LCAs For Buildings Now a No-Brainer

Leading LCA Software eToolLCD further brings LCA into the mainstream by offering innovative software subscriptions for easy access

eToolLCD, a global leader in life cycle design and assessment of the built form, is further bringing Life Cycle Assessment into the mainstream by offering a new range of subscription packages designed to further increase accessibility of eToolLCD, making it the most powerful, cost-effective and easy-to-use built form LCA software in the world.

Over the last two decades Life Cycle Design (LCD) and Assessment has evolved significantly and demand for LCD continues to grow exponentially. Life Cycle Design is now the premier decision-making tool for improving environmental performance and has been incorporated into green building rating schemes all over the world[1].

The LCA industry has met this demand with the introduction and alignment of international standards (ISO 14040, ISO 14044, EN 15978), improved background data sources and better software. Once strictly the domain of expert researchers and consultants, front line professionals now have the ability to harness the power of LCA to dramatically inform and improve their projects with modern streamlined tools. In particular, the building profession can now harness the renowned strengths of LCA through an intuitive and easy to access platform – eToolLCD.

Originating in Perth, Western Australia, eTool has now opened up offices in Canberra, Australia and Brighton, United Kingdom as the demand for life cycle assessment and design of the built form continues to soar. eTool has conducted the most built form LCAs in Australia and is quickly establishing themselves as built form LCA leaders around the world.

“We have seen LCD become a standard part of good design all around the world and we felt that making eToolLCD even more accessible was the next move. Everything we do with eToolLCD is designed to make it easy for anyone, located anyone in the world, to login to eToolLCD and be guided through a life cycle design approach to higher performing buildings and infrastructure. eToolLCD is the first built form LCA software in the world to adopt this open-use model, and this will always be a crucial element of our business because our goal and passion is to reduce global carbon emissions from buildings. We believe that educating people about LCD/LCA and putting an LCA software into the hands of as many people as possible will help us achieve that goal,” said Henrique Mendonça, eTool Regional Business Development Manager.

The new subscriptions can now be tailored to meet users unique requirements and they experience a range of additional functionalities associated with each of the subscriptions. Some of the benefits associated include reduced certification costs and accessibility to comprehensive built form LCA training.

“As LCD continues to take the sustainable building industry by storm, the availability of accessible and affordable tools such as eToolLCD is a crucial element to ensuring the highest performance outcome of projects around the world. We’re ecstatic to be at the forefront of the next evolution of sustainable design,” said Alex Bruce, eTool Co-Founder and Business Development Director.

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[1] Countries who have adopted LCA into green building standards: Australia, Germany, UK, France, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland & Japan.

 

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.

{#1} Why Love LCD? – Design Improvements

We love Life Cycle Design (LCD), which is why we’ve made it the core of our business.

On this 2015 Earth Day, we’re launching our ‘Love LCD’ campaign where we’ll be asking our team, and anyone who wants to join, why they love Life Cycle Design. There are lots of reasons to love it, and we hope that we can show you just how great it is.

Why Love LCD?

Reason #1: Life Cycle Assessment allows you to identify the sometimes surprising aspects of a design that can be improved.

Watch Pat Hermon talk about why he loves LCD:

 

Why do you love Life Cycle Design? Share it with us!

[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.

 

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

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 >

 

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.

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

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.

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!