What are the Goals of eTool?
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The goals of an eTool LCA are to:

  • Quantify the environmental impacts of the clients design (normal eTool assessments pay particular attention to CO2 equivalent emissions, CO2e)
  • Compare these impacts against a typical ‘business as usual’ benchmark
  • Provide recommendations that will ideally reduce the total impacts of the building
  • Conduct this in a cost effective, auditable and repeatable manner

A typical eTool assessment allows reporting of numerous impacts:

  • Global Warming Potential
  • Primary Energy
  • Water Use
  • Land Use
  • Costs

Most commonly however we only report on Global Warming Potential.

It is the goal of eTool to estimate impacts with enough accuracy to compare different design options. The aim is to be vaguely right not precisely wrong. Estimating impacts to high levels of confidence requires detailed resources. In the case of buildings, this will usually be overshadowed by the influence of occupant behavior on operational impacts, or the actual building life that will deviate significantly from that estimated in this assessment. The assessment does not attempt to predict the affects of future changes to:

  • Grid Power Sources (which hopefully by the time this building is actually nearing it’s design life will be predominantly renewable) Inflation of building materials (for maintenance), labour costs or energy costs
  • The assessment therefore represents a snapshot in time, all else being equal, of the building performance.

How do I learn to use eTool software?
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The demand for LCA of the built form is growing rapidly. To ensure we can maximise our current available resources to help accelerate LCD we strongly recommend all users to complete our free online training courses which are available in our Support Site right here. Enrollment is automatic as long as you are signed into eTool. Just navigate to the Support Site via your eTool profile after you’ve logged in.

What Functional Units does eTool use?
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In order to normalise assessments between building types the environmental and cost impacts are expressed in terms of an applicable functional unit.  Typically eTool uses the following functional units for different project types:

  • Commercial Office – Impacts measured at:
    • Per m2 per year (generally Net Lettable Area is preferred); or
    • Per Occupant Hour
  • Residential buildings – Impacts measured at:
    • Per occupant per year
  • Community, healthcare, retail – Impacts measured at:
    • Per m2 per year (generally Net Lettable Area is preferred); or
    • Per Occupant Hour
  • Industrial buildings – Impacts measured at:
    • Per m2 per year (generally Net Lettable Area is preferred)

All the functional units rely on a prediction of design life, which has a very large effect on their comparable sustainability. Although difficult to predict, eTool uses a methodology aimed at producing fair and repeatable comparisons between building designs. Individual building life spans will deviate significantly from the design lives calculated using this methodology, however the aim is to predict the mean expected life of all buildings with similar characteristics and circumstances. You can read about it in detail here.

How do I cancel a Certification Request?
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Sometimes accidents happen. Luckily cancelling a certification request is super easy! When your design has been submitted for certification, you’ll find that an ‘Cancel Certification Request’ option is now available under the ‘Action’ button of the design or under the ‘Certification’ tab. Click that and your request will be cancelled.

How To Make A Feature Request
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At eTool, we’re always open to hearing back from our users on how we can improve our software. We are always getting hundreds of fantastic suggestions but it can be very difficult to know which features should be prioritised or which features are most useful for our users. In order to help us figure that out, we have a Feature Request page on our Support Site where all our users can create a new request or vote on which requests they wish to see expedited. Once a feature has reached 20 votes, it will get reviewed and placed on our software roadmap.

To access the Feature Request page, just navigate to the Support Site and click on the Feature Request icon as below.

On the Feature Request page, please search existing requests to make sure that someone else hasn’t already requested for the exact same feature you’re looking for. If it already exists, you can vote for it by clicking on the ‘thumbs up’ icon next to it. You will need to be logged into eToolLCD in order to register your vote.

If the feature does not exist, you can create one by filling out the form on the right side of the page.

Once your request has been generated successfully, you can share the link with your team members so that they can vote for it too!