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Big News for Low Carbon Infrastructure

eTool achieved an IMPORTANT MILESTONE in March 2022 and we’d like to share some GOOD news with you:

Approval of eToolLCD by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia

eToolLCD (v18) has received official ISC Approval as ‘equivalent’ to the Infrastructure Sustainability Materials Calculator (ISMC v2.0.08) when configured in-line with the processes detailed in the ‘Equivalence Procedure’. eToolLCD can be used to conduct the Materials lifecycle impact measurement and reduction credit (RSO-6) within an applicable IS Rating submission.
eTool Product Team produced the Alignment Report and the ISC Equivalence Procedure which were reviewed and validated by the ISC Technical Advisors to ensure a robust comparison at an asset and material level (GWP and EnviroPoints) as well as functionality aspects.
eToolLCD provides additional processes enabling users to model and optioneer with greater accuracy and explore more low impact design options. eToolLCD was recognised for having a rich feature set to speed up the modelling process and allow integration with BIM / LCC.

This is very exciting because now ISC projects in Australia can complete an LCA and report on the RSO-6 credit and it’s a great time saving bonus to have.

 

If you are working on a ISC project, check this Guidance out and learn how to conduct an LCA for RSO-6 credit in eToolLCD.

 

Access free eToolLCD infrastructure training HERE.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here for you.

 

Warehouse benchmark – LEED certified projects

eTool has developed a warehouse benchmark study in collaboration with CTE, a Brazilian Engineering and Consultancy firm, following the growing demand for Life Cycle Design services in LEED certified projects. 

The objective of this study is to share benchmarking results, deep dive on project hot spot areas, identify the best improvement strategies and assist design teams to set impact reduction targets at concept stage. 

LEED is helping drive the use of Life Cycle Assessment in construction and this study encompasses the final design of seven warehouses in Brazil that were assessed according to the Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction credit (MRc1 – Option 4 – Whole Building LCA).

The size of these projects vary between 62,818 m2 and 6,128 m2. Functional equivalence comparison also considered an average height of 13.6m.

The LCA credit is focused on project´s core, structure and enclosure materials impacts and the reduced scope includes the following life cycle modules:

  • A1-A3 – Product Stage
  • A4 – Transport
  • B1-B5 – Use, Maintenance, Replacement
  • C1-C4 – End of Life

eToolLCD software was used to conduct the study using Life Cycle Strategies North American v17 Life Cycle Inventory, compliant with EN15804 and ISO14044. The impact assessment method is CML – IA baseline V4.5. Service life is 60 years.

The construction scope covers the complete building envelope and structural elements, including footings and foundations, structural floors, columns, beams, structural wall assembly (from cladding to interior finishes), external doors, glazing, and roof assemblies. Estimated demolition impacts are also included. 

LEED certified warehouse (Brazil) – Carbon benchmark

Typical warehouse construction in Brazil uses reinforced concrete footing and piling, concrete slab, prefabricated concrete columns and beams, rendered concrete block walls, concrete panels or steel cladding, steel roof structure and insulated steel roof covering. 

The majority of the materials´impacts are associated with concrete and steel. The use of clinker replacement in cement is becoming more common and partial use of blast furnace slag was assumed in concrete mix for foundation and structural floors. Above average percentage of high recycled content in steel reinforcement was also considered as part of the benchmark model. These assumptions will help drive change in the segment as they become more common and are now considered typical practice for LEED certified projects.

LEED warehouse (27859 m2) – material inventory summary

 

LEED warehouse benchmark – EN15978 table (reduced scope)

Good structural design can significantly reduce embodied carbon, especially when different scenarios are tested at concept stage. Not only evaluating the impacts of materials but also the effect of different construction methods and technologies. eToolLCD users can quickly assess warehouse environmental impacts at concept design stage using whole warehouse template (component level) available in the software. Note this custom template is developed following LEED credit requirements and covers a limited scope. eTool encourages a whole of project analysis including all life cycle stages and full construction scope. This allows early stage analysis to help inform design teams test different scenarios and potential improvement strategies before progressing to detailed design stage.

