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.

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.


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


More Psaros developments:

The Green Swing Wins National HIA Award

We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to The Green Swing, whose developments have recently won the 2014 HIA GreenSmart Townhouse/Villa Development Award!

The Green Swing was started by a group of passionate Perth residents who decided to build their low carbon houses on a small plot in the Victoria Park suburb. They have won a number of awards due to their impressive environmental performance for the development. Check out their case study from their life cycle assessment on our projects page here.

A few other eTool clients also made it to the list of HIA GreenSmart awards. Congratulations to all! Check out the full list here.


The Green Swing - 2014 HIA GreenSmart Townhouse/Villa Development Winner

eToolLCD Data Update

eToolLCD Data Update

A host of new materials have been added to eToolLCD recently to enable even more design flexibility. As well as the new data, existing materials and energy processes have been updated also to achieve greater data consistency and accuracy. All the datasets are now based on AusLCI and the Ecoinvent 2.2 background modified with AusLCI inputs. Most figures for Global Warming Potential (GWP) are consistent with the previous background data with the exception of some outliers, key examples are listed below:
  • Timber data now includes the sequestration of carbon dioxide during the growth phase (which is then re-released into the atmosphere in end of life scenarios)
  • Copper and brass now using improved processing assumptions, decrease in global warming potential, increase in most other indicators
  • Glass fibre insulation has increased due to improved process assumptions
  • Natural polished stone has increased quite dramatically due to mapping electricity inputs back to carbon intensive Australian electricity
  • ABS, Nylon and Expanded Polystyrene impacts have all increased for GWP due to an update in processes (incumbant data was as old as 1990)
  • ​The land use figures have also changed quite a bit due to accuracy improvements in background LCI processes
We are literally in the thick of this update as I write this so still unsure of the changes at a building level. Our educated guess at this stage is any significant use of timber in a building will lead to a much greater saving in GWP compared to the older database. This may also make the benchmarks slightly tougher for some types of buildings (e.g. Residential).

Why 1% for the Planet?

I have to confess, the main reason I floated this idea with the eTool team was because I idolise Yvon Chouinard.   For those who have never heard of him he’s a climber/alpinist who started the Patagonia brand.  He’s now 76 years old so his life experiences make him a very worthy elder.  Check out the movie 180 Degrees South to get an taste. Climbers, surfers, business people and conservationists all revere him for his feats in only their own specialties, his aggregate achievements across all these disciplines is incredible. Yet, humble would have to be the most appropriate word I can muster to describe him, an incredible human.

But my lofty idea based on an infatuation with Yvon Chouinard wouldn’t have amounted to anything had the cause been anything less than noble. The 1% for the Planet cause is noble, and it’s pretty simple. A commitment to give 1% of your company’s sales to non-profits operating in the environmental space. Yes, that’s right, 1% of sales (not profit). It’s a pretty big call, and one that eTool could hardly afford to make given we’re a boot-strapped environmental software startup with very meagre financial resources. Nevertheless, we bit the bullet and joined up. Two years in I think we’re pretty happy we did. It’s a good thing to be a part of, and eTool really hope that those reading this get involved. If you need a bit more motivation, check out this intro to 1% for the Planet (featuring Yvon himself, member #1)…

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.

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 www.etoolglobal.com. 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

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.

< ENDS >

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 seewww.IMPACTwba.com.


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.

Project Achieves 6 Star Green Star Rating Using eToolLCD Software

eTool helps Umow Lai achieve a 6 star outcome through the Green Star LCA Innovation Challenge

One of the first projects to have successfully utilised the Green Star Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Innovation Credits, The University of Melbourne Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning redevelopment recently obtained a challenging 6 star Green Star Rating.

Using eTool’s Life Cycle Assessment software eToolLCD, leading Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) consultants Umow Lai obtained five innovation points that substantially contributed towards the achievement of such an impressive Green Star rating.

An EN 15978 compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report was also produced as part of the stringent Green Star requirements for the LCA Innovation Credit. EN15978 is the European Standard for assessment of environmental performance of buildings and the LCA report produced for the University of Melbourne Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning redevelopment is one of only a handful reports of its kind in Australia.

“It was great to be able to put together the full Life Cycle model of the design and get a detailed understanding of the embodied and operational environmental impacts across a range of metrics. Using eTool made what would have been a very complex process manageable and added valuable information to the project,” said Richard Stokes from Umow Lai.

While Umow Lai is one of the first adopters of the LCA Innovation Credit, there are over eight designs currently utilising eToolLCD for improvements in Green Star performance as the demand for LCA continues to advance.

eTool Co-founder and Business Development Director, Alex Bruce said: “eToolLCD’s ability to provide a complete picture of a designs environmental impacts and enable project teams to make quantifiable improvements has assisted in ensuring it’s the LCA tool of choice.”

With over fours years of experience producing LCA’s of buildings ranging from residential to infrastructure and an impressive track record for software development, eTool is a global leader in life cycle assessment of the built form.

“eTool prides itself on innovation and staying ahead of the curve, so we’ve worked hard to ensure our software is EN15978-compliant, something few other software providers in the world can claim,” said Richard Haynes, eTool Co-founder and Software Development Director.

< ENDS >

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

Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Coordinator
08 9467 1664