Green Star D&AB version 1.2 Opportunities for Improvement

DAB 1.2

The Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction credit in version 1.2 has significant gaps outlined below, detailing why the B6 points cap and focus on other modules doesn’t work.

eTool disagree with the method selected for the version 1.2 of the Green Star Design and As Built as it could lead to poor outcomes for the planet. Some examples are presented below:

Example 1:

Design team works hard to identify low impact materials that reduce the overall impacts of the design by an average of 10% per indicator in the LCA credit. Operational energy efficiency is resulting in a 50% saving. This results in about 3 points in the LCA credit for materials choices and 3 points for energy (B6). They decide to install a PV system that increases the operational energy saving to 90%. They achieve 8 extra points in the GHG calculator. But the PV results in a 10% average increase in impacts in other life cycle modules in the LCA credit. So they gain 8 points, and lose 3. At this point, the low impacts materials could be removed with no effect to the total Green Star points. So the design team decides to not pursue the original low impact material choices because excluding them will make no difference to their Green Star points. Although this could be considered as an “Edge Effect” considering 20% of Australian households now have PV, in the residential space it’s not at all uncommon potential scenario, particularly when dealing with high performance buildings that are aiming for best practice.

Example 2:

Similar to example one with a different technology. Design team of a residential multi unit dwelling building has focussed on low impact materials, and is achieving a 30% reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency. They’re currently achieving 4 points in the LCA credit (1 for materials, 3 for B6) and 5 points in the GHG credit. They look into replacing the electric instantaneous solar hot water units with electric heat pumps. They find out it’s only possible with large central unit. The design changes required for the hot water ring main (additional service risers, copper ring main, pumps, insulation etc.) and the heat pump itself (including refrigerants) adds significant impacts to the materials (reduce LCA points by 1) but results in a large positive impact in the operational energy (20% saving increases GHG points by 4). Design team could now remove the low impact materials with no effect to Green Star points.

Example 3:

If the GHG calculator excludes plug loads from the assessment, projects that add technology or design features that reduce plug loads may be penalised for those features in the Green Star credits (regardless of the life cycle benefits). An example would be additional PV (not required for integrated equipment).

Example 1 and 2 are particularly problematic as they may actually drive less effort and innovation in materials etc which is against the principle of fostering optimisation in all life cycle modules.

Lack of Normalisation and Weighting in the Green Star LCA calculations:

Normalisation and weighting should be seriously considered for the points calculation. The method currently advocated in the credit (no normalisation and equal weighting) is somewhat contradictory to accepted LCA methodology. It has also already lead to some potential adverse penalties in the LCA credit.

An example that best illustrates this is the application of a large solar array on a buildings which led to an increase in ODP (more than 10%) in the characterised results. In the particular example (which we can’t publicise) when the results were normalised the reference buildings had GHG emissions equivalent to 500 Australian persons average emissions. The ODP on the other hand was 1.9 persons average emissions. So the solar array was reducing the GHG by 100’s of person’s average GHG emissions, but only increasing the ODP by 0.19 persons average emissions. So use of characterised results was effectively saying “we will reward a building more if it reduces the impacts of ODP by 0.19 person’s average emissions but increases GHG emissions by hundreds of average person’s emissions”. Potentially this would be justified if ODP was a far bigger environmental problem than GHG. Weighting could be applied to test for this (and the established weightings systems globally and in Australia seem to suggest GHG is a bigger problem). ISCA have a normalisation and weighting system which could be drawn upon by the GBCA. Similarly, BPIC established normalisation and weighting figures that could be used as a first pass by the GBCA.

Super Credit (Materials+Energy+Water) for Green rating schemes

800px-Superman_shield_small
eTool believes the “Super Credit” based on the life-cycle methodology should be adopted in the short term as an innovation credit (alternative pathway for material, water and energy) in rating schemes like Green Star and ISCA.

In Green Star, LCA could be used to reward not only “Materials” but also the ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ and ‘Potable Water’ credits when whole of building LCA is considered. Operational energy and water impacts are accounted for in separate credits within the existing rating tool – ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ and ‘Potable Water’, respectively. Given the LCA would also account for these impacts, the proposed approach uses the LCA model as a pathway to integrate all three credits. This option became known as the ‘super credit’.

