due to there being no scientifically agreed calculation method within the context of LCA for these indicators.  We’ll watch this space as we know some of these missing indicators are of great interest to many users of eTool.

EN 15978 and eTool LCA

After we read EN15978, we documented the required changes, pushed them into our product roadmap we got back to other work.  It wasn’t for another year though before it hit us how important this standard was.  All of a sudden, we weren’t “those guys from Western Australia who think they’ve nutted out how to truly improve the environmental performance of buildings”, EN15978 established that LCA was indeed the most appropriate tool for profiling green buildings.  Standards such as this one lend huge credibility to solutions like eTool that were released prior to the standard.  We were definitely barking up the right tree when we naively stood in front of the cameras on the ABC’s New Inventors and demonstrated the humble beginnings of eTool!

The recent uptake of LCA by the Green Building Council of Australia in their Greenstar tool heavily references  EN15978.  This has prompted us to build a suite of reports that are compliant with the standard, and those it references.  Importantly, we’re not going to remove any functionality form eTool, or contract the scope or system boundary.  Users will simply have the opportunity to report to either the EN15978 scope or the more expansive eTool LCA scope.  Similarly we’ll continue to upload more indicators into eTool LCA, our focus for the next 12 months will be plugging the gaps for EN15978 reporting.  There’s likely to be a lot of low hanging fruit here, and some trickier ones that may take some additional programming so we’re not entirely sure when we’ll be reporting on all 22 indicators just yet.  Our reports will be compliant with EN15978 though by still listing these additional indicators with “INA” (Indicator Not Assessed) in place of the calculated values which is accepted in the standard.  We’ll also allow users to report indicators currently available in eTool that aren’t required by EN15978.  Our general position on indicators is that global warming is our biggest environmental problem and hence our main efforts will continue to focus on solving this.

Stars V LCD Blog Banner

Building a low carbon house – more stars or Life Cycle Design?

Ask the average sustainable/eco/green consultant what the principles to achieving a low carbon design are, and more than likely you will get the response:

  • Orientation
  • Glazing
  • Ventilation
  • Insulation
  • Thermal mass
  • Shading
  • And maybe a few more

These solar passive design principles are all very important elements but miss the core of the question – “how do I achieve a low carbon design outcome?” To answer this you have to be able to answer the question “what is a low carbon building?”, and prior to that “what is low carbon”?

The planet can deal with around 1,000kgCO2e per person per year without catastrophic failure. If your house was around 10% of your total carbon footprint (including everything from the organic food you eat to the bike you ride to work) it would need to be around 100kgCO2e/occupant/year to be “sustainable”. Currently the average Australian house’s impact is around 3,900kgCO2e/occupant/year. Although rather depressing, there are a growing number of houses in Australia that come in below 100kgCO2e/occupant/year.

So back to getting a low carbon design outcome – the first place to start is to ask where the carbon impacts are – you can’t improve what you can’t quantify. This graph illustrates the average Australian dwelling’s carbon footprint comprised of several large components such as Thermal Control (air-conditioning), Hot Water, Other Appliances, Embodied Carbon (the carbon that goes into building and maintaining it) and several smaller elements like Lighting and Cooking.

If the “low carbon design” achieves optimum orientation, glazing, ventilation, insulation, thermal mass and shading you could even score the highly sort after “10 Star” performance. “Star rating”, for Australian houses, is a program administered by NatHERS that determines the thermal performance of a dwelling. A “0 Star” rating is synonymous with a glass box in the desert and a “10 Star” rating would suggest no air-conditioning is required to keep it comfortable all year round. By obtaining a “10 Star” rating you would remove all of the “Thermal Control” impacts (about 15% of the “average dwelling”), but still a fair way from realising the “low carbon” design outcome we set out to achieve.

