eToolLCD workflow

If you’re wondering how to complete your LCA models using eToolLCD you have landed on the right place. This is a basic step by step process to start a model from scratch all the way through to certification. There will be variances depending on the project type you’re modelling and the purpose of the LCA but we hope this provides a good initial guidance. You can always check the example projects in your account to compare the scope and make sure you’ve added all required project info.



  1. Inform eTool about your new project and pay the project fee (except for Specialist users who can work on unlimited projects per year).
  2. Create a project, structure and you base design (to be used as reference for comparative LCA process) in eToolLCD.
  3. Insert project information using the “Details” tab.  Be sure to use the ‘Compare Benchmark’ – eTool have created a number of Benchmark buildings; including a Residential and Office type. Comparing your design to those Benchmarks will highlight any major gaps in your Life cycle inventory.
  4. Include templates from library or customise your own templates. Make sure you customise templates in the library first, before you load them into your models.
  5. Compare the scope of your Design with the example projects and the Benchmark designs (which you can see in the eTool Library). You can also use the Construction Scope and Energy and Water Scope which are on the Project details as a checklist of items to consider in the data collection phase of your life cycle assessment.
  6. Run the Top Impacts reports – check that the usual suspects and expected items are on the list.
  7. Compare the total impacts of each building Category (Substructure, Superstructure etc) against the Benchmark – (blue bars versus grey bars)
  8. Submit your Base design  for Certification by the eTool team. This is quality assurance service and an LCA mentoring process
  9. Clone your Certified Base design to create a LCA – Scenario, often called your Improved design.
  10. Identify the strategies to reduce the Top Impacts – use the Recommendations tab to document these design improvement strategies.
  11. Implement design improvements using the “Recommendations” tab and other features like bulk swap. Make sure you record the changes so they can be automatically populated in your reports.
  12. Generate the reports automatically from the software and present to your clients:
    • Target Setting Study (preliminary design advice)
    • Design Feedback Report (design development stage)
    • Environmental Infographics (Useful for marketing and communicating to layperson)
  13. Clone the improved design into a final design and implement all confirmed design improvements.
  14. Submit final design for certification with eTool.
  15. Generate reports from Certified Final design
    • Emissions certificate
    • Infographics
    • Life cycle inventory
  16. Get out there and be proud of achieving a genuinely sustainable design outcome!

The Five Minute LCA

This is an ambitious attempt at running a 5 minute LCA in the software to show you just how quickly a carbon footprint can be calculated. Have a look at this first to understand the process and then move onto our software introduction video to get started.

Preparing for an LCA

In this video, we explore how much detail is needed to get the assessment going. The project detail request form is a spreadsheet that will be sent to clients at the start of an assessment, but it’s also a useful guide for software users to see what information they need to hand before starting their own LCA.  It can be downloaded here.

Example: Custom Road Template

This video shows you how to build custom templates so that you can add in bespoke elements to your LCA such as transport. We have used a road as an example to show you how eTool LCA can be used to analyse and compare civil structures or infrastructure.

An eTool LCA in under 5 minutes


Some people think that LCA is only for IT techs and engineers, but we beg to differ.

We’ve made our software free, easy to use and online so it’s completely accessible to everyone!

We wanted to show you just how quick it is to create an assessment for your building design, so we set Rich the task of putting together an LCA on a granny flat in under 5 minutes.

Check out our video to see if he managed it…

Using our handy templates, Rich was able to assess a simple home design and calculate both the total carbon and energy across the entire design life of the building in the following areas: materials, assembly, transport, recurring and operational.

This LCA was based on an average granny flat design with the following building specifications –

Floor Area: 60m2
Roof Area: 77m2
External Wall Area: 66m2
Internal Wall Area: 17m2
Glazed Area: 11m2
Internal Wall Paint Area: 100m2
Tiled Floor Area: 15m2
Tiled Wall Area: 5m2
Living Floor Area: 45m2

Sign up to eTool LCA today and give it a go!
Whether you already have a design to try or just want to look at the environmental impact of different materials and methods, you can find all the information in our software here.

Run An LCA Report

Once you’ve compared and improved your design, watch this video to show you how to generate your LCA results report which compares your design against an industry benchmark.

Improve Your Design

The most important part of using eTool – reducing the environmental impact of your design!!!  It’s also a very easy process, once you know where the hotspots are it’s very easy to make positive changes.  Once you’ve completed your design, watch this video to see how you can improve your original design by swapping materials or adding renewable energy systems for example.

Check Your Design

Once you’ve finished populating your design, this video will tell you how to check that you’ve included everything you need in the design by generating a completion report. Before using this report, you may want to watch the Operational Energy Wizard video to check you’ve input your operational energy information correctly.