The following document outlines the scope and specification of each standard eTool service. Holistic sustainability can be expressed in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability. eTool services focus on improving the environmental performance of a building or structure. This may be through improved environmental performance with the aid of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), or improved financial performance through the use of Life Cycle Cost analysis. Clients wanting to utilise eTool consultants to “rate” a structure’s performance may not find our standard services are appropriate.

Environmental Sustainability

The primary goal of eTool’s services is reducing the life cycle greenhouse gas pollution of construction projects in the most cost effective way. Most projects eTool are involved in undertake design changes during the Life Cycle Design (LCD) process in response to environmental performance feedback.

eTool’s ability extends past purely greenhouse gas reduction to other areas of broader sustainability. eToolLCD software can predict the life cycle environmental effects across a range of indicators such as:

  • Global warming potential
  • Water Stress, Depletion and Use
  • Land Transformation and Use
  • Toxicity to land, water & humans
  • Ionising Radiation
  • Ozone Depletion Potential
  • Acidification Potential
  • Eutrophication
  • Particulate Matter
  • Resource Depletion
  • Primary Energy Consumption
  • Waste Generation


The application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to predict, compare and improve these environmental factors is the most comprehensive method of ensuring improvements in environmental performance.

These impacts are assessed on a global level (apart from water stress) and where local ecological impacts are of concern to a client, other consulting services may be required.

At this stage eToolLCD does not take into account environmental impacts associated with occupant or user behaviour that are not directly influenced by the design (for example, residential occupant transport, or occupant waste generation).

Financial Sustainability

eTool also offer Life Cycle Cost (LCC) services which enable improvements in financial cost of construction assets over their lives. The primary use for LCC by eTool is to ensure that excellent environmental outcomes are achieved in the most cost effective manner.

Social Sustainability

eTool does not directly work in the area of social sustainability. This is an important distinction to make as factors that may be very important for good design such as natural daylight, community interaction, aesthetics, etc. are not the domain of eTool. Although LCD recommendations may support some social objectives (particularly on a global scale), it is wise to think of social performance separately to environmental and financial sustainability and set targets for this area appropriately.

Target Setting Study

The primary purpose of the Target Setting is to set targets for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions savings for a construction project preferably before the design has begun. These targets are established by modelling a “business as usual” version of the proposed structure based on early brief details (e.g. the purpose of the structure, approximate size, logistical considerations, regulatory limitations etc.). This LCA model is then used to identify environmental hot spots and assign strategies to reduce these. This process is conducted partially in a workshop format so that the relevant stakeholders can contribute to the strategies being considered. The effect of each strategy is estimated.

Performance based environmental targets can then be set for the project. These targets may form part of the project brief for architects and consultants and/or a commitment by the developer to support a DA.


  • Modelling of a base design which is a code compliant or business as usual building, that matches the project brief (e.g. the purpose of the structure, approximate size, logistical considerations, regulatory limitations etc.) and the project location (climate zone, electricity grid etc.)
  • Comparison of the base design to a relevant eTool benchmark against the three indicators (normally Global Warming Potential, Water and Cost)
  • Modelling of an improved design which includes:
    • Improvement strategies identified by eTool
    • If the building design has already progressed past brief stage, existing design strategies can be incorporated in the target design and associated preferred strategies list.
  • 1.5 hours meeting / workshop:
    • Discuss strategies identified by eTool
    • Modelling of additional strategies identified by the client
    • Logistical constraints associated with each strategy
    • Estimated costs of improvement strategies (accuracy between -50% and +100%).
    • Which strategies are preferred
    • What factor of safety should be attributed to the environmental savings associated with each strategy
    • What over-arching factor of safety should be applied to all the strategies to account for general uncertainty in either the base design or the strategies employed
    • Overall environmental target for the building based on preferred strategies
  • Standard “Target Setting” Summary report from the eToolLCD software including:
    • Overall environmental target/s (three environmental indicators)
    • Preferred improvement strategies to be employed to achieve the targets
    • Logistical constraints associated with each strategy
    • Reserve strategies to be employed should the preferred strategies become unsuitable during design development
    • Resultant target eTool summary rating
    • Workshop attendees


  • For designs that have progressed past the brief stage, the base design will not reflect the developed design. During the workshop however, any improvements strategies incorporated in the progressed design can be modelled and added as preferred strategies to the target design.
  • Additional meetings, presentations or off site consultations over and above the 1.5 hour workshop
  • Off site consultation with local governments or other third parties regarding the standardised “Target Setting” reports generated by eToolLCD software etc
  • Report customisation

Limitations and Accuracy:

Due to the early stage of a typical target setting exercise, the accuracy is lower than a comprehensive LCA study. Whilst the target setting process should identify all logical design improvements, regressions against ‘business as usual’, code compliant buildings are not accounted for, hence designs that progress with features that significantly deviate from code compliant or business as usual designs will not be reflected in the target setting calculations. It is recommended that a factor of safety is applied to the overall savings figures resulting from a target setting.