It should be noted that the graph is based around an average Australian climate zone, if you were in tropical Darwin or on the top of the Snowy Mountains the heating and cooling impact would be greater than 15%. Regardless, it’s pretty clear that “more stars” alone isn’t going to do much for your carbon footprint especially considering you have to be at the “6 Star” mark to build anyway. (Note 1) Star Rating v eTool Rating Life Cycle Design Small We could then include a solar hot water system, LED lights, super efficient appliances and finish it off with a lovely big solar PV system to produce more power than we use. Now the design would be ‘net zero’ and at a point where all of our “operational” carbon has been dealt with but there is still that big dark blue section associated with the “embodied carbon”. That element alone is enough to put you out of range for achieving a sustainable carbon footprint. So enter Life Cycle Design…. LCD gives you the ability to understand all of the carbon impacts associated with your design over its entire life span. This starts with the building materials, their transport, construction and assembly, operation, and maintenance through to end of life. LCD Circle Small

Further more LCD looks at the function of the building and aims to optimise the carbon footprint in regards to its occupancy and design life. This sits inline with the initial goal of achieving the 100kgCO2e/occupant/year outcome. Some of the easiest things to dramatically cut your design’s footprint include making it smaller, having more people living in it and ensuring it will last longer. These three points alone will achieve far more to cut your carbon footprint than all of the solar passive design principles put together. If you want to see some more good ideas for getting a lower carbon footprint click here.

LCD allows you to put all of the carbon impacts of design choices in front of you with real numbers, and presents quantifiable ways of making improvements. Rather than targeting small elements without quantifying them, LCD is totally technology agnostic and makes judgement on real performance outcomes only. When you also include Life Cycle Cost in the process, you end up with a pretty powerful design methodology for a cost effective and sustainable outcome.

Next time you’re advised on an element that will improve your design’s carbon footprint make sure to ask “how much?” and ask for an actual number on the kgCO2e/occupant/year. If the advisor can’t answer this then it’s likely they are just repeating someone else’s advice who is just repeating someone else’s advice who has probably never stopped to actually quantify it…. In short, put it to the LCD test and you’ll find out pretty fast whether the advice is sound or silly. While LCD can’t account for everything, such as the social benefits of a comfortable house, you’ll find it nearly impossible to get a low carbon design without it. When you do include LCD from the beginning, getting a good outcome is super easy and super satisfying.
Get in touch with us if you genuinely want to know how your design will perform or want to learn more about LCD…..



  1. Any new code compliant house has to achieve a minimum of “6star” which is a pretty good level of performance.
LCA_Alex home_basic design

eTool and Internet Explorer

We’re pushing the envelope a little with what’s possible for web based software and Microsoft Internet Explorer has been a pretty challenging for us, it seems that we fix it up to work in one version, and those fixes break something in another version.  Needless to say, if you’re happy using safari, chrome, firefox or basically any other browser by MS Internet Explorer you shouldn’t have any issues.  If you’re stuck with MS IE, or love using it, here’s the work around for using the eTool app…


eTool LCA Software Updates – Spring 2013

eTool is always busy in the background updating the libraries available to users.  Lately we’ve ramped up the activities in a big with with some major updates to our libraries.  Even more exciting is that we’re improving the functionality of eTool with some big software development projects.  I thought I’d take some time to update you.

Library Updates

Earlier in the year we conducted a large LCA study on a cutting edge development in the UK, One Brighton.  The study was commissioned by Bio Regional who run the One Planet Living sustainable living framework.  We will be publishing the results of this study before the end of the year.  During the modelling we adapted a pretty cool approach to modelling the UK Benchmarks where we morphed a number of different density buildings, based on the new build mix, to create a weighted average density and size building.  Our previous approach to this was to pick the most popular density building and adjust it’s size and other characteristics appropriately.  We liked the new approach so have also applied that to Australia.  This was timely as the density mix in Australia is also changing pretty dramatically as we embrace higher density living, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne (Sydney is now building more apartments and semi-detached dwellings than detached).  The new residential benchmarks are loaded up into the eTool Library read to compare your project against.  We’re also working on some office building benchmarks also, and looking into community buildings.  Watch this space!

Out templates library is also undergoing a bit of an overhaul.  There’s more to come but essentially we’ve be consolidating the current templates library and adding new templates where needed.  This will be an eternally evolving project and we have some really cool ideas about how users can share templates that we’re mocking up at the moment with implementation in mind.

Our materials, transport, equipment and energy databases are about to get an overhaul to.  You may have heard the GBCA has introduced credits for LCA.  Some of the indicators they’ve chosen weren’t being tracked by eTool so we’re in the process of updating this data.  Some interim updates have been performed including updating electricity grid coefficients to match the latest NGERs figures in Australia, and updates to some water grid figures (notably Perth to account for the increasing reliance on desalination).

