Although both eTool and the IS Materials Calculator meet the ISCA Materials credit requirement, the integrated Life Cycle Assessment approach using eTool can provide more design value for the project team by understanding proportional impacts of different project areas and how they interact with each other over the whole asset design life.
Integrated design – LCA methodology can be used to not only assess materials impact, but also operational energy, water, maintenance, end of life, thus, it creates a greater transparency and tangibility of the project and can demonstrate how all different components interact with each other throughout the whole project life. eTool allows designers to record design changes and quantify impact reduction to understand the relevance of each improvement strategy and prioritise the most relevant ones.
Life Cycle Inventory – They both use the same dataset (Australasian AusLCI provided by Life Cycle Strategies) with impact assessment method aligned with EN15804. eTool includes additional materials to choose from using an Ecoinvent shadow database and the functionality to add EPDs for specific products. eTool users can define custom end of life disposal method and distances, waste and maintenance factors, so it’s a more holistic approach.
System Boundary – IS Materials calculator uses a cradle-to-gate approach (Product Stage A) and some maintenance/use impacts whereas eTool uses cradle-to-cradle approach including all life cycle modules (A, B, C and D) to also account for impacts and benefits related to maintenance, end of life, reuse and recycling.
Data entry – IS Materials Calculator data entry is manual. eTool has import functionality using BIM integration (Revit plugin), CSV file upload and a dynamic and easy to use template system. This import functionality in eTool can save consultants a lot of time.
Reporting – Both tools report on Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and IS EnviroPoints. eTool has an automated reporting functionality to produce reports in pdf formats and other reports to assist the design process like Top Impacts Report, Materials Summary Report and detailed Life Cycle Inventory report.
Life Cycle Costing – eTool allows designers to combine environmental and financial analysis to understand the best strategies for environmental gain and return on investment over the asset life.