For more information please contact us.

RapidLCA App for Housing

eTool has recently delivered a new app for rapid life cycle assessment of houses. RapidLCA streamlines the sustainability assessment of lower density residential buildings. It is aligned with ISO standards for Life Cycle Assessment and CEN standards for the sustainability assessment of buildings.

We are extremely excited about this very ambitious project, the goal was to deliver a mobile app that could conduct a comprehensive, standards compliant LCA in under 20 minutes.  Incredibly that’s what we’ve achieved and we think there’s still a lot of room for making even easier and/or faster.

We expect there is a great application at the local government level as well to support planning requirements and decarbonise residential buildings. Because the assessment is performance based and not prescriptive it enables the largest environmental improvement at the lowest capital cost to development applicants (and often lower life cycle costs).

Simply navigate to RapidLCA.com in any browser to access the app.

Download the RapidLCA presentation here.

Please see the below videos that explain the overview and present a couple case studies:

 

Introduction:

 

 
 Case study (Land developer) – Witchcliffe Ecovillage:
 
 
  Case study (Local Government) – City of Vincent WA AU:
 
 
 

 

LCA in Sustainable Infrastructure

This article provides an insight into the latest sustainability policies and regulations that have integrated the Life Cycle Design approach. Continue reading

LCA and UKGBC Net-Zero Framework

Given the recent movements in the climate justice campaign, the release of UKGBC Net-Zero Carbon Framework in April this year has been very timely. Although we have seen various “net zero” definitions in the UK in the past (such as the scrapped zero-carbon homes targets under building regs over 10 years ago) it feels this time the general idea has more industry backing with 100s of architects, structural engineers and councils formally declaring a climate emergency.

The UKGBC definition is an interim step on the pathway to assessing full life cycle impacts. It introduces embodied carbon in materials (A1-A3), their impacts for transport (A4) and constriction (A5) alongside operational energy (both regulated and unregulated emissions).

ukgbc net zero

Figure1: UKGBC Net Zero Carbon definition (April 2019)

 

Unfortunately, it does not go as far as full LCA yet with the idea that it simplifies the work and encourages uptake. However, module B1-B5 presents a large chunk of CO2e that will be missing from the calculations. Typically B1-B5 can be responsible 500-1000 kgCO2e/m2 over 60 years and ignoring these impacts will lead to good potential design opportunities being missed. Onsite renewables such as PV will be replaced over the life cycle and whilst the energy that they offset will be included in B6 the embodied impacts of their replacements are not. There are plans to increase the scope in future updates and it is encouraging to at least see some level of joined-up thinking between operational energy and construction embodied carbon. This will no doubt drive some improved design outcomes as design teams can assess the relative merits of strategies that impact on both energy and construction impacts such as thermal mass or triple glazing.

Modelling in eToolLCD
There are two choices of dataset groups in eTool currently. Either BRE IMPACT data or eToolLCD default data (regionalised data available for UK, EU, Aus, NZ and USA regions). Both can be used to model net-zero under the current definitions however if future expansions include modules C and D then eTool default data would be preferred.

 

ModuleUKGBC Net Zero ConstructionUKGBC Net Zero OperationalUKGBC Net Zero Whole of Life (Yet to be Finalised)BREEAM 2018 (IMPACT)eTooLLCD
ConstructionA1-3 Product Stage 118698-32  118698-32 118698-32 118698-32
A4 Transport of Equipment and Materials 118698-32  118698-32 118698-32 118698-32
A5 Construction 118698-32  118698-32 118698-32 118698-32
Use StageB1 Products in Use 118698-32 (1) 118698-32 118698-32
B2 Maintenance  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
B3 Repair  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
B4 Replacement  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
B5 Refurbishment  118698-32 (1) 118698-32 (1) 118698-32
B6 Integrated Energy Use 118698-32  118698-32 118698-32 (1) 118698-32
B6+ Non-Integrated Energy Use (Plug Loads) 118698-32
B7 Water Use & Treatment  118698-32 (1) 118698-32 (1) 118698-32
End of LifeC1 Deconstruction & Demolition  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
C2 Transport of Waste Offsite  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
C3 Waste Processing  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
C4 Disposal  118698-32 (1) 118698-32 118698-32
Benefits and Load Beyond the System BoundaryD1 Operational Energy Exports  118698-32 (1) 118698-32 (1) 118698-32
D2 Closed Loop Recycling  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
D3 Open Loop Recycling  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
D4 Materials Energy Recovery  118698-32 (1) 118698-32
D5 Direct Re-use  118698-32 (1) 118698-32