Software Updates

Some big projects are now underway to take the eTool software to the next level.  See our product road map to get an understanding of the long term goals.  The focus is on aligning eTool with relevant international standards (in particular EN15978).  In the process we’re also fixing bugs along the way and generally improving the user experience.  Recent or impending improvements are listed below.


Improved speed for the app.  You may have noticed that working on large designs the app started to labour a bit, or a lot if you were working on really big designs.  We’ve cut the save / clone time down by 75% which although is a good start is just the tip of the iceberg, we’re aiming to get a 95% improvement in performance in speed through a project that is revolutionising the back end of eTool.  I won’t go into the details, I’ll just say it’s a big project but is going to pay big dividends to users.

We’ve also changed the UI a little. Projects will soon be listed more conveniently (most recent on the top of the list when you log in).  There’s a big expansion in functionality for documenting project recommendations and our reports are about to get some serious attention also.

Bug Fixes

A few pesky bugs have also been fixed:

  • All design details now clone properly
  • Custom template details now clone properly
  • Reports on a design can be seen by all users accessing that design
  • Updates to certificate calculations to include PV generation and limit overall rating when gold savings aren’t achieved in both embodied and operational categories


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Meet eTool at Eco Week Spring Festival

Spring has sprung in the Perth Cultural Centre with the 2013 Spring Festival on Saturday the 26th of October.

Broadcast live on ABC 720 Perth’s Shoots and Roots Program, there will be an Urban Orchard harvest and planting event, plus Waterwise Productive Gardening Workshop with ABC Gardening Australia’s Josh Byrne, CCWA Speakers Marquee, National Garage Sale Trail, Eco Markets and food stalls.

For the kids there will be educational ‘facts and frogs’ activities in the PCC Native Wetland, and Numbat Nook will host the Perth Zoo, Junkadelic Recycling workshops and more.

Hosted by the Conservation Council of Western Australia, Josh Byrne & Associates and the Perth Cultural Centre, this is a free community event focusing on sustainability and our environment.

To sign up for the Harvest and Planting Day and Waterwise Productive Gardening Workshop go towww.perthculturalcentre.com.au

To register for the Spring Festival CCWA Garage Sale Trail go to http://www.garagesaletrail.com.au/sale/spring-festival-garage-sale

Click attending on our Facebook event to keep up to date with the latest news, and invite your friends!
Eco Week WA will promote an environmentally conscious future and raise awareness to encourage action for the environment. https://www.facebook.com/WAEcoWeek

What’s on for Spring Festival

ABC Outside Broadcast

720 ABC Perth will broadcast the Saturday Breakfast ‘Shoots and Roots’ with James Lush and Sabrina Hahn live from the urban Orchard

Harvest and Planting Event

Community harvest of the spring Crop and planting of the summer crop at the Urban Orchard.

The mornings activities provide the perfect opportunity for families and communities to come together and get involved with the PCC

Learning new Waterwise gardening techniques for their home patch participants may even be able to take home some free fresh fruit and veg.”

Waterwise Productive Gardening Workshop

The workshop will see Josh Byrne from Gardening Australia conduct practical hands on demonstrations with interactive audience Q&A covering such topics as hydrozoning, soil building, drip irrigation, greywater reuse and planting.

Josh’s talk will also be complimented by a team of irrigation and greywater specialist who will further engage with participants on water saving principles through demonstrations and an extended Q&A session.

Urban Wetland Education with ‘Facts & Frogs’

Woven through the activities for the session is making homes for urban wildlife.

We start by building a frog pond on stage, then invite kids to help develop our city wetland by releasing animals into our wetland.  In our second talk, we’ll add habitat around our frog pond (as is happening in the Cultural Centre & Urban Orchard).

In the activities surrounding the wetland, Families will play with natural objects, create creatures and look at animals that live in urban wetlands and bushlands, as well as participating in wetland fauna releases approximately every 15 minutes.

In our finale, the Wildlife Art Parade, kids will be part of an animal invasion into our wildlife garden on the wetland stage.

