Eco Audit Tool

Environmental objectives are increasingly important in engineering and design. You may wish to limit the carbon footprint of your product, reduce its energy usage, cut wastes and emissions, or specify the manner of its disposal. To do this, you need rapid estimates of the CO2 emissions and energy uses for each life-phase.

The Eco Audit™ Tool is an add-on tool to CES Selector that helps you to address such objectives. It draws on Granta's environmental data to quantify the eco impact of key life-phases of a material, helping to identify the most significant environmental costs and thus focus attention on the areas which can lead to the biggest improvements.

Eco Audit Tool graphs showing end of life phase
The dynamic Eco Summary chart allows instant comparison of the
environmental impact of multiple products of life scenarios

How does the Eco Audit Tool help you?

Meeting regulatory requirements (e.g., Energy-related Products Directive, Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Directive, IEC 60601-1-9 , IEC 62430) Perform a quick audit during early-stage design. You don't need to search for environmental data or track every detail. This helps you focus on environmental requirements and stay on-track to meet them. Simple, quantitative reports provide evidence to demonstrate compliance.