Figure 2: Scope of Carbon Assessments

Below are the impacts in kgCO2e/m2 for a typical medium density office building. (Note B6 energy impacts assume today’s grid (0.25kgCO2e/kWh) applied over the 60 year life cycle. Note the RICS Whole Life Carbon for the Built Environment Professional Statement is provided as a reporting reference, this level of reporting is simple to pull from eToolLCD using our All Impacts Report

Results

Figure 3: Typical medium density low rise office building 

 

Impacts associated with construction represent a third of the total.  This is significantly higher now than in previous years when the UK grid was 0.6kgCO2e/kWh and usually made up 80-90% of life cycle impacts had that the grid has a lower.  However, there is still a large chunk impacts missing from the guidance in the form of replacement and maintenance (B2-B5) which can be 500-1000 kgCO2e/m2.

Once quantified the design team can start to consider strategies, some examples are shown below.  Without strategies, 1.755 tonnes/m2 of CO2e would need to be offset in a typical office. For net zero the cost of implementing these strategies will need to also be weighed up against the cost of purchasing offsets.

Strategies

Offsets come with varying degrees of quality, cast and “additionality” arguments. The offset schemes referenced by UKGBC (Gold standard and Clean Development mechanism) carry a cost of between £0.6/tonne and £14/tonne. In an average office this could result in up to an extra £24/m2 or 1-2% of construction costs. However, the Greater London Authority recommends a price of £60/tonne. It will be interesting to see whether this gives the industry further incentive to implement low carbon strategies (in particular timber) early on in the design process. Furthermore, the onus will be on us LCA practitioners to improve the accuracy of our LCAs with the total kgCO2e figures resulting in a significant increase to net-zero development costs.

 

eToolLCD’s Unique Template System

One of the defining features of eToolLCD is our unique template system.  Our ever growing library contains 1000’s of construction templates applicable to all kinds of building and infrastructure projects being built across the globe. The template approach ensures:

  • Repeatable results and consistancy
  • More consistent, accurate and comparable assessments
  • Geographically more relevant
  • Continual improvement in accuracy
  • A deeper understanding of construction make-ups and hotspots

Templates can contain high levels of detail, inputs and assumptions, work that is not only fully referenced and transparent but shared across the entire eTool community to utilise, adapt and improve on

You will almost always find a template that matches or is close to matching your specifications however, the templates are fully adaptible, users can clone and adjust templates to make the required updates.  These can then get added to the library for the rest of the eTool community to use so, every project gets completed in eToolLCD makes LCA quicker and easier for the next project!

Each template will include any number of materials, people and equipment entries with each individual entry having pre-selected LCA variables.

These are combined into complex whole make-ups such as the below, curtain walling insulated spandral panel:

Caurtain Walling

The user inputs the area of the panel in their project and the tempalte system autoamtically calculates the capping, mullions, transoms, fixing brackets, framing, glazing and insulation based on the proportions used to build the original tempalte.

So, users simply need to match their construction specification to the corresponding template and populate the approriate areas/quantities. This means that complex LCA models containing 100s of material entries can be built quickly from only a small number of basic inputs (floor area, wall area, roof area etc).

Hear what some of our users say about our template system.

“eToolLCDs prebuilt templates made it relatively easy to build up the baseline LCA model and then quickly compare different design options”

Ben Carr, AECOM

“The software works well, and the predefined templates that are selected to describe each building element align well to the architectural specifications.”

