GBCA Green Star 2014 Incorporates LCA Credit

Last year, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) announced the launch of two Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) based “Innovation Challenges”, which challenged the industry to incorporate Whole of Building LCA (6 points), and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) (2 points) into new and registered Green Star projects.

Just this month, GBCA released their Summary of Changes to Credits report where life cycle assessment is now a draft credit offered for Green Star. The newly added Material Life Cycle Impacts credit makes up to six points available for whole-of-building, life cycle cycle assessment:

  • 4 points for realising an improvement across six environmental impact categories in comparison to a theoretical benchmark building
  • 1 additional point available for including an additional five impact categories in the analysis

This is exciting news for life cycle assessment as it signifies the growing global trend towards LCA as the preferred design and assessment method for sustainable buildings. Just last month, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) also embraced life cycle assessment in their EnviroDevelopment standards.

eTool is a leader in life cycle design and assessment through our innovative, sophisticated life cycle assessment software and consulting services and offer a range of services to best suit your needs. Please contact us if you have any queries about the new LCA Green Star credit or if you would like to discuss how eTool can assist with your Green Star project.

Watch this space as life cycle design continues to soar and eTool congratulates GBCA for another positive development in Green Star.



eTool LCA reveals 60% carbon cut for One Brighton

eTool LCA identifies dramatic carbon savings in leading UK development 

A life cycle assessment by eTool reveals UK-based BioRegional’s One Brighton project is delivering a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the average UK home with the potential to achieve up to almost an 80 per cent reduction.

The impressive findings from eTool’s in-depth life cycle assessment for the inner city apartment development were recently released to a flurry of interest during the UK Green Buildings Council’s Embodied Carbon Week.

eTool’s LCA includes the embodied carbon emissions within this pioneering mixed-use and car-free twin block development, as well as One Brighton’s day-to-day operational emissions from energy and water consumption. As with all eTool LCAs, they are conducted with eTool’s unique online software, giving international standard EN 15978 compliant outputs.

eTool has also worked with BioRegional Australia on projects such as the 5×4 Hayes Lane project located in Melbourne, which was designed in accordance to One Planet Living principles. eTool software was used to calculate and optimise the full life cycle impacts of the project. eTool can assist projects in achieving endorsement against One Planet Living.

Pooran Desai, OBE, BioRegional co-founder, said: ”The Carbon LCA carried out by eTool shed new light on our environmental strategy at One Brighton. It has given us a clearer insight into the relative importance of embodied versus operational greenhouse gas emissions which will inform our next One Planet Community. Carbon LCA has come of age and eTool are right at the forefront of this very useful approach to measuring environmental impact.”

One Brighton was completed and occupied in 2010 and eTool’s LCA was an important part of the review of its performance against the targets set in the One Planet Action Plan. The One Brighton is Bio Regional’s follow-up multi-residential project to the world famous BedZed eco-village in Sutton, South London.

Pat Hermon, lead eTool LCA engineer, said: “An LCA never fails to raise interesting design questions surrounding not only material selection but operational energy, water, transport, waste and functionality. This LCA of One Brighton is no exception, particularly thanks to the transparency of the developers and post-occupancy monitoring – an important step forwards in closing the performance gap.”


The findings from the One Brighton LCA report and the project’s sustainability credentials have received a lot of attention in the UK. Read more about the project here:

One Brighton releases 60% fewer emissions – Building 4 Change, BRE Trust, UK

One Brighton: Achieving a 60% carbon cut, aiming for 78% – UK Green Building Council

One Brighton achieves deep carbon cuts  – Global Sustain, UK

BioRegional project delivers 60% carbon savings –

eTool is watching with interest as BioRegional continues its work to reduce OneBrighton’s operational emissions in order to reach its 2020 target.


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


Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Manager
+61 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.

Edge by Psaros Wins International Property Award

Perth property developer and a long standing client of eTool, Psaros, was awarded one of the 2014 Asia Pacific Property Awards for their most recent development, ‘Edge by Psaros’. Edge by Psaros  is a 96 unit sustainable development located in Northbridge. It incorporates renewable energy technology, clever energy efficiency measures for individual homes and common areas and a long design life.

