World’s first real-time environmental impact calculator

AUSTRALIA'S building and construction industry now has access to LCADesign software, described as the world's first real-time environmental impact calculator for commercial property.

AUSTRALIA’S building and construction industry now has access to LCADesign software, described as the world’s first real-time environmental impact calculator for commercial property.

Building designers can now optimise the eco-impact of a building as the design model evolves instead of waiting months for expert analysis, using the LCADesign software package.

This opens up opportunities for manufacturers of environmentally friendly products or those which can assist buildings in reducing their carbon footprint. LCADesign can detail environmental and cost measures for different materials, products and designs, automatically from 3D CAD drawings.

Users can conduct Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a technique for assessing environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product by: compiling an inventory of relevant inputs and outputs of a product system; and evaluating potential environmental impacts of those inputs and outputs.

Interpreting the results of the inventory and impact assessment in relation to the objectives of the study (ISO 14043 – 2000).

For buildings, the inventory includes resource acquisition, transport, manufacture, construction, maintenance, final demolition, removal processes and recyclability of building products.

The Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, launched the software package at the SB (Sustainable Building) 08 Conference in Melbourne.

“Quite simply, we should be building in eco-efficiency at the design stage, as a first principle, instead of something which is bolted-on after the fact,” he told the Conference.

“LCADesign is the first calculator that works directly from the building designer’s model, allowing architects and engineers to optimise the best environmental outcome in real time or ‘on the fly’.”

The LCADesign software was developed over the past six years by a team led by the Brisbane-based Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation, working with the Queensland University of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Queensland Department of Public Works, CSIRO and other leading research and industry partners.

“With it, users can measure and compare changes to new and refurbished designs. They can see in seconds the impact of design improvements across human health, ecosystem damages, resource depletion, carbon impacts and dollar cost. Users may select from any combination of over seventy measures,” said CRC for Construction Innovation chief executive, Dr Keith Hampson.

“Building operating energy and water as well as product selections can be changed in seconds and new results generated to show comparative numbers and graphs.”

For more information, contact: Chris Newlan or John Hanrahan on 02 9692 8811.