Anthony, ADW Developments

“The template approach to etooLCD software means that the initial process of formulating a baseline model is relatively quick, so time can be focussed on assessing options and recommendations.”

Peter, CHB Sustainability

For a detailed demonstration of our template system check out this video from our support pages.

 

 

Related Posts:
Creating Templates
Automated Reporting

eToolLCD Automated Report Branding

eTools automated reporting allows users to quickly produce high-quality reports from their models without the need to adjust and edit in word.  Having produced many early LCA reports manually in the early days we understand the frustrations that arise from copying into spreadsheets, word reports, formatting, finding errors and re-working.  We highlighted this is a big drain on resources that would be much better spent improving the actual quality of the modelling, recommendations and engaging design feedback. You can read more and see examples of our growing suite of automated reports here.

We also understand that users have their own branding and like to put their stamp on reports issued to clients.  Our reports can be downloaded in either word, pdf or excel formats allowing users to make edits and format as they wish.

For Specialist subscribers users we have introduced branding of reports, from a users profile they can upload their logo.

company logo

 

The logo then feeds through to the title page and header of the reports run from the users’ models.

report example logo

 

Freeing up your time to focus on the really interesting parts of your LCA studies!!

 

Related Posts: Setting Up Your Profile, Automated Reporting

eToolLCD Timeline

eTool has risen from humble beginnings to become a global force in low carbon design.  This wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t taken the quality of our software seriously.  The timeline below captures just some of the eToolLCD achievements and milestones.

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  • eTool Quality System ISO 9001 Certified

    eTool Quality System ISO 9001 Certified

    Following on from our initial ISO 9001 certification in 2019 eTool recently successfully pass the first year surveillance audit.  Compass Assurance Services found no major non-conformances and the audit report may be downloaded here. eTool’s 9001 certificate can be downloaded here and the certification is registered with JAS-ANZ.

  • eTool Quality System ISO 9001 Certified

    eTool Quality System ISO 9001 Certified

    eTool has always taken quality seriously, from our earliest beginnings we actively sought feedback on our product and services and have embedded continuous improvement into our DNA.  Earlier this year we decided to formalise our Quality Management by employing Compass Assurance Services to certify our systems against ISO 9001:2015. eTool founder and..Read More

  • PAS 2080 Audit – Eiffage Kier

    PAS 2080 Audit – Eiffage Kier

    As part of their ongoing quality management process, HS2 joint venture Effiage Kier (EK) contracted Lloyd’s  Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) to undertake a PAS2080 audit on their GHG reporting, processes, systems and tools.  PAS 2080 is an environmental protection standard for carbon management in infrastructure and includes requirements for effective governance..Read More

  • eToolLCD used for EPD Australasia Study

    eToolLCD used for EPD Australasia Study

    eToolCLD has been used by experienced Life Cycle Assessment practitioner Andrew Moore of Life Cycle Logic to complete a whole building Environmental Product Declaration.  The study was independently reviewed by Rob Rouwette of start2see Pty Ltd and was registered with EPD Australasia.  This is one the first whole building EPDs completed..Read More

  • eTool Engaged by HS2

    eTool Engaged by HS2

    After an extensive and comprehensive tender selection process eToolLCD was selected by HS2 to measure, reduce and report on carbon emissions, materials efficiency and wider embedded environmental impacts.  This demonstrated eToolLCD’s successful application to the infrastructure sector as well as the maturity of our software, security, commercial stability and quality assurance. HS2 is Europe’s..Read More

  • BRE Impact

    BRE and IMPACT Compliance

    BRE (UK) administer the Integrated Material Profile And Costing Tool (IMPACT) specification for building LCA tools which is understood to be the first software certification system by which eToolLCD could be formally externally assessed. The IMPACT compliance route was opened to developers in October 2013. In 2014 eTool signed a non-disclosure..Read More

  • EN15978 Alignment

    EN15978 Alignment

    eTool released a product roadmap in late 2012. One of the first large development projects for eTool LCA was alignment with international standards. This work was undertaken from August to November 2013. EN15978 alignment was achieved with our late 2013 release which also brought all remaining eToolLCD calculations into compliance..Read More

