eTool LCA reveals 60% carbon cut for One Brighton

eTool LCA Identifies Dramatic Carbon Savings in Leading UK Development

A life cycle assessment by eTool reveals UK-based BioRegional’s One Brighton project is delivering a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the average UK home with the potential to achieve even more.

The impressive findings from eTool’s in-depth life cycle assessment for the inner city apartment development were recently released to a flurry of interest during the UK Green Buildings Council’s Embodied Carbon Week.

eTool’s LCA includes the embodied carbon emissions within this pioneering mixed-use and car-free twin block development, as well as One Brighton’s day-to-day operational emissions from energy and water consumption. As with all LCA’s eTool conducts with its unique online software, the outputs are compliant with the international standard EN15978.

Pat Hermon, lead eTool LCA engineer, said: “An LCA never fails to raise interesting design questions surrounding not only material selection but operational energy, water, transport, waste and functionality. This LCA of One Brighton is no exception, particularly thanks to the transparency of the developers and post-occupancy monitoring – an important step forwards in closing the performance gap.”

One Brighton was completed and occupied in 2010 and eTool’s LCA was an important part of the review of its performance against the targets set in the One Planet Action Plan. eTool has been working closely with BioRegional on One Brighton, its follow-up multi-residential project to the world famous BedZed eco-village in Sutton, South London.

The findings from the One Brighton LCA report and the project’s sustainability credentials have received a lot of attention in the UK. Read more about the project here:

One Brighton achieves deep carbon cuts – BioRegional, UK

One Brighton releases 60% fewer emissions – Building 4 Change, BRE Trust, UK

One Brighton: Achieving a 60% carbon cut, aiming for 78% – UK Green Building Council

One Brighton achieves deep carbon cuts  – Global Sustain, UK

BioRegional project delivers 60% carbon savings –

eTool is watching with interest as BioRegional continues its work to reduce OneBrighton’s operational emissions in order to reach its 2020 target.


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Please note: High-resolution images and interviews are available on request.


Media contact:

Jo Thierfelder
eTool Marketing Communications Manager
0421 589 548


About eTool

eTool is a world leading life cycle software consultancy that optimises building design for lower environmental impact and high performance. Utilising our unique software eTool LCA®, we work with architects, engineers and developers to measure and improve the life cycle impacts of buildings, surpassing industry standards. eTool LCA® makes sustainable development easy to achieve and cost-effective for all size projects, from residential and commercial building to land development and infrastructure.
For more information, please visit You can also follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest eTool news, or read our blog.

Edge By Psaros

Edge by Psaros Wins International Property Award

Perth property developer and a long standing client of eTool, Psaros, was awarded one of the 2014 Asia Pacific Property Awards for their most recent development, ‘Edge by Psaros’. Edge by Psaros  is a 96 unit sustainable development located in Northbridge. It incorporates renewable energy technology, clever energy efficiency measures for individual homes and common areas and a long design life.

Check out this video to see what Psaros CEO, Danny Psaros and City of Perth Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi have to say about it:




Wrap-up: The Great Debate

On 3 April, eTool and Cundall with support from Property Council of Australia, hosted The Great Debate: “What will transition us to sustainable buildings the fastest: Market, Legislation, or Incentives?” Alex Bruce (eTool) debated “Market”, Oliver Grimaldi (Cundall) debated “Legislation” and Lino Iacomella (PCA) debated “Incentives”.

The debate was a huge success and there was some great discussion with the audience on what the best solution is. To gauge the preferred solution and the impact of the debate, we took two polls, one before the debate and one at the end.

First Poll

Market           37%
Legislation     34%
Incentives      29%

Last Poll

Market           27%
Legislation     32%
Incentives      41%

Lino Iacomella who debated “Incentives”, was the winner of the debate, swinging the most votes by the end. The conversation was interesting and the night ended on a positive note, reiterating that there isn’t always one clear-cut solution, in most cases we need combination of all three.




The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) embraces LCA

UDIA EnviroDevelopment Standards Embrace Life Cycle Assessment 

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) is the latest industry body to embrace life cycle assessment (LCA) in a move that aligns it with a growing global trend in the property industry.

LCA was introduced into the EnviroDevelopment National Technical Standards v2 released by the UDIA in March as an “alternative compliance” mechanism for quantifying the environmental performance of materials selected for a project.

Projects have the option of conducting an LCA in lieu of any of the Materials criteria specified under the six elements that comprise the Standards including ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community.