Life Cycle Design Services (LCD Service)

LCA is the most comprehensive and robust method of environmental accounting for buildings and infrastructure. It is governed by International Standards and requires an independent review of the study to ensure these standards are met.

The four key steps to the LCD Service are:

  1. Quantify: Life Cycle Assessment is used to quantify the entire environmental impact of your project over its whole lifespan. This ensures that any decisions you subsequently make don’t simply shift environmental impacts to a different area or phase of building or structure.
  2. Compare: Your building’s performance is compared to relevant benchmarks.  Each activity, geometric element and life cycle phase can be compared to highlight environmental hot spots to be targeted for improvement.
  3. Improve: We utilise the real power of Life Cycle Assessment by identifying, targeting and reducing environmental hot spots through improvement strategies.  Each design recommendation is modelled to ensure net life cycle benefits for the building.  The strategies may target any area or life cycle phase of the building to improve its performance.  We will identify and model up to 20 improvement strategies with the aim of a zero carbon (or very low carbon) outcome for your project.   If required, the indicative costs (initial, ongoing and end of life) of strategies can also be quantified to ensure that capital is best deployed to reduce environmental impacts.  A comprehensive LCA report is provided giving the design team the key information.
  4. Certify: An internal or external independent review is conducted to ensure the results of the LCA study are robust and the final design performance is accurate.  eTool also provide a host of useful reports that can be used to help market the building.  A suite of example reports is available on request.


  • Modelling of a base design, which is an accurate reflection of your developed design. This may be an early stage design (if you want feedback early on) or a detailed construction design.
  • The LCA model will account for all foreseeable significant contributions to the project’s life cycle environmental impacts within the EN 15978 system boundary.
  • ISO 14044 compliant LCA calculations to ensure that subsequent conclusions drawn from the LCA model are robust
  • Comparison of the base design to a relevant eTool benchmark
  • Identification of environmental hot spots and potential areas for improvement
  • Modelling of an improved design with each improvement strategy quantified in terms of its net environmental improvement
  • Up to 20 recommendations modelled with the aim of identifying the top 10.
  • 1.5 hours online or face to face consultation to discuss initial results, clarify logistical constraints of improvement strategies, discuss likely capital costs (and life cycle cost) implications of each improvement strategy, identify further improvement strategies, and finalise strategies that will be committed to ready for finalisation of the LCA
  • Four iterations of the eToolLCD model:
    • Base Design
    • Improved Design
    • Final Design
    • One optional scenario to demonstrate or test an alternative design strategy
  • An internal independent review of the LCA conducted by an eTool staff member trained in certifying projects.
  • Standard report pack from eToolLCD including:
    • LCA Summary Report
    • Greenhouse Gas Avoided Info graphic
    • Impact or Cost Time Series Report
    • Environmental Sustainability Scale Info-graphic
    • Emissions Certificate (one page performance summary)
    • Construction checklist to help ensure committed strategies are implemented
  • Optional Reports Available on Request without charge:
    • Annual Energy Costs (provided regional background data used in the study includes cost information)
    • Life Cycle Inventory Report
    • Multi-indicator Radar Chart
    • Impact Savings Summary (e.g. to show operational carbon or costs savings)
    • Impact Sankey Diagram


  • Detailed LCA model beyond the EN15978 scope (cut-off rules, data requirements, system boundary etc)
  • Consultation time over an above the 1.5 hours meeting/workshop to discuss initial results etc
  • Consultation time with local governments or other third parties regarding the project
  • Report customisation
  • Additional design scenario modelling
  • Re-modelling a significant geometric or structural change to the design unless it was identified as an improvement and implemented as a result
  • An EN 15978 compliant report
  • Full ISO 14044 compliant report
  • As built audits unless the project is randomly selected by eTool for an as built audit.

Limitations and Accuracy:

The LCA should be an accurate reflection of the expected environmental impacts of the design over its lifetime. Inaccuracies will result from changes in the design, significant changes to LCA assumptions (e.g. the GHG intensity of the electricity grid supplying a building) or the performance gap that usually exists between design and actual.

eTool audits are conducted on a set percentage of projects to ensure that eTool LCA models are accurate reflections of real life performance of buildings.   Where disparities are identified, the software and or assumptions are updated for subsequent projects. To date these audits have found a very good correlation between eToolLCD design predictions and actual building performance in operation.