  • AusIndustry Grant and Third Party Review

    AusIndustry Grant and Third Party Review

    In 2012 AusIndustry awarded eTool with a grant to complete a full commercial proof of concept solution for global release. Under this project eTool completed a second independent “third party” review process. This time internationally regarded carbon accounting practitioner Ben Rose, from “Greenhouse Gas Calculator” was commissioned to undertake the..Read More

  • Australian Universities for Review eToolLCD

    Australian Universities for Review eToolLCD

    From an early stage of development we were acutely aware of the need to ensure our software was accurate, repeatable, transparent and audit-able. At the time our release there were no available certification processes for LCA software. We approached two universities in Western Australia with highly regarded schools focussing on..Read More

 

 

 

 

 

eToolLCD Certification Service

Background

Ever since the early days of eTool we highlighted one of the risks to widespread LCA adoption is the varying levels of quality in building LCA models and subsequent loss in confidence of the results and conclusions drawn.  To mitigate this we have ingrained a formal certification process provided inclusive within your subscription/project access fees.  During the certification process, a senior eTool LCA practitioner is made available to your project for the purposes of:

  • Assisting the LCA team with completing the study in compliance with relevant standards (we have now completed over 400 projects for BREEAM, LEED and Green Star so will ensure the model is completed to the correct requirements and no hold ups occur during the BREEAM/LEED/Gren Star verification).
  • Providing credit for “3rd party verification” under BREEAM 2018.
  • Reducing the risk to your clients and elevating the professionalism of your service by peer-reviewing your LCA study to ISO 14040 and ISO14044 standards.
  • Assisting the LCA team with challenging concepts or modelling requirements.
  • Improving the LCA teams efficiency in completing LCA/LCCs using eToolLCD.
  • Providing the LCA team with potential strategies that may be worth considering to reduce the impact of the design.

The certifier will be “suitably qualified” to undertake peer reviews having as a minimum:

  • Completed at least 3 paid for LCAs within the last 2 years
  • eToolLCD advanced training course
  • Experience or qualifications in interpreting construction documentation

The certification system ensures that consistent, high-quality LCA studies are produced from the eToolLCD software. This lends further credibility to your work when clients see the eTool brand on your reports.

The certification is provided for up to 6 designs within an eToolLCD Building or Infrastructure entity. These designs may be very early stage models, or later stage complete LCA/LCC models or a combination, typically:

  • Concept Design Stage Base Model
  • Concept Design Stage Improved Model(s) (including all options modelled for BREEAM)
  • Concept Design Stage Final Model
  • Technical Design Stage Base Model
  • Technical Design Stage Improved Model(s) (including all options modelled for BREEAM)
  • Technical Design Stage Final Model

eTool understand that good LCA/LCC modelling is an iterative process and will be on-hand from the outset to provide assistance and answer any questions surrounding the modelling and certification.

Certification

Process:
1. eToolLCD user submits initial model/s for review
2. eTool staff complete QA / QC Checks on eToolLCD model/s and provides feedback
3. eToolLCD user complete / update eToolLCD model/s
4. eToolLCD user submit final model/s for certification
5. eTool staff completes certification (and clones model to BRE account if required)

Inclusions:
– An independent review of the eToolLCD designs (6 or less) conducted by a competent LCA practitioner commenting where applicable against each project, structure and model quality checks. As a minimum, the following is reviewed:

– In addition to ISO14040 and ISO 14044 quality checks the certifier will also review the following for both baseline models and optioneering models, in line with BREEAM 2018 requirements

  • Material quantities are within +-10% of those shown in design documentation (both concept and technical design stage models)
  • Where default figures for product service life, transport distance and construction waste have been adapted from generic material default values, there is adequate justificationa dn references.
  • Adhesives are inlcuded if cover more than 20% of materials surface
  • Study period of 60 years

Deliverables:
– eToolLCD Certifier Review Statement documenting checks made, comments and user responses using the certification checklist. See example report here.