The UDIA sought the expert advice of eTool Co-founder and Director Alex Bruce in the formulation of the LCA component of the EnviroDevelopment Standards which, importantly, complies with the international standards for LCA: EN15978 and ISO14044.

“eTool prides itself on innovation so we’ve been working hard to ensure our software is compliant with the international standards for LCA. It’s not an easy task which is probably why eTool is among only a handful of software solutions that enable reporting to these standards,” said Richard Haynes, eTool Co-founder and Software Development Director.

“It’s exciting to see another progressive industry body incorporating LCA into their standards for assessing the sustainability of buildings and infrastructure,” said Mr Bruce.

“It demonstrates a growing understanding of LCA’s power and effectiveness in understanding the environmental and economic impacts of the built form and indicates a shift towards performance-based sustainability outcomes.”

Used to best effect in the early phase of a project, LCA is a powerful design tool that provides reliable, quantifiable information to developers, builders and consultants looking for a cost-effective way to reduce a project’s environmental impact and create better, longer- lasting outcomes.

Brent Thomas, Chair of the National EnviroDevelopment Board of Management said: “Support from experts like Alex, who is a strong advocate for LCA and the delivery of sustainable communities and spaces, is essential in the progression of EnviroDevelopment and we are thankful for Alex’s contribution to and support of the program.’

“The new standards, and the alternative compliance mechanism, maintains EnviroDevelopment’s philosophy of setting performance based benchmarks, allowing individual project teams to determine the most appropriate sustainability initiative for the project, cognisant of site characteristics, climate and vision,” said Mr Thomas.

The interest in LCA has skyrocketed and it now has a presence in many of the world’s leading built form sustainability rating tools including LEED (US), BREEAM (UK) and Australia’s Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star system.

eTool recently finished LCAs on three buildings in the high profile Kings Square project in Perth for developer Leighton Properties. They are expected to achieve their targeted 5-star Green Star ratings with the help of credits obtained through the LCA-based Innovation Challenge. The builders for Kings Square 2 and 4, Broad Construction Services, used eTool LCA software to help achieve their Green Star rating target but also to meet the conditions for LEED certification required for Kings Square 2.

While eTool has been working extensively with builders and developers in the Green Star commercial and multi-residential space in recent times, eTool LCA software is as relevant and applicable to a broad range of other industry sectors including infrastructure, industrial and land development. Projects in these areas would similarly benefit from the detailed life cycle costing data and design information eTool LCA can produce, which enables informed and intelligent decisions to be made regarding the environmental and economic impacts of a project.


Media contact

Jo Thierfelder
eTool Marketing Communications Manager 0421 589 548

Please note: Interviews are available on request.

About eTool

eTool is a world leading life cycle software consultancy that optimises building design for lower environmental impact and high performance. Utilising our unique software eTool LCA®, we work with architects, engineers and developers to measure and improve the life cycle impacts of buildings, surpassing industry standards. eTool LCA® makes sustainable development easy to achieve and cost-effective for all size projects, from residential and commercial building to land development and infrastructure.

For more information, please visit You can also follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest eTool news, or read our blog.

Solar Panels

Cleaning dusty solar panels

solar cleaningSo after years of wondering how much impact dust had on reducing the output of a Solar PV system I finally decided it was time to get around to running my own experiment.

You’re probably asking “why didn’t he just google it and find some nice scientific paper that told him how much of an issue the dust was?”. Well I have spent a fair bit of time looking and still haven’t found any nice simple scientific papers that provide a simple enough answer for me. The numbers that do get thrown around range from anything between 1% to 50% which doesn’t really help in answering the basic question “how often should I be cleaning my panels”. I have listed a few good ones below but if anyone can send through some new links I’d be most appreciative.

Anyway I felt the best thing to do was to run a good old back yard (well roof top) experiment on my parents Solar PV grid connect system in Perth Western Australia. I installed this system back in June 2007, so coming up to it’s seventh birthday, and it hasn’t missed a beat, caused a house fire, electrocuted anyone or blown up the local network. It’s provided beautiful, problem free renewable energy and even almost paid for itself. Back then Solar PV grid connect system retailed for around $10Wp installed and now we are down to around $1/Wp, nice learning curve. It was nice just to get up on the roof to reminisce about the good old days as an installer and remember how fast the renewable energy industry has moved.

Enough reminiscing – back to the subject!