Numbat Nook Kids area

A fun family friendly zone at the back of the Urban Orchard featuring, Perth Zoo arts activities,  Junkadelic recycled music and dance workshops, REmida creative reuse centre arts activities, Recycling workshops with Mindarie Regional Council, Eco Fairy song and dance, City of Perth recycled pot plant making, face painting, and giant recycled puppets.

Garage Sale Trail

Inner city residents, especially apartment dwellers, will be invited to join Perth’s biggest garage sale – drawing attention to ways of reducing domestic waste.

Film Zone

Sit back and relax on some comfy beanbags as the Conservation Council of Western Australia features Eco short and feature films throughout Spring Festival and the week.

Eco Markets

A market with artisanal crafts and sustainability focused products, as well as info stalls from NGO’s. Food stalls will be using biodegradable packaging.

CCWA Speakers Marquee

A educational program that highlights the importance of the Western Australian environment, biodiversity, and sustainable living skills such as permaculture, worm farming, energy saving, food production and waste management, housed in an enormous red tent!


Green Awards Blog Banner

Green Lifestyle Magazine Awards – ­eTool wins and Olivia Newton-John Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Green Lifestyle magazine’s second annual Green Lifestyle Awards were held in Sydney last Wednesday, recognising more than 50 leading companies and personalities in the green industry.

Among them was singer and long-time champion of environmental issues, Olivia Newton-John, who was inducted into the Green Lifestyle Hall of Fame. Bob Brown, former Greens leader and last year’s Hall of Fame inductee, graciously handed on the honour to Olivia for bringing awareness to such issues as unethical fishing practices, the clear-fell logging of Tasmanian forests and the potential dangers of coal seam gas mining.

Olivia, who is currently overseas, sent a video acceptance speech. “I’d like to say how very honoured I am to receive the Green Lifestyle Hall of Fame Award,” she said. “It was totally unexpected and I’m very honoured to receive it. I’d like to send my congratulations to all the nominees who have done wonderful things for the environment. I really believe that each one of us can make a difference – as all of you have.”

Around 100 people attended the awards presentation at Sun Studios in Alexandria. These included many of the winners and highly commended in 30 categories covering food, fashion, beauty, garden, home, kids, wellbeing, travel, transport, online and business.

The editor of Green Lifestyle magazine, Lesley Lopes, said, “We started the Green Lifestyle Awards to recognise dedication on the part of individuals, companies and non-government organisations in contributing to a more sustainable Australia. It seems more and more of you are making conscious decisions about the things you buy and where you find information about all things green as we had twice as many nominations as for our inaugural awards last year.”

The winners and highly commended in each category are listed below and are featured in the Nov/Dec issue of Green Lifestyle, on sale 18 October.

Green Lifestyle magazine, published by nextmedia, is a guide to simple sustainable living, offering encouraging advice and inspiration to those wanting to lead a greener lifestyle.


Winner – eTool, www.etool.net.au
Highly Commended – SodaStream, www.sodastream.com.au
Winner – ecostore – cleaning products, www.ecostore.com.au
Highly Commended – Onya Weigh bags, www.onyainnovations.com.au
Energy Saving
Winner – LiFEHOUSE Design, www.lifehousedesign.com.au
Highly Commended – Ventis, www.ventis.com.au
Water Saving
Winner – Caroma, www.caroma.com.au
Highly Commended – Every Drop Shower Saver, www.showersaver.com.au


eToolLCD Expressions

eToolLCD V2 introduced some pretty neat functionality that allows users to enter “expressions” into some fields in a similar way formulas are used in a spreadsheet. This is particularly useful for building operational energy templates, for example, based on building size or occupancy. We have used a third party calculation library to enable this functionality, the list of available operators and functions is available here.

This functionality has dramatically improved the ease at which we can predict operational energy in designs and we’re enjoying using it here at eTool. We will be adding more stored variables as time passes, watch this space. To learn how to utilise this functionality, please get in touch for some training.