Check out this video to see what Psaros CEO, Danny Psaros and City of Perth Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi have to say about it:



eTool features in Psaros video

eTool was recently featured in a video by Psaros detailing their sustainability initiatives and partners. Check out the video and some of their projects here.




LCA shifts into the mainstream

eTool is pleased to announce its involvement with another two buildings in the Kings Square project, which have been signed up to the Green Star Innovation Challenge credit.

Broad Construction Services is building KS2 and KS4 in the Leighton Properties’ development. On site, the team is using eTool life cycle assessment (LCA) consulting and software services to assist in modelling and improving the design of the two buildings.

“The enthusiastic uptake of LCA by companies like Broad and Leighton Properties demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of sustainability, which will deliver long-term economic and environmental benefits to all stakeholders of the project,” said eTool’s Alex Bruce.

“LCA is the international standard for quantifying the sustainability of the built form so it’s fast becoming the norm for builders and developers in Australia who are serious about sustainability and who want their projects to be attractive, lasting, valuable legacies.”

LCA in Green Star – Perth leading the innovation challenge

When the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released its new “Innovation Challenges” initiative in August this year, John Holland and Cundall were quick to respond and register Kings Square One (KS1) for the credit. KS1, developed by Leighton Properties, is located on the corner of King and Wellington Streets in Perth. Part of one of Australia’s most significant CBD urban renewal developments, the building will offer 23,156sqm of A Grade commercial office space across 19 levels with 680sqm of ground floor retail.

KS1_Plaza_Image3This progressive, high profile project is targeting a 5 Star Green Star Office Design and As Built v3 rating. Through the “Material Life Cycle Impacts” Innovation Challenge, six points are made available if substantial improvement in whole of building, whole of life LCA, can be demonstrated. This is where eTool comes in. eTool has joined the team to provide LCA consulting and software services to assist in modelling and improving the design.

The guidelines surrounding the Innovation Challenge are rigorous and comprehensive, including requirements to follow European Standard EN 15978 “Sustainability of Construction Works” and International Standard ISO 14044 “Environmental management – life cycle assessment”. eTool LCA software has been specifically developed to assess the built form and is therefore well positioned to meet the credit’s requirements and, more importantly, provides rapid and valuable design input to meet targeted improvements with ease.

Find out more about the Kings Square One project >> 

If you would like to discuss the technical details of the “Innovation Challenge” or see how eTool can assist with your Green Star project, please get in touch today.


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,
Highly Commended – SodaStream,
Winner – ecostore – cleaning products,
Highly Commended – Onya Weigh bags,
Energy Saving
Winner – LiFEHOUSE Design,
Highly Commended – Ventis,
Water Saving
Winner – Caroma,
Highly Commended – Every Drop Shower Saver,

GBCA Introduces “Life Cycle Assessment”

As part of the “Green Star 2014” program of works the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has announced the launch of two Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) based “Innovation Challenges”. Providing up to 8 points in the Green Star Innovation category, the challenges will encourage the industry to incorporate Whole of Building  LCA (6 points) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) (2 points) into new and registered Green Star projects.

This is a fantastic development for the Green Building industry, the owners/occupants of the buildings and ultimately the environment. Whole of Building LCA provides a brilliant platform to understand the total ecological footprint of a building, facilitate ease of comparison against alternative designs and ultimately find ways to improve the final outcome of the project.

While forming the basis of the British and European standard for calculating environmental impacts of buildings (BS EN 15978:2011), LCA is now rapidly propagating into the industry as can be seen with its incorporation into BREEM, LEED, and now Green Star.

The integration of LCA within Green Star will provide an opportunity for organisations to get up to speed and ahead of the pack as LCA becomes mainstream.

Under the “Life Cycle Assessment: Material Lifecycle Impacts” “Innovation Challenge” a project will be potentially eligible for 6 points by conducting a Whole of Building LCA

  • 4 points for realising an improvement across four environmental impact categories in comparison to a theoretical benchmark building
  • 1 point for comparison against a real example building of similar function
  • 1 point for including an additional five impact categories in the analysis

For more details on these exciting “Innovation Challenges” please head to this link

With almost four years of delivering Whole of Building LCA’s and developing LCA software, eTool is well positioned to assist organisations looking to capitalise on this new “Innovation Challenge”.  Our proven, streamlined, accurate and cost effective process gets results and makes Whole of Building LCA easy.

eTool is able to provide “eTool LCA” software and training within your organisation, enabling you to either conduct your own LCA’s or our engineers can consult with your team to complete LCA’s on your behalf.