The system hasn’t been cleaned (other than rain) for over five years and Perth has just had it’s driest summer on record, so if they was ever going to be a “dusty to the max” situation the time was now.

The system is 2.79kWp with 18 x 155Wp BP Solar poly crystalline panels (yes back then 155Wp was considered a pretty big, efficient and fandangled panel) coupled with an SMA SB2500. It’s orientated pretty close to due north at around 30deg pitch on some custom made “Alex Bruce” welded steel frames.

I waited until I had two fairly similar days in solar irradiation and temperature lining up consecutively (10th and 11th of March). I then recorded the total energy output on day one, cleaned them after the sun went down and then recorded the total energy output after day two.

Drum roll…………

  • Day one = 13.68kWhr
  • Day two (after cleaning) = 13.59kWhr

A drop of 0.7%!

Now before you decide that you should go through dust on your panels I need to mention a couple of details. Solar irradiation (how much the sun did shine without clouds or stuff in the way) was pretty much spot on but it was hotter on day two (33degC vs 28degC) with a little bit less wind to help cool the panels. For those of you who know that panels don’t like getting too hot you’d probably be spotting a pretty big flaw in my highly scientific experiment.

Under these conditions I would have expected a 2-3% drop in performance. This was verified by going onto PVOutput and seeing how a few systems in the same area performed over the same two days (I had to assume some sneaky bugger hadn’t gone and cleaned them on the night in question).  I took an average performance for three systems and it seemed to show a drop of around 3.2% between the 10th and 11th of March. So instead of our system dropping by 3.2% it only dropped by 0.7% suggesting the cleaning saved or improved performance by 2.5% which is a pretty good outcome.

However the devil is in the detail.

When I was cleaning the panels I started with the hose on mist to see how much dirt would come off while simulating rain. Again very unscientific but I would suggest 70-80% of the dirt including the odd bird poo came off with the fake rain. Funny thing is we were forecasted for a storm the next day so I probably could have just let nature do the cleaning. Furthermore, this would suggest that 70-80% of the dirt has only been there since the last rain, so this massive 2.5% improvement only is really only over the last few months. Over the course of a year, I reckon I could improve the situation by maybe 1.5% at most by regular cleaning.

There was a bit of lichen starting at the corners and I had to scrub at these bits to get them off. If these had grown further and ended up over the cells then there would be more substantial drop in output (might have taken another five years). I’ve also seen branches and leaves sitting over panels so it’s definitely worth having a periodic look or monitoring your systems output (saves you getting on the roof) to pick up any substantial decrease in performance.

Now for the money side. Everyone is on different tariffs so to make it easy I’ll base my calculations on $0.25/kWhr. This system is now (after seven years) probably knocking out 10kWhr/day average over a year. So a 1.5% improvement would amount to about $14/year. It took me about 20minutes to get on the roof, give them a clean and get back down (excluding the ten minutes of reminiscing). I’ll excluded travel time and costs as I rode around on my bike for exercise and like visiting my parents anyway. With this all in mind I’d be worth $40/hr cleaning panels. If you did it for a living and included travel, writing out invoices, insurance etc you’d probably be down to $10/hr.

I should also mention I went through about 50l of good drinking water and a squirt of washing liquid in the process. I think the broom could do another 100 or so systems before the bristles fell out…

On the environmental front you could suggest that the cleaning will save another 50kgCO2e/year from avoided fossil fuel burn so maybe that alone is enough motivation to get on the roof and give them a scrub.


I think I’ll wait for the rain to clean them next time but if I ever feel like a good reminisce about how fast things have moved for renewable energy, I’ll take a bucket and a broom and head on up to the roof….



The above story is just one slightly scientific anecdotal experience and:

  • If you’re in a dryer dustier place than average suburban Perth Western Australia,
  • or if your panels are much flatter (less than say 10deg pitch) and wont self clean as easy,
  • or you’re in the path of some large migratory birds topped up on mulberries,
  • or you’re directly under very low flying air craft (see link below),
  • or you just like things being clean….
  • or you just may think differently


Some links with much more scientific rigour behind them:

Cano, J. (2011). Photovoltaic Modules: Effect of Tilt Angle on Soiling. ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY. Retrieved from

Mejia, F., & Kleissl, J. (n.d.). Soiling Losses for Solar Photovoltaic Systems in California. University of California. Retrieved from

Sulaiman, S. A., Hussain, H. H., Siti, N., Leh, H. N., & Razali, M. S. I. (2011). Effects of Dust on the Performance of PV Panels. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 58, 588–593. Retrieved from

Denver, J., Miller, J. T. A., Manager, P., Jackson, J., Engineer, S. D., Gupta, V., … Hoffner, J. (2009). Impact of Soiling and Pollution on PV Generation Performance Performance Loss Due to Pollution (pp. 1–5). Retrieved from






Life Cycle Assessment – How eTool can help you achieve your goals

Leveraging off our extensive experience and skills and the power of the eTool LCA software, we can help push your project to global best practice – Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Below are some examples of the variety of ways eTool can help your project achieve its goals.