We also have a number of variables that relate to the design and can be used in expressions. The list of these is provided below. The default values that are used in library template calculations before loading into a design, or when a variable is left blank. The full list of variables is here:

NameUnitCodeDefault ValueModel LevelCategoryDescription
Annual Data TransmittedTBDT100,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Data Transmitted
Annual Energy GeneratedkWhEG100,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Energy Generated
Annual Energy StoredkWhES1,000,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Energy Stored
Annual Energy TransmittedkWhET1,000,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Energy Transmitted
Annual Freight ThroughputtFT100,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Freight Throughput
Annual Horizontal Infrared RadiationWh/m2Sol_H6,500ProjectAnnual Horizontal Infrared Radiation
Annual Operating HourshrsOH2,000FunctionAttributeAnnual operating hours of the building for its intended functional use.
Annual Passenger Throughput#PT60,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Passenger Throughput
Annual Standard Axles#SA600,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Standard Axles
Annual Throughput Volumem3TV6,000FunctionAttributeAnnual Throughput Volume
Artificially Lit Aream2ALA1,200FunctionServicesArea artificially lit
Average Ambient Temperature Whilst CoolingDegrees CACT35DesignHiddenAverage ambient temperature whilst cooling weighted for heating times and loads
Average Ambient Temperature Whilst HeatingDegrees CAHT5DesignHiddenAverage ambient temperature whilst heating weighted for heating times and loads
Average Daytime Occupancyhrs/dayDTO8DesignHiddenAverage daytime occupancy hours for the building
Average Nighttime Occupancyhrs/dayNTO8DesignHiddenAverage nighttime occupancy hours for the building
Average water Inlet TemperatureDegrees CIWT15ProjectAverage Water Inlet Temperature
Bedrooms#BR3FunctionAttributeNumber of bedrooms
Cooling LoadMJ/m2/AnnumCL900FunctionServicesCooling load required of mechanical HVAC plant to control building temperature
Data Storage CapacityTBDS10,000FunctionAttributeData Storage Capacity
Default Indoor Illumination RequirementLxLTA900FunctionServicesDefault illumination intensity required in the building
Direct Solar RadiationWh/m2Sol_D7,000ProjectDirect Solar Radiation
Durability Life ExpectancyyearsDLE100DesignDurability life expectancy which does not account for redevelopment pressure
Dwellings#DW1FunctionAttributeNumber of dwellings (or tenancies) in the building
Energy Monitoring Adjustment Factor0%EMAF1ProjectEnergy monitoring adjustment factor for consumption rates
Expected OccupantsyearsO10DesignExpected occupancy of the building
Expected Service LifeyearsLE50DesignExpected Service Life
Fully Enclosed Covered Aream2FECA1,200FunctionAreaThe sum of all such areas at all building floor levels, including basements (except unexcavated portions), floored roof spaces and attics, garages, penthouses, enclosed porches and attached enclosed covered ways alongside buildings
Gross Floor Aream2GFA1,400FunctionAreaThe sum of the Fully Enclosed Covered Area and Unenclosed Covered Area as defined
Heating LoadMJ/m2/AnnumHL900FunctionServicesHeating load required of mechanical HVAC plant to control building temperature
Indoor thermostat set point (Summer)Degrees CICT24DesignHiddenIndoor thermostat set point during summer
Indoor thermostat set point (winter)Degrees CIHT20DesignHiddenIndoor thermostat set point during winter
Land Aream2LA2,000ProjectLand associated with the building project (footprint of building, parking and landscaping)
Life Cycle Bed - Nights#LCBNCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Bed - Nights
Life Cycle Data TransmittedTBLCDTCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Data Transmitted
Life Cycle Energy GeneratedkWhLCEGCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Energy Generated
Life Cycle Energy StoredkWhLCESCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Energy Stored
Life Cycle Energy TransmittedkWhLCETCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Energy Transmitted
Life Cycle Freight Distancet.kmsLCFDCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Freight kms
Life Cycle Freight ThroughputtLCFTCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Freight Throughput
Life Cycle Occupant HourshrsLCOHCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife cycle operating hours of the building for its intended functional use.
Life Cycle Passenger Distance#.kmsLCPDCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Passenger kms
Life Cycle Passenger Throughput#LCPTCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Passenger Throughput
Life Cycle Standard Axles#LCSACalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Standard Axles
Life Cycle Throughput Volumem3LCTVCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Throughput Volume
Life Cycle Workload Unit Distance#.kmsLCWLUDCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Workload Unit kms
Life Cycle Workload Units (1p = 100kg)#LCWLUCalculatedFunctionAttributeLife Cycle Workload Units (1p = 100kg)
Lighting LuxlxLX150FunctionServicesSpeficied light requirements of the lit area
Lighting Runtimehrs / yearLRT2,500FunctionServicesAnnual lamp run time
Mechanical Ventilation Runtimehrs / yearMRT2,500FunctionServicesAnnual operating hours of mechanical ventilation system
Net Lettable Aream2NLA1,000FunctionAreaThe sum of all lettable areas within a commercial type office building
Pavement Aream2PA62,500,000FunctionAttributePavement Area
Project Occupancy#P_O10ProjectOccupancy of the entire project
Storage Volumem3SV2,000FunctionAttributeStorage Volume
Stories#ST1DesignNumber of stories (or levels) in the building
Tenancies#TE1FunctionAttributeNumber of tenancies
Treated Area - Coolingm2CA900FunctionServicesInternal area conditioned by mechanical HVAC plant equipped to cool
Treated Area - Heatingm2HA900FunctionServicesInternal area conditioned by mechanical HVAC plant equipped to heat
Treated Area - Mechanical Ventilationm2MA1,000FunctionServicesInternal area conditioned by mechanical HVAC plant equipped to heat
Unenclosed Covered Aream2UCA200FunctionAreaThe sum of all such area at all building floor levels, including roofed balconies, open verandahs, porches, porticos, attached open covered ways alongside buildings, undercrofts and useable space under buildings, unenclosed access galleries (including ground floor) and any other trafficable covered areas of the building which are not totally enclosed by full height walls
Usable Floor Aream2UFA1,000FunctionAreaFully enclosed building area
Vacancy Rate0%VR0FunctionAttributeVacancy Rate
Vehicle Spaces#VS40FunctionAttributeVehicle Spaces
Work Stations#WS2FunctionAttributeNumber of workspaces and/or bedrooms in the building
Green CE Blog Banner

