“The greenest games ever” was the promise that helped separate Sydney from Beijing in the 1992 bid for the Olympics. The 2000 games site effectively became a publicly funded green building laboratory and the first large scale application of life cycle analysis.
A detailed life cycle profile was a condition of supply for all building materials. This information was collated into the Olympics Building Products Life Cycle Inventory Database (OLCI).
As all suppliers had to supply information based on the same “level playing field” controlling factors, the resultant OLCI, now called OzLCI was arguably, the most comprehensive database of its type.
This made possible a new style of analysis with, for example, this clear and direct comparisons of the sustainability of building and operating for 50 years, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (red circle) with the as built Olympic Stadium (relative Green line) and a possible alternate material build (purple line).
In 2001 the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation (CRCCI) was established, in part, to build on the work from the Sydney Olympics and to deliver this comprehensive style of sustainability analysis in minutes instead of man years.
Over $64m was raised in funds and “in kind” contributions to cover the seven year life of the CRCCI. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was a founding partner and was contracted to undertake the software development.
The “flagship” project was to build LCADesign, the world’s first environmental impact calculator for large buildings. Building information models (BIMs) are imported and graphical output is produced. Trials were conducted using seven commercial buildings including the KPMG Head Office in the Netherlands and Council House in Melbourne.
OzLCI was used as the base for development of LCIs for the US west coast, Netherands, UK, Netherlands and Germany. This was completed in partnership with Stanford University CIFE, Building Science & Technology CSTB France, University of Salford BHE UK, Technical Research Centre VTT Finland and University of Delft Netherlands.
With support from a group of eight specialist scientists, architects and engineers, Ecquate Pty. Ltd. was established in March 2008 and successfully tendered for the ongoing licence for LCADesign and its associated national databases.
LCADesign was ahead of its time, but takeup was restricted by many technical factors including the limited uptake of BIM and a 100 element constraint. However as most building products have far less than 100 components, LCADesign and associated national LCI’s found wide spread application in green labelling. Ecospecifier’s Green Tag Eco-labelling system was arguably, the first successful commercial application of Life Cycle Analysis.
Ecquate stewardship of its multiple LCI’s, in association with The Evah Institute and Global GreenTag, allowed LCA based ecolabelling to cover commercial, industrial and residential sectors in Europe, China USA, Australia and more recently, the Middle East and South Africa.
For these regions, Ecquate also provide BIM LCA, environmental product declarations, background assessment data, comparative building product analysis and associated services to LCI database suppliers and a wide range of client companies. Ecquate develop type III environmental product declarations conformant with ISO 14025 and/or EN 15804. We provide data for sustainability measures including corporate sustainability reporting, triple bottom line accounting and quality estimates for sustainability governance for individual countries that use the Environmental Sustainability Index and Environmental Performance Index. Ecquate also support the data provisions of the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme and Circles of Sustainability.
After some additional research and by using third party software, BIM pre-processing routines were developed to extend the application of LCADesign from 100 elements to projects of any size. Relative "What if" styles of iterative analysis of projects like comparing the Melbourne Cricket Ground with the Olympic Stadium can now be completed in minutes.
It can be argued that Ecquate is now a market leader in supplying quality LCI data and applying life cycle analysis to real world projects for eco-positive outcomes.