Option 1.

eTool as Consultants

The best results are achieved when you incorporate LCA at the early design phase of your projects. eTool can act as your own LCA specialists from start to finish ensuring you get expert advice all the way through. If your project is past the design phase, it’s not too late. Contact eTool now to get our specialists on board.

You’re not restricted to just working with us to embed LCA into your next project. To make it even easier to access there are now multiple eTool LCA trained assessors working within other organisations around the globe.


Option 2.

eTool as Software providers

If LCA is something you’d like to be doing in house then our software, “eTool LCA”, is what you’ve been looking for. The web based tool is free to access until you use it for commercial purposes. At this point you will need eTool “certify” your project through a ‘pay as you go’ style arrangement. There are a range of training and support subscription services created to best suit your needs.


Option 3.

eTool as both: Consultant & Software provider

If you’re unsure of whether you’d like to use a consultant or run with LCA in house, we can work with you as consultants through the first few projects until you are ready to make a decision. During that time, you’ll be able to gain insight in to the LCA process without wasting valuable time and will get maximum value out of our highly skilled team. Then, if you’d like to switch to performing LCAs in house, we can fully train your team on the software.


If none of the above quite suit your needs, eTool is happy to tailor a  proposal to fit your exact requirements. Please get in contact to discuss what you’re after to get your projects up to speed with the International Standard for sustainable design – LCA.

To get a basic understanding of costs for either us acting consultants or “certifications” please head to this page.

For more info, check out our FAQ page and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further explanation or have any questions.

KS4 Hero

LCA shifts into the mainstream

eTool is pleased to announce its involvement with another two buildings in the Kings Square project, which have been signed up to the Green Star Innovation Challenge credit.

Broad Construction Services is building KS2 and KS4 in the Leighton Properties’ development. On site, the team is using eTool life cycle assessment (LCA) consulting and software services to assist in modelling and improving the design of the two buildings.

“The enthusiastic uptake of LCA by companies like Broad and Leighton Properties demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of sustainability, which will deliver long-term economic and environmental benefits to all stakeholders of the project,” said eTool’s Alex Bruce.

“LCA is the international standard for quantifying the sustainability of the built form so it’s fast becoming the norm for builders and developers in Australia who are serious about sustainability and who want their projects to be attractive, lasting, valuable legacies.”

For more information contact Marketing Communications Manager, Jo Thierfelder on 0421 589 548 or email

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KS1 Blog Banner

LCA in Green Star – Perth leading the innovation challenge

When the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released its new “Innovation Challenges” initiative in August this year, John Holland and Cundall were quick to respond and register Kings Square One (KS1) for the credit. KS1, developed by Leighton Properties, is located on the corner of King and Wellington Streets in Perth. Part of one of Australia’s most significant CBD urban renewal developments, the building will offer 23,156sqm of A Grade commercial office space across 19 levels with 680sqm of ground floor retail.

KS1_Plaza_Image3This progressive, high profile project is targeting a 5 Star Green Star Office Design and As Built v3 rating. Through the “Material Life Cycle Impacts” Innovation Challenge, six points are made available if substantial improvement in whole of building, whole of life LCA, can be demonstrated. This is where eTool comes in. eTool has joined the team to provide LCA consulting and software services to assist in modelling and improving the design.

The guidelines surrounding the Innovation Challenge are rigorous and comprehensive, including requirements to follow European Standard EN 15978 “Sustainability of Construction Works” and International Standard ISO 14044 “Environmental management – life cycle assessment”. eTool LCA software has been specifically developed to assess the built form and is therefore well positioned to meet the credit’s requirements and, more importantly, provides rapid and valuable design input to meet targeted improvements with ease.

Find out more about the Kings Square One project >> 

If you would like to discuss the technical details of the “Innovation Challenge” or see how eTool can assist with your Green Star project, please get in touch today.