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 globally and represents both a milestone for eToolLCD and the progression of EPDs. The EPD can be downloaded here.
All timeline stories.
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 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 Co-CEO reflects on the process:
“Solving problems is what eTool do. We apply that philosophy everyday, be it helping to solve a problem as big as climate change, or shaving microseconds off eToolLCD response times. Being able to have our quality management system formally recognised is rewarding. Compass Assurance Services were really thorough, they went pretty deep. Although we had things pretty dialled there was certainly some really valuable learnings from the process, we’re an even better business for it.”
The 9001 certification adds to the extensive efforts and achievements of eTool in technical assurance with third party input. Read more about our assurance milestones here.
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 largest infrastructure project, designed to increase capacity on the UK’s railways and improve connectivity between eight out of 10 of Britain’s biggest cities, creating thousands of jobs and rebalancing our economy. The scale, strategic nature and high profile of the project required a robust selection process during which vendors were rigorously assessed, with eToolLCD emerging the preferred supplier. More info here.
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 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. “
In February 2019 Effiage Kier, using eToolLCD were verified as PAS2080 compliant as a designer on stage one HS2. More info here.
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 agreement with BRE for the purpose of exchanging information and ultimately having eTool LCA tested for IMPACT compliance. In late 20156 eTool was recognised as IMPACT compliant. More information on the Impact Specification here.
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 with ISO14040 and ISO14044. This work was prompted by the uptake of LCA by the Green Building Council of Australia in their Green Star Rating tool. This additional market opportunity gave us the commercial confidence to proceed with this development project.
EN15978 Compliance Externally Tested
In late 2013 and early 2014 the consulting arm of eTool conducted three EN15978 compliant LCA reports using the eTool LCA software. These studies were reviewed by Tim Grant from Life Cycle Strategies. Whilst the review process was not conducted on the software itself, during the review process the results, methodology and background data were all scrutinised. All three LCA studies were found to be compliant with EN15978 with the following minor exceptions:
- Impacts relating to life cycle phase B1 have not been quantified as the standards dictating their calculation are yet to be published (CEN TC 351). Presently impossible to strictly comply to this part of the EN15978.
- The reported environmental indicators are not all inclusive according to EN15978 recommendations. However, those indicators not reported are highlighted and reasons for not reporting are included in the report.
- The life cycle phases of B2-B5 (maintenance, repair, replacement and refurbishment) have been aggregated in report. All life cycle phases are however included in the scope of the report and hence the overall results are not affected by this deviation from the requirements of the standard.
eTool LCA was quickly used successfully by our broader user group in a number of studies requiring EN15978 compliance.
EN 15978 – Background history and how it works.
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 review. The scope of this review process was:
- LCA Scope Verification
- Testing of algorithms
- Data Verification
- Overall LCA Result Comparisons with other LCA reports
- Assistance in improving accuracy of the above items
The testing was limited to greenhouse gas calculations, this being the area of expertise for the reviewer and the primary goal of eTool. Although the software was found to require little or no improvement in the initial review, we undertook with the reviewer to identify and implement further improvements. The reviewers confirmation of this review process can be viewed here.
My assessment of eTool software was that it required little or no improvement to scope and accuracy to be suitable for commercial release and the results being generated from eTool compared well with studies of similar buildings.
More information about the reviewer is available here: http://www.ghgenergycalc.com.au/authors.html
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 environmental design to review the eToolLCD prototype:
- Curtin University – Sustainable Policy Institute (CUSP)
- Murdoch University
Both groups of researchers were allowed free access to the prototype software as well as an under-the-hood look at the algorithms and methodologies. Peter Newman, distinguished professor of sustainability, confirms the findings of the researchers during this review process below.
“Urban areas are responsible for the largest majority of the planet’s carbon emissions. If we are to successfully reduce the threat of climate change we need to understand and improve the carbon impacts of urban developments. This is necessary to be competitive in the new green economy as well as saving money for ordinary householders and business people.
Our studies have found that there are only a limited number of tools currently available to measure and model carbon emissions and carbon consequences of design variations in urban settlements. eTool is highlighted as an outstanding example. eTool enables us to truly quantify, compare and then improve the carbon footprint of the built form in urban developments.”
The researchers were impressed and included eTool LCA in a study to compare carbon assessment software packages and systems from around the world.
eTool LCA Recognised as Outstanding
One of the outcomes of the review by Curtin Universities Sustainable Policy Institute (CUSP) and Murdoch University was a paper published in the International Journal of Climate Change, Volume 4, Issue 4. The paper (Beatie et al, 2011) highlighted eTool as one of two outstanding examples for carbon assessment of urban developments. The paper included a review of more than 34 globally available tools applicable to this level of carbon accounting. The study can be accessed here.
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