– Phone/email/weblink support throughout the process

For further information see eTool terms and conditions

Eiffage Kier and eToolLCD PAS2080 Audit

As part of their ongoing quality management process, HS2 joint venture Effiage Kier (EK) contracted Lloyd’s  Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) to undertake a PAS2080 audit on their GHG reporting, processes, systems and tools.  For the past year EK have been using eToolLCD to model, baseline and improve the whole life carbon of their respective HS2 assets. 

PAS 2080 is an environmental protection standard for carbon management in infrastructure and includes requirements for effective governance and leadership, quantification of greenhouse gas emissions, target setting, reporting, information management and continual improvement. 

The PAS promotes reduced carbon, reduced cost infrastructure delivery, more collaborative ways of working and a culture of challenge in the infrastructure value chain through which innovation can be fostered. It includes requirements for all value chain members to show the right leadership and to establish effective governance systems for reducing whole life carbon through the use of a detailed carbon management process. “

(PAS2080:2016)

The overall structure of GHG reporting within PAS2080 largely follows the modular approach defined in EN15978 – the European standard on how to measure the environmental performance of buildings.

Capture

Capture

The PAS2080 audit demonstrates EKs ability to quantify, compare and improve the life cycle environmental impacts of their infrastructure projects.

Spanning several months, LRQA undertook a rigorous technical review process that goes beyond PAS2080 and also incorporates ISO14064-3 Specification with guidance for validation and verification of greenhouse gas statements.  Both EKs systems for data gathering and aggregation as well as eToolLCD modelling software have been extensively assessed against LRQA requirements, including the following:

  • Gap analysis
  • Design team collaboration
  • Management systems and policies
  • Internal quality assurance
  • Database reliability
  • Calculation methodologies
  • Testing procedures

This can be a daunting process however the transparency of the systems and procedures in place at both EK and eTool has provided effective documentation to satisfy the LRQA audit. The following eTool policies and procedures were interrogated with particular detail.

  • eTool quality management policy
  • eTools data validation processes
  • eToolLCD Regression Testing Methodology and Practices
  • eToolLCD Error Handling
  • Cybersecurity incident response plan
  • Data Breach Response Plan
  • eToolLCD Patterns and Practices
  • eToolLCD Development and Deployment Procedure
  • Software Delivery Methods
  • Disaster recovery plan

Another big part of effective LCA reporting is multidisciplinary collaboration (eTools Enterprise feature is perfectly set up for effective LCA collaboration). A good LCA will involve input from a wide range of expertise including change estimators, planners, designers and operation managers.    Further opportunities have been presented for EK, eTool and our stakeholders to learn and continually improve the quality of our LCA modelling and reporting.

“PAS2080 accreditation is at the forefront of innovative verification schemes. Early in 2018, Eiffage Kier subscribed to eToolLCD software to help facilitate carbon quantification and management in a full Life Cycle Assessment. Having eToolLCD not only achieves significant BREEAM credits but has helped Eiffage Kier achieve PAS2080 verification as a designer working on HS2, Britain’s largest infrastructure project.

Using eToolLCD’s user friendly software, we have produced a variety of carbon assessments – ranging from full, contract-wide baselines to smaller carbon quantification – in asset balanced scorecards for different design methods. This has helped save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide, in turn helping EiffageKier move towards a 50% reduction in embodied carbon.

eTool’s proactive approach to responding to LCA queries from the Eiffage Kier team has helped deliver a compliant life cycle assessment report in line with various standards including PAS2080. eTool’s in house assurance on published life cycle assessments has also been important to the success of Eiffage Kier’s verification of PAS2080 and life cycle assessments. The output from our partnership has been instrumental in providing our stakeholders with confidence in both our methods and our data.”

Matthew Pygott – Carbon Assessment Engineer

Eiffage Kier JV, HS2 Team

 

For further information on PAS2080, the audit or if you are working on infrastructure projects and looking to further understand their CO2e impacts please contact info@etoolglobal.com