Project could potentially tap into 39 points under the Green Star – Design & As Built (v 1.2) rating tool using this performance based approach:

Materials (Life Cycle Assessment):  7 Points

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Modelled performance): 20 Points

Potable Water (Performance pathway): 12 Points

This approach means that the energy and water modelling will still need to be done following the original credit description, however the inclusion of the “operational impact” data (modules B6 and B7) into the same LCA model will enable the most accurate and transparent environmental picture of a building project. Understanding how each part of the building (from material choice, water supply and treatment, up to a HVAC system selected) accounts for the total environmental performance, is a key for better design decisions. In addition, the combination of energy, water and material credits into one LCA model and quantifying points achievable via the ‘Super credit” could help to close some gaps of the Green Star Design and As Build 1.2 rating scheme.

Another rating scheme that is currently adopting the life-cycle philosophy and will benefit from it in a short term is IS – Infrastructure Sustainability.

As a member of the iSupply register with ISCA (Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia), eTool suggested the 3-in-1 LCD for materials, energy water ISCA credits. Among all rating schemes in Australia, IS rating is probably most innovative and progressive, adopting the continuous improvement processes and developing a new WWEM tool to combine water, waste, energy and materials calculators into one tool, sort of a “super calculator”.

With an LCA conducted using eToolLCD software even more IS credits could be achieved: Mat-1, or RSO-6, Ene-1, Ene-2, Wat-1, Wat-2, ECN-4, Man-6, Man-7, Lea-3, Innovation credits, resulting in up to 40 points (or almost half of the IS rating 2.0).

Super credit 3 ISCA

Siloed thinking of environmental performance leads to adverse trade offs for the planet. LCA prevents these adverse trade offs, and when coupled with a life cycle design process leads to large environmental performance improvements. There is now a strong trend in uptake of LCA for environmental decision making.

Examples below:

– In standards development: CEN was directed by the EU to produce standards for voluntary rating of sustainable buildings. They developed “EN 15978: Sustainability of Construction Works, Assessment of Environmental Performance of Buildings, Calculation Method” which is entirely LCA-centric.

– In regulation: Laws such as the 2011 Grenelle regulations in France require mandatory LCA-based environmental product labelling.

– In Green Building Rating Schemes: DGNB. LCA forms the bulk of the environmental assessment, LCC for economic and there are some tick boxes for social credit.

– A new EU rating scheme Level(s) that encourages the use of the LCA. Still early phases but it could end up being rolled out across the EU.

eTool believes the “super credit” would enable any sustainable rating scheme to progress towards the most holistic assessment methodology.

The advantages of the super credit

Good Environmental Outcomes: There is a much lower risk of negative trade-offs by integrating embodied and operational impact into the same analysis, instead of understanding the impacts of different categories separately.

More tangibility for the design team to understand the contribution of each improvement strategy and prioritise them. For example: recycled carpet vs lighting sensors vs high efficiency HVAC vs high efficiency water fixtures.

– Identifying different hot spots of a building depending on location (energy and water grids type) and building type. For example, an office building located in Victoria today (very high operational energy requirement, highly intensive grid) will likely need to focus largely on energy efficiency to improve environmental performance. Alternatively, residential buildings in Tasmania will likely have to put much more effort into materials, transport, construction, maintenance, replacement, water efficiency etc as the impacts relating to energy will be a much smaller percent of a reference buildings.

Aligned with global trend towards LCA (future-proofs the rating tool) that accounts for whole of project impact analysis.

Simplifies the maintenance of the existing calculator tools. Single LCA model to enter results from materials, energy and water.

Time-efficiency. The LCA outputs can be used to address multiple credits, not only related to the materials, energy, water, but also cost, innovation, waste, recycling content, maintenance and management decisions.

The reasons put forward for not adopting the super credit are not aligned with eTool’s experience in the application of LCA in the design process of hundreds of projects in Australia and abroad. LCA is only a “relatively coarse approach” if the practitioner is not guided on the method of underlying calculations that are applied in the LCA.

In the case of Green Star and ISCA projects there is nothing preventing the use of the same calculation methods for Operational Energy and Water that exist today (and indeed these are the figures used in Green Star and ISCA LCA studies).

