If you would like to conduct an LCA study for commercial purpose where you will publish your results, our terms and conditions stipulate that you must get your study certified by eTool before you do so. This will ensure a baseline standard for the quality of your study, compliance with international standards and protect eTool’s reputation. Should you choose not to get your study certificated by eTool, you are to refrain from naming eTool/eToolLCD when publishing the results from your study.
To meet international LCA standards (EN15978 – Reporting of the assessment of results), all studies must provide an LCA report together with any project environmental claim.
This peer review/certification service is only complimentary for valid subscribers. Please note that Enterprise seat holders or Consultant plan subscribers will need to pay an access fee prior to starting your project. If you haven’t paid the access fee for your project yet, please click on the ‘Request Quote‘ button within the eToolLCD software (green ribbon at top of the page) for a quote before you start any modelling.
For each project, you may submit up to 6 designs for certification. The advantage of certification is that not only do we review your study to ensure that there are no critical issues and that the study is reasonably accurate, you will also be able to generate a range of automated reports for the project, including the EN 15978 compliant LCA report, without any watermarks.
Once you have completed your design, the following are the steps you need to go through to complete the certification process.
Note: Our standard procedure is to certify your Business-As-Usual (BAU) or Reference Design (Proposed Design for BREEAM) first before you start modelling your Improved/Proposed Design (i.e. all other option designs for BREEAM). This is due to how our software is designed to record improvement recommendation changes from the BAU/Reference design for compliance with EN15978. Please ensure that you’ve completed our FREE Intermediate Training Course to learn how to use our recommendation recording feature. For BREEAM 2018 assessments, please refer to this post.
1. Complete the eToolLCD Software Training Courses
In order to submit your design for certification, it is now a requirement for study authors to have completed the FREE eToolLCD Software Training Courses to do so. This will improve the quality of your LCA study and help speed up the review process. Even long term eToolLCD users should complete the online training courses as not only is it a good refresher to cover new features in the software, your course completion record will be linked to your eTool profile which will form part of your profile identity in the eTool Community. Please note that you have the ability to fast forward through the training videos, therefore as long as you can pass the quizzes and final exam, it should not take much time for experienced users to complete the training. You will also receive a certificate of your formal training as an eToolLCD Assessor.
2. Self Review
You should run a self-review prior to submitting your design for certification to speed up the review process and catch any simple/avoidable mistakes. You can run the self-review by going through all the ‘Quality Check‘ questions at the Project, Structure and Design level of the project. You may also add your own comments or assumptions into any of the QC questions to pre-emptively answer any concerns that the reviewer may have regarding your study.
For more information on how to get to these quality checks, please refer to this post.
3. Submit Your Design for Certification
Once you’ve completed the self-review step above, you may now submit your design for certification. In the design level of your project, click on the green Action button at the top of your design and select ‘Certify’ OR click on the ‘Certification’ tab in the left hand menu.
In the Certification tab, you will find a pre-certification checklist that you need to complete before you can submit your design for certification. The first 3 items are automatically checked for you if you’ve completed them. Once all the checks have been ticked, then only you’ll be able to click on the ‘Request Certification’ button.
The ‘Certification’ tab will update to confirm that your certification request has been submitted. You can also cancel your certification request in the ‘Certification’ tab.
4. Certification Assigned to Reviewer Notification
When your certification request has been assigned to a reviewer, you will receive a notification in the top right corner of your screen when you login to the website. Depending on your Profile Settings, you may also receive an email notification.
Click on ‘View All’ and it will take you to your inbox where all the software messages are. If you click on the message in your inbox and you’ll get a little pop up window of the message. Click on the links to go straight to your design. You can also access these messages via the ‘Dialogue’ tab in the green ribbon menu at the top of your login page.
When you click through to the ‘Certification’ tab of your design, you’ll also be able to read the reviewer’s comments.
5. Initial Round of Reviews Completed – Feedback Requested
When the reviewer has completed the first round of reviews for your design, you will receive another notification or email asking for your feedback.
Click through to the ‘Certification’ tab to read the reviewer’s comments.
6. Review Comments in Quality Checks & Make Any Required Amendments/Updates
You will need to navigate to the QC questions under the Project, Structure and Design levels to read through all the reviewer’s comments under the questions flagged in red.
Click on the ‘Actions’ button on the left of the QC question to open the dialogue box. Respond by making any any required changes to the study accordingly and post your reply to the reviewer’s comments.
7. Submit Your Feedback
After you’ve finished responding to the reviewer’s initial round of feedback, you’ll need to notify the reviewer that you’re ready for the next round of reviews by submitting your feedback in the ‘Certification’ tab.
When you’ve successfully submitted your feedback, the ‘Certification’ tab will update to confirm the next round of reviews.
You may need to repeat steps 5 – 7 for a few rounds until the reviewer is satisfied that all concerns have been addressed.
8. Completing the Certification Process
When the reviewer has certified your design, you will receive the notification and your ‘Certification’ tab will update the certification status of the design accordingly. Now your design will also be locked from any further changes.
Once the Business-As-Usual/Reference Design is certified, the study author may now proceed with modelling the Improved/Proposed/Final Design using our new Scenarios feature. This module is also covered in our Intermediate Training Course which you will be able access upon completion of the Beginner’s Training course.
When your Improved/Proposed/Final Design has been modeled, you then submit that new design for certification and repeat the same steps again. Reports can only be generated without a watermark once the design has been certified.
Certification process flow-chart for a typical project.
For information on what type of supporting documents to provide for your design review, please refer to this post.
For suggestions on what kind of information to provide in your Project and Structure level description, please refer to this post.