Partnering with Green CE in America

As we continue pushing the boundaries of sustainable design, we continue asking the tough questions and pursue the complicated answers.


  • “It’s all very well to add more concrete to the slab to get the thermal mass of the building up, but is the embodied carbon in that extra concrete creating more of a problem than the saving my air conditioning is worth?” 


  • “I could build using this amazing light weight recycled material, but if it only lasts half the time and I have to keep replacing it should I just stick with a traditional more durable product?” 

or even

  • “I can build this big 10 star eco house but there’s only going to be two people living in it, so would I be better off building normal regulation compliant townhouses?”

The answers to these questions lie in Life Cycle Design.

The building industry is rapidly turning to LCD to answer these pointy, yet incredibly important questions. Questions that our clients, our conscience and our own curiosity are asking as we strive to achieve something quantifiable better in design.

Life Cycle Design has formed the basis of British and European standards for calculating environmental impacts of buildings with most of the large Green Building Councils and other progressive design guides around the world integrating LCD into their existing rating schemes. Over the last year alone we’ve been involved with international frameworks One Planet Living and The Living Building Challenge as well as the Green Building Council of Australia’s GreenStar program a little closer to home.

eTool LCA® was created almost four years ago by Rich and Alex to make LCD accessible to anyone and everyone looking to answer these tricky questions and get a quantifiable improvement in their designs. Since then eTool LCA® has been utilised on projects ranging from small shop fit outs through to large commercial and infrastructure projects. With over 900 registered users globally, eTool is now starting to realise the dream of seeing everyone use LCD as a standard design philosophy for genuinely sustainable buildings.

To help get the word out, we are running a webinar for GreenCE in the US on Wednesday 9th October which will summarise Life Cycle Design and offers the following learning outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe how LCA applies to the built form.

2. Explain the limitations and boundaries of LCA in analyzing the built environment.

3. Define how LCA can be integrated during design alongside standard ESD.

4. List low carbon design principles.

5. Consider what the future holds for LCA

It’s a great opportunity  for AIA and LEED professionals to understand more about the practical applications of LCS in their industry and pick up some professional development points along the way!

Click on the Eventbrite link below to RSVP online today.


If you’re in Australia, or another time zone, but not too keen on getting up at 3am to join in, then please get in touch as we run regular webinars and online events and are always keen to share our knowledge.