Module A1 – A5 are arguably more predictable than water and energy consumption estimates (which rely on occupant behaviour). The significant challenges faced by eTool as a business who supply LCA software and LCA services to the construction sector are not generally technical in nature. For example, we’d consider the psychology of building developers to adopting strategies that the LCA identifies to improve the environmental performance of their projects to be more challenging.

We are not aware of challenges that would prevent the industry from adapting to a rating scheme using LCA as a core calculator for environmental performance (as for example DGNB have done) and offer our assistance in overcoming those challenges facing GBCA, ISCA and other rating systems.

eTool Response to the Green Star Future Focus consultation paper 2019

Green Star Future Focus
Suggested changes to the framework have been presented in the Future Focus consultation paper – Green Star for New Buildings. The industry has been asked to submit comments to the proposed changes, that include the new set of categories and credits, encourages the elimination of carbon emissions from the built environment and sets high and ambitious requirements for 5-star and 6-star projects.

It is a POSITIVE change to see the proposed integration of the categories Energy, Water and Materials into one new category called “Positive”.

Previous and new credits

For LCA devotee like eTool, it gives hope that the new rating (Green Star for new buildings) will bring the circular economy thinking within Green Star to a whole new level. It is a great chance to close gaps in the previous rating “Green Star Design and As Built version 1.2” as pointed out by eTool feedback on the Material Life Cycle Impact Reduction credit.

How each decision, like a PV system, a new material with an available EPD or water saving technology, would influence the proposed design of a green building? These options need to be modelled to provide a transparent picture of the environmental footprint of the whole project, ideally before drawings are finished and contracts are signed.

eTool believes that the previous separation of energy, water and materials is no longer necessary with the advancements in standards, LCI data sources, LCA tools available and the knowledge within the industry.

Higher requirements for 5 and 6 Star projects.

Another positive change presented in the Discussion Paper is the redefinition of the 5-Star and 6-Star requirements. It is not new to anyone, that the construction industry moved to a new level with an increasing number of Green Star certified projects. Original 4-Star and some of 5-Star projects in Australia became business as usual, which means the “Reference” needed to be redefined – and the rating required a shift to a higher level.

GBCA is aiming to have the new 5 Stars as “Net zero ready”, and 6 Stars as “Net zero carbon”.

net carbon ready and zero

In short, the “Net zero Carbon” (= future 6 Stars) must be 100% powered by renewables and reduce their embodied carbon by 20%. This cannot be done just by simply buying offsets, but through the building design improvement.

The “Net zero READY” projects will still need to reduce embodied carbon (by 10%) but won’t have to be 100% powered by renewable energy.

This is a very positive change, however a clear definition how this needs to be measured is still missing. The European standard EN15978 sets the calculation method and potential options for specific performance targets include an absolute figure (i.e. 85kgCO2e/m2/year) or a percentage reduction against equivalent code compliant design.

New Badges for Champions.

The idea of badges is great and it is a good way to encourage innovations. Supporting the GBCA badges, eTool suggested the following ideas:

  • “Super positive champion” badge for those projects that used LCA model to achieve a “Super Credit” within the new rating, integrating energy, water and materials into the same analysis.
  • “Life cycle costing champion” badge for those projects using LCC to achieve the best environmental performance at the lowest cost, and use that as a metric to prioritise improvement strategies.
  • “Full Operational Net Zero Carbon champion” badge (including building-related and non-integrated building energy use as per EN15978). More details in our Position Statement on Green Star Net Zero Label from 2016.

How can we make sure that “Net zero carbon projects” (ready or not) consider ALL GHG emissions?

Is it enough to use 100% renewables in the Scope 2 and reduce water consumption for the building operation? Is it enough to reduce the embodied carbon (in the building materials) by 10-20% and offset the remaining carbon by purchasing the NCOS certificates?

Zero carbon is a very ambitious goal and to get there the projects will need to use life cycle design from concept phase to understand the key impact areas, prioritise strategies and make sure they are economically viable. The goal is to capture as much impact as possible in the LCA scope and use the design methodology to provide full transparency on the results and support the industry to make the right decisions towards a future in balance with the planet.