We anticipate that projects aiming for “five star”, and in some cases “four star” ratings, will find improvements in the required LCA environmental impacts readily achievable. This, combined with the simple and cost effective eTool LCA process, will enable access to up to 6 points in an economical fashion.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the technical details of the “Innovation Challenge” or would like to see how eTool can assist with your Green Star project.

eTool congratulates GBCA on this exciting development and looks forward to assisting in the process of making buildings better.


eTool LCA Software Updates – Autumn 2013

eTool LCA has been getting a bit of attention lately, and there’s some changes in the wind so we thought we would update everyone. An update on updates! Most of the recent changes have been updates to our libraries which are now getting pretty extensive.

New Electricity Grids

We’ve added a number of new electricity grids to our library to extend the reach of eTool LCA. The data was gained from public information which varied in quality, however where there was a discrepancy between reported direct emissions CO2 intensity, the fuel mix was updated to ensure consistency. Transmission and distribution losses are also accounted for for each individual grid, and upstream emissions associated with provision of fuels to power plants etc.

  • Ten new US grids including: Alaska, Florida, Hawai, Midwest RO, Mid East States, Northeast PCC, South East States, South West PP, Texas and Western ECC.  
  • Thirteen new European grids including: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Romania

At present in eTool software for life cycle cost calculations the electricity prices are linked to a grid, in development we are going to split this so that each grid can have a number of tariffs. We’ll also be introducing some functionality that enables a default grid to be selected at the project level to avoid the painful process of updating the grids after an operational energy template has been added.

New Water Grids

With the introduction of fresh water use as an indicator in eTool LCA, users now have the ability to calculate and compare the water footprints of their designs (embodied and operational). Further to this, the other impacts associated with water supply (take energy and CO2e to pump and treat water) are automatically calculated for users that add water use to the mix. The labelling of the “Demand” column in the operational energy section of eTool LCA is very clunky at the moment (the units state MJ or kL as we’ve got both energy use and water use in the same list) and we plan to separate this out into a new section on the design home page. In the meantime though, we’re excited about the ability to measure impacts associated with water supply and treatment and as of July 1st 2013 these impacts will be included in the standard eTool LCA scope. We’ve run some testing and there are some significant changes to the life cycle impact assessments results (particularly residential).

New Materials

Our LCA of One Brighton for BioRegional in the UK prompted a bit of an overhaul of our materials database, we’ve added a number of new material categories and individual materials (about 100 in total so too many to list). These new updates were a mix of generic LCA data (for example, much more granularity in blast furnace slag and fly ash concrete mixes) and EPD data. We’re happy to say that adding the EPD data was pretty straightforward and we’re now well and truly open for business for materials manufacturers who want to add materials to the eTool LCA database. Our stance on data quality at the moment is that as long ast he EPD has been registered with a reputable EPD program operator we will likely enter it into eTool software.  Longer term, once Europe releases the product category rules for the EcoEPD project, this is likely the methodology we will adopt. At that point we’ll give materials suppliers a 12 month grace period to update their data sets to match this standard.

Upcoming Changes:

As of 1st July 2013 we’ll be changing the way we account for a few things in eTool LCA. These changes are to ensure the decisions being driven by eTool LCA are robust. After all, it’s always been our goal that eTool LCA is used as early in the design phase as possible to make positive changes to designs, we don’t want it to be post mortem that just highlights lost opportunities!

The most significant changes will be the forward counting of electricity grid intensity figures. At present eTool LCA assumes the grids will maintain their current mix of fuels for the life of the buildings which is a very pessimistic forecast for the planet. Potentially in an LCA on buildings drawing from fossil fuel dominated electricity grids, this puts perhaps too much emphasis on reducing the use of electricity at the expense of increased gas use or additional embodied impacts. For this reason we’re going to account for depreciating fossil fuel.

Want to give eTool LCA a go? Register for your free account today!