Life Cycle Design Lite Service (LCD Lite)

Available for projects under $500,000 in construction costs. The eTool LCD Lite service is essentially a streamlined version of the full life cycle design service. The predominant differences are:

  • The base design take-off is derived from some basic building attributes such as floor area, ceiling height, number of stories etc. This reduces time dedicated to detailed 3D modelling and enables more focus on identifying improvement strategies.
  • Up to 10 recommendations modelled with the aim of identifying the top 5 only

EN15978 Report and Independent Peer Review

For publicly released LCA studies or where a requirement such as Green Star exists for an EN15978 compliant LCA study eTool can provide this. The EN15978 study and subsequent report is conducted in accordance with EN15878.

An independent 3rd party Peer Review will be carried out once the design, LCA model and finalised reports are completed.

Standard eToolLCD Certification

The certification service is for eToolLCD users who want to use the software commercially, or want an independent verification of their non-commercial eToolLCD models.  The certification service helps ensure that eToolLCD software is appropriately used by ensuring a high quality of user inputs.

During the certification process a senior eTool LCA practitioner will be made available to your project for the purposes of:
• Assisting the LCA team with completing the study in compliance with relevant standards
• Providing the LCA team with potential strategies that may be worth considering to reduce the impact of the design.
• Reducing the risk to your clients and elevating the professionalism of your service by peer reviewing your LCA study to ISO 14044 standards.
• Assisting the LCA team with challenging concepts or modelling requirements.
• Improving the LCA teams efficiency in completing LCAs using eToolLCD

The service fees are provided for up to six designs of one eToolLCD “structure” over different stages of a project life cycle as described below:

  1. Base Design of Target Setting LCA
  2. Improved Design of Target Setting LCA
  3. Final Design of Target Setting LCA
  4. Base Design of Final LCA
  5. Improved Design of Final LCA
  6. Final Design of Final LCA

Models 1-3 should be conducted at the very early stage of the project, preferably at the design brief stage before the buildings is even designed.  Models 4-6 should be conducted at any stage after a design has been established.

The certification process includes 60 quality checks on the LCA reference case and proposed designs spanning the following areas:

  • Temporal Relevancy
  • Geographical Relevancy
  • Precision
  • Completeness
  • Technological Relevancy
  • Consistency
  • Reproducibility

The certification scope includes up to six eToolLCD design and the user inputs validation includes:

  • Functional unit
  • Design functions check
  • Design life
  • Comparison of inventory data to similar designs in the eToolLCD database
  • Overall model completion
  • Verification of top impacts
  • Accuracy of inputs (some key elements of the model will be checked against plans or building information to clarify that take off and interpretation is correct)
  • Checking published reports have been generated correctly

Standard reports can be generated from eToolLCD including:

  • LCA Summary Report
  • Greenhouse Gas Avoided Info graphic
  • Impact or Cost Time Series Report
  • Environmental Sustainability Scale Info-graphic
  • Emissions Certificate (one page performance summary)
  • Construction checklist to help ensure committed strategies are implemented
  • Optional Reports:
  • Annual Energy Costs (provided regional background data used in the study includes cost information)
  • Life Cycle Inventory Report
  • Multi-indicator Radar Chart
  • Impact Savings Summary (e.g. to show operational carbon or costs savings)
  • Impact Sankey Diagram
  • Where relevant, release of an eToolLCD certificate summarising the final design performance on one page.


  • eTool will not be responsible for implementing suggested improvements to the eToolLCD model or reports, it is the users responsibility action the certifiers by either:
    • Updating the eToolLCD models,
    • Updating the eToolLCD reports, or
    • Justifying the current model or report is appropriate
  • Peer review of EN15978 compliant report (see separate service)
  • Additional certifications of design iterations that sit within the six stages as oultined above.

EN15978 eToolLCD Certification

All items within the scope of “Standard eToolLCD Certification” in addition to an ISO 14044 compliant peer review of an associated EN15978 LCA report generated from eToolLCD and reporting templates provided by eTool.

eTool Marketing and Sales Package – Intro

Maximise the value of investing in sustainability by ensuring your marketing and sales is up to speed.
This package includes three one hour workshops with your marketing and sales team. The first workshop is a generic introduction into marketing and sales of sustainable buildings. The second two are refined sessions targeted at your specific project with clear strategies and mechanisms for your team to capitalise on the true potential.
Depending on your specific requirements we can offer more comprehensive packages and ongoing support.


  • 1 x 1 hour general introduction to marketing and sales for sustainability workshop at your office
  • 1 x 1 hour project specific marketing workshop at your office
  • 1 x 1 hour project specific sales workshop at your office
  • Generic eTool marketing reports
  • Copy of “Marketing and Sales for Sustainability” presentation
  • Summary list of project specific marketing messages and strategies
  • Summary list of project specific sales messages and strategies


  • Travel to clients office outside of Perth Metro area
  • Customised reports and or graphics
  • Any additional support other than outlined above to be charged at standard eTool consulting rates

Author:           Richard Haynes

Checked:        Alex Bruce

Date:               9th August 2016

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