What will green buildings deliver in 50 years?

life cycle design

The construction industry is going through major changes under the Green flag. The greening of building stock and infrastructure becomes more than just an idea, but a strategical attribute in developing the future of the precincts and entire cities all over the world.

The net zero carbon target is ambitious and requires that all new buildings must be operational zero carbon by 2030, and all new and existing buildings must be net zero carbon by 2050.

Transition from building better to building sustainable.

Impact reduction target is a fundamental aspect of concept design and will assist the transition in sustainable construction. Designers and experts are used to discussing energy efficiency, or kWh/m2, but very rarely there is a carbon target (e.g. 100 kgCO2 per m2 of lettable area per year) set at an early project stage (A rough carbon budget for buildings was presented by eTool in a previous blog article).

We hear more often about passive design principles, energy-efficient equipment and storage, carbon-negative materials and a combination of onsite and offsite production of clean energy. Renewable energy generation is increasing at phenomenal speed and it’s transforming the whole economy,  reducing environmental impacts related to building’s operations and manufacturing of construction products.

At a district level, buildings are being thermally and electrically integrated with the community, and energy monitoring platform can track large groups of building performance, scaling up to whole district analysis. Targets climate funding is also helping retrofit existing buildings at municipal level and replicate success cases in other regions.

Different construction sectors define green design through different indicators.

Definition of the green design varies depending on specific needs but aims to accelerate the change towards a future in balance with the planet.

Tenants are motivated by the reduction of operational costs with energy and water bills, but it can also include aesthetics and being environmentally conscious, stating that “I care” or “I am different”.

Home owners would focus on the durability of materials, life of the entire property and low maintenance cost.

Developers would probably look on environmental aspects in combination to total cost and return on investment – called a “Green per Dollar” perspective.

Finally, the precincts and local governments might go with green construction by various reasons: to encourage innovation, long-term city planning including improvement of citizen’s well-being, quality of life and environment.

Life Cycle Design as a method to look inside the black box.

Green design and performance indicators need to be transparent and standardized to satisfy major motivations of groups and individuals. The best way to fully quantify the environmental impact is by looking at the whole of project life cycle performance and using Life Cycle Design (LCD) methodology to model impacts from construction through to the end of life, including use phase impacts. Most importantly, LCD can help to understand the project functionality, and how well it is delivering the proposed primary function. LCD looks at a building through the prism of many features, holistically and over the life time. This prism includes operational energy and water, durability of materials, maintenance and wide spectrum of environmental impacts. LCD approach is combined with Life Cycle Costing to help designers understand the “Green per Dollar” feasibility of improvement initiatives and how economically sustainable the overall design is throughout its lifespan.

Life cycle thinking to build better buildings today.

There´s a global trend in the construction industry to adopt life cycle thinking and we increasingly hear terms like circular economy, cradle-to-grave or even cradle-to-cradle, closed loop recycling or designing for deconstruction. The use of Life Cycle Assessment is increasing in a number of Green Building Rating Schemes (Green Star, LEED, BREEAM, HQE, LBC), and also is the newly available life cycle inventory data, user-friendly LCA software tools, Environmental Product Declarations.

The growth in regulations within the construction industry is also observed, with planning policies mandating environmental reduction targets and improving the general industry know how. Companies are using science based targets to measure efficiency of their climate action plans and understanding how they are related to the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To meet changing requirements related to a sustainable future within the construction industry, systems and tools need to be widely used from concept stage on throughout the design development process. This will allow project teams to set ambitious environmental targets and therefore implement the life cycle approach to deliver the buildings of the future already today.

 

 

References:

UN environment – The Global Status Report 2017 – Towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector

World Resources Institute – What Is the Future of Green Building?

 

Want to learn more about eToolLCD and LCA?  Please register for our next webinar event

We hope this article was useful, stay in touch!

 

How to complete an LCA for BREEAM 2018

life cycle design

From specific products to whole project analysis, LCA is taking off globally to help project teams quantify and improve environmental performance to meet global and national impact reduction targets.  BREEAM have recognised this and the new updates to BREEAM 2018 place a heavy emphasis on the LCA approach.

