What LCI Data Sources Does eTool Use
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eTool does not rely on a single source of life cycle inventory data.  eTool LCI processes are from the following sources:

  • Australasian LCI data which is provided by Life Cycle Strategies and is predominantly the AusLCI data with an EcoInvent shadow database.
  • Other regional LCI data provided by Life Cycle Strategies for: North America, Europe, UK, New Zealand and Global.
  • IMPACT EN15804 Data which is administered by BRE in the UK. Available for subscribers upon request and payment of the relevant project fee.
  • Australasian ISCA Aligned LCI data for ISCA RSO-6 Credit and Environmental Modelling of Infrastructure Projects.
  • Cost factors are from Industry quotes (usually three) cross referenced against construction cost handbooks.

Standards

We always make sure that the LCI data that we use are aligned with international standards to ensure that we maintain compliance with ISO 14044 and EN 15978

Our LCI data sources comply with the following standards:

  • EN15804
  • ISO 14000
  • ISO 21930
  • ISCC Certifications
  • GHG Protocol – Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard
  • ILCD Handbook

In addition to the default data for material, EPDs data can be entered into eTool for further accuracy of your LCAs. Materials manufacturers interested in uploading their own data should contact Cerclos.

If you are not sure which LCI Source to use, please select the closest one to your region and run a sensitivity analysis on the top materials impacts. Compare different datasets using the LCI Comparison report and cross check against available EPDs in your region.

In relation to cost estimations, eTool has sought industry estimates for materials and energy consumption. This approach leads to significant under-estimation in the cost of highly processed goods (for example, the steel used for concrete reinforcing will cost a lot less than the steel used in a door handle, despite being of a very similar specification, the door handle has been value added significantly compared to the reinforcement. eTool on the other hand will price these two uses of the same steel product equally).

Please get in touch if you need any other information regarding eTool data sources.


Related Articles:
eTool: Compliance with International Standards
eTool Default LCI Regionalisation Methodology
Advantages of using EcoInvent in comparison with ICE database and EPD

How to Select the Right LCI Dataset for Countries Not Covered in Your Current LCI List?
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We currently have the following LCI Sources:
  • Australasian
  • North American
    European
  • United Kingdom
  • New Zealand
  • Global
If your project does not fall within the specific regions above, that would not be a barrier for conducting LCA in eTool. Due to globalisation of markets, the Global LCI source will provide good data for conducting LCAs for any other region.
 
What’s more important is to ensure that the appropriate electricity & water grids have been specified for your project and to consider transport distances for the high volume products.
 
We have more electricity grid options in eTool with plans in the pipeline to make even more available.
 
If you’re unable to find a grid that is of your particular region, our recommendation is to use another grid that has the same carbon emissions as your region as a proxy. This would require you to find out what the grid emission factors are for your project. Should you need further assistance with finding the most suitable grid for your project, please raise a Support Request.

Can I change the LCI dataset of my project after it's done?
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In eTool, we have 2 main LCI group/datasets.

  • eTool Default

  • BRE IMPACT

At the moment, the ‘BRE IMPACT’ and ‘eTool Default’ LCI dataset/group and templates are kept completely separate and are not interchangeable. Once a Project is created using one LCI group, you will be unable to change it to another LCI group after that. If you need your project to be in the other LCI group, you can only do so by creating a whole new Project in the correct LCI group. This also means that you will need to remodel your whole Design again since there are two separate collections of templates for the two LCI groups and the original Design can’t be translated into the new LCI group.

This also applies to templates that are created in one LCI group. Once a template is created, it can not be swapped over to the other LCI group since the material library for the two datasets are completely separate and different.

eTool Default – LCI Sources

Under the ‘eTool Default’ LCI group, there are a number of sub- LCI Sources as per the list below:

  • Australasian
  • European
  • Global
  • New Zealand
  • North American
  • United Kingdom

These LCI Sources relate to the location of the project and provide more refined LCI data for industry average transportation/shipping distances for various construction materials.

eTool Default – Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste Water Grids

The eTool Default group also has a set of grids that can be specified independently of the LCI Sources. For example, you can have an Australasian LCI Source Project with an ‘EU Poland’ electricity grid. This ability to ‘mix-and-match’ allows some flexibility to help refine the LCA study to more accurately match the location & grid intensities of the Project. If this approach is used, the study author must be able to provide reasonable justification for the selection to study audiences and/or the reviewer.

 

Our users have previously requested a feature to make it possible to have the two LCI groups within the same Project in eTool, please read more about it here: Use Multiple LCI Sources In the Same Project

The LCI Source For The Templates In the Library Are Old, Is This A Problem?
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Most of the templates in our library are pretty ‘old’ as in they were created with datasets that are now superseded. However, this is not an issue because the LCI source/dataset you have specified for your Project will over-ride the LCI source/dataset of any template you add into your design. So, as long as you have the correct LCI source selected in your project, all added templates will grab the same data from the back end, even if they were originally created in an older version or a different country (but from the same LCI group).

The only other issue you may find relating to this topic is when your project has a different LCI group from the template. Please refer to this FAQ for more information: Why Can’t I Add Certain Templates to My Design?

Can eTool account for depreciation in carbon intensity of energy?
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Yes, simply select a a grid from the electricity grid library that represents the future carbon intensity of the grid you want to model.  We have set up some examples already:

  • 2030 Australian Generic Grid
  • 2050 Australian Generic Grid

If the future or decarbonised grid you want to model doesn’t exist, choose an existing grid with a similar carbon intensity.  Please note that modelling impacts of future grid scenarios may effect your compliance to some standards.  We recommend only running this as a scenario rather than a base case for your LCA.