  • Up to 2 credits available for completing an LCA using IMPACT.  Credits awarded depend on performance against the Bre benchmarks.  Credit is awarded at Stage 4 once detailed design information is available
  • Up to 2.66 further credits available for Superstructure options appraisals during RIBA stage 2
  • Up to 1.33 further credits available for Superstructure options appraisals during RIBA stage 4
  • 1 credit available for substructure and landscaping options appraisal during RIBA Stage 2
  • 1 exemplary credit available for services options appraisal during RIBA stage 2
  • 1 exemplary credit for alignment with LCC
  • 1 exemplary credit “3rd party verification”

Understandably this is a big step change for many design teams used to the traditional Green Guide approach.  However, significant changes are enabling LCA to become common practice for designers, including:

  • newly available life cycle data,
  • user-friendly and cost-effective software platforms,
  • collaborative development of international standards and increased transparency,
  • integration with Life Cycle Costing for economic and environmental accounting
  • LCA legislation in planning policies, EIA and government incentives,
  • increasing uptake in academic research and universities curriculum
  • professional leadership and technical know-how;

The heavy weighting of credits for Stage 2 analysis encourages design teams to consider the life cycle impacts of their buildings at early design stages. (BREEAM require evidence for this to be submitted pre-planning). Applied at project concept stage, LCA provides insight and huge opportunities for life cycle environmental and cost improvements. Performance targets can be set during project preparation and brief, “what if” scenarios are used to assist design development and a detailed report will consolidate results according to project specifications. This “disruptive” practice in sustainable design will hopefully unlock the further potential to decarbonise buildings and infrastructure.

How an integrated design process for BREEAM 2018 works?

Riba graphic

 

LCA Stage 2: Often there will be limited information available at pre-planning and a limited appetite for spending money on LCA.  This is where eTools powerful template system comes into its own.  Our whole building LCA templates allow for quick, rough and ready LCA analysis.  With only basic information the template will fill the gaps using industry average defaults, this can be analysed for hotspots and design options and updated with project specifics as the design progresses through to Stage 4.

Benchmarking:  Although the benchmarking credits do not need to be submitted until Stage 4 the benchmarking report is fully automated from eTool.  So the number of likely benchmarking credits can be analysed early on and design options can be prioritised based on what provides the greatest uplift.

LCC Alignment: Aligning the LCA and LCC is of vital importance for effective LCA work. Quantifying the costs of improvements will help teams prioritise how to get the best environmental gain for least capital spent. With our recent cost functionality, it is a simple step to extract LCC results from your LCA model and report for the Man2 credits. Simply ensure you report the same options in your LCA submission as you do in your LCC reporting.

Substructure and Landscaping:  Our templates system covers all of these elements and they can be added to the model with basic information (eg depth and width of piles or area of macadam road).

Services: Services require a separate model because the Bre IMPACT data cannot currently be used to model services.  More information here.

3rd Party:  Our certification service is provided to all users projects completed commercially as part of our standard software offering. During the certification process, a senior eTool LCA practitioner is made available to the project and will undertake all quality checks defined in BREEAM.

For further detail on how to run reports for Breeam 2018 from eTool please see our support video here.

To continue supporting this process, eTool have released the eToolLCD Enterprise subscription. Embedding LCA at an organisation level has become easier and will provide added value with centralised ownership of LCA models, inter-company collaboration for integrated design and an unrestricted number of read-only users. 

Designers that have increased demand for LCA services can choose the new Specialist subscription to work on an unlimited number of projects with a fixed software cost.

We are working hard to continue bringing innovative solutions and we are improving eTooLCD with additional life cycle inventories, enhanced Life Cycle Costing functionality and many others that you can check out by creating your account at eToolLCD.

eTool have produced a number of different articles on integrated design using LCA including latest materials comparison, reporting efficiency and additional revenue by selling LCA services. Help us by sharing with friends and colleagues.

Want to learn more?  Please register for our next webinar event

We hope this article was useful, stay in touch!

 

Life Cycle Design of Buildings: An Introduction & Application in Green Star (recorded webinar)

The use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is gaining greater recognition in sustainability assessment. An LCA credit is embedded as a core credit in the Green Star rating tools Design and As Built v1.2, Interiors v1.2 and Communities v1.1.
Points may now be easier to achieve for some projects provided there’s early engagement of LCA consultants. Points allocation have been adjusted with operational energy reductions capped. Further Additional Reporting initiatives were added with extra points available.
– Design and As Built v1.2 – up to 7 points
– Interiors v1.2 – up to 19 points
– Communities v1.1 – Up to 5 points

This recorded webinar covers the basics of LCA, the eToolLCD software, and how it applies to Green Star – LCA credit.

Top 3 reasons why you should use Performance pathway to achieve the Life Cycle Impacts credit in Green Star

“Like smartphones, trialling a life cycle analysis will have you asking how you managed before”, says Rebecca Dracup, Sustainability Engineer at Wood and Grieve Engineeers.

Green Building Council of Australia and eTool are on a mission to turn the construction industry into a low carbon sector by applying innovation and technical expertise to the projects going through the Green Star certification process.

There are two options for achieving the Life Cycle Impacts credit: Performance pathway or Prescriptive pathway. The Performance pathway is a whole of building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the reference and proposed project, aimed at increasing overall project environmental performance. The Prescriptive pathway goal is to reduce the amount of building materials used.

eTool have built expertise in using the performance pathway after working on over 60 Green Star projects since the LCA option was introduced as an innovation credit back in 2012. We´ve learned that the most effective solution to decarbonise our industry is to quantify the entire life cycle project impacts, compare and prioritise improvement strategies and understand what else is required to achieve a truly sustainable outcome. By combining the impacts for water, energy, materials, construction, maintenance and end of life, the LCA allows the design team to see the project impacts from different perspectives, how changes to one area would impact on others and help prioritise the most effective treatments. Most importantly, LCA is used to maximise functionality.

What are the additional benefits of seeing the building as a whole, or adopting the performance based pathway? These are:

  1. Design value
  2. Global trend and proven track history
  3. More credits and better cost-benefit

 Design value

Design teams get closely engaged with the Life Cycle Design process and get real clarity on environmental “hot spots” in the design and how to improve them.  Consultants feedback also suggested that having the whole project scope in a single model was a more satisfying way to document and to improve the design right from the beginning. Designers will understand whole-of-life implication of product and material selection including recurring and end of life impacts, and not only initial construction impacts addressed by the prescriptive option. Online record of LCA models in eToolLCD can be used as reference for future projects.

Global trend and proven track history

In some European countries LCA is a mandatory requirement for any new construction project. We see that it is a trend that will come to Australia too and companies should adopt before it happens. Consultants that have used the performance pathway don’t revert back. Cundall, Wood and Grieve, ARUP, Mirvac, Lend Lease and Built for example are big users of the LCA credit in Green Star.

“At Built we always recommend the LCA pathway – the assessment generates fantastic insight into the project and valuable feedback on design options. It enables us to interrogate a much wider ranger of  impacts and seek opportunities for improvement that match project specific areas of impact”, says Sustainability Engineer Clare Gallagher.

More credits and better cost-benefit

Most projects achieve the total points available. LCA credit is easier in V1.2 provided consultants engage early. The purely performance related impact reduction (energy use) is capped to prevent double counting with the GHG reduction credit and additional credits can be achieved by just showing how the LCA has influenced the design. Also, eToolLCD software allows the users to see total Life Cycle Costing that can be useful for developers and end clients.

We hope this article was useful to help you understand all benefits with developing LCA skills, how to apply it to your Green Star projects and achieve great outcomes for your organisation, your clients and the planet.

Get in touch with eTool to simply build better.

How to ingrain LCA into your design process

life cycle design

A safe environment for future generations is being designed with the increasing use of Life Cycle Assessment. From specific products to whole project analysis, LCA is taking of globally to help project teams quantify and improve environmental performance to meet global and national impact reduction targets.

Significant changes are enabling LCA to become common practice for designers, including:

  • newly available life cycle data,
  • greater importance given to LCA in green building and infrastructure rating systems (LEED, BREEAM and Green Star),
  • user friendly and cost effective softwares,
  • collaborative development of international standards and increased transparency,
  • integration with Life Cycle Costing for economic and environmental accounting
  • LCA legislation in planning policies and government incentives,
  • increasing uptake in academic research and universities curriculum
  • professional leadership and technical knowhow;

Applied at project concept stage, LCA provides so much insight and huge opportunities for life cycle environmental and cost improvements. Performance targets can be set during project preparation and brief, “what if” scenarios are used to assist design development and a detailed report will consolidate results according to project specifications. This “disruptive” practice in sustainable design is unlocking great potential to decarbonise buildings and infrastructure.

How an integrated design process using LCA looks like?

Project Stage and LCA Processes(1)

Life Cycle Design is gaining greater recognition in Green Building and Infrastructure rating systems. Early engagement of LCA consultants will identify impact hot spots and help prioritise improvement strategies that are most cost effective. LCA credits may be easier to achieve as a result of engaging early. 

To continue supporting this process, eTool have just released the eToolLCD Enterprise subscription. Embedding LCA at an organisation level has become easier and will provide added value with centralised ownership of LCA models, inter-company collaboration for integrated design and unrestricted number of read-only users. 

Designers that have increasing demand for LCA services can choose the new Specialist subscription to work on unlimited number of projects with a fixed software cost.

We are working hard to continue bringing innovative solutions and we are improving eTooLCD with additional life cycle inventories, enhanced Life Cycle Costing functionality and many others that you can check out by creating your account at eToolLCD.

eTool have produced a number of different articles on integrated design using LCA including latest materials comparison, reporting efficiency and additional revenue by selling LCA services. Help us by sharing with friends and colleagues.

We hope this article was useful, stay in touch!

 

Changes to Green Star – D&AB v1.2, Interiors v1.2 and Communities v1.1

The use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is gaining greater recognition in sustainability assessment.  An LCA credit is embedded as a core credit in the Green Star rating tools Design and As Built v1.2, Interiors v1.2 and Communities v1.1.

eTool have completed and peer reviewed over 50 LCAs for Green Star projects and we have a great group of eToolLCD users that are constantly providing feedback to improve the way we quantify and improve project performance using Life Cycle Design.

In early July 2017, Green Star released the 1.2 version for Design and As Built and Interiors rating tools and the Materials Life Cycle Impacts credit was further improved, as follows:

  • Points may now be easier to achieve for some projects provided there’s early engagement of LCA consultants
  • Projects registered with Green Star after September 2017 will need to engage early. Projects that wait until very late in the design process to begin the LCA may be limited to 4 points of the available 7.
  • Points allocation have been adjusted with operational energy reductions capped.
  • Further Additional Reporting initiatives were added with extra points available.
  • Additional guidance throughout to improve clarity and other updates.

Design and As Built v1.2 points breakdown – Up to 7 points in total:

  • Up to 6 points for performance (limited to 3 points for operational energy improvement)
  • Up to 1 point for LCA Design Review (early stage)
  • Up to 1 point for material changes informed by the LCA
  • Up to 1 point for construction process change informed by the LCA
  • Up to 1 point for reporting additional indicators
  • Innovation: 1 additional point where the cumulative impact reduction as defined within the credit is increased by 20% to a total of 150%.

Interiors v1.2 points breakdown – Up to 19 points in total:

  • Up to 18 points for performance (limited to 12 points for operational energy improvement)
  • Up to 1 point for reporting additional indicators
  • Up to 2 points for material changes informed by the LCA
  • Up to 2 points for construction process change informed by the LCA
  • Up to 2 points for LCA Design Review (early stage)
  • Innovation: 1 additional point where the cumulative impact reduction as defined within the credit is increased by 20% to a total of 150%.

Communities v1.1 points breakdown – Up to 5 points in total:

  • Up to 4 points for performance (whole of site impact reduction)
  • Up to 1 point for reporting additional indicators

The Life Cycle Design process using eTool services will now be:

  • Target Setting Study conducted at Concept Design Stage
  • Life Cycle Design Services conducted later in the design project when energy modelling has been undertaken

Note to eToolLCD users: The Indicator verse Life Cycle Phase Summary report can be used for LCA Design Review. The Target Setting report will be updated soon to include multiple indicators.

eTool hosted a webinar to present the recent changes in Materials Life Cycle credit and how to maximise design value using LCA methodology.

Stay tuned for other updates and get in touch if you need further details.

 

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.

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Media contact:

Portia Odell
eTool Marketing Communications Coordinator
08 9467 1664
portia@etool.net.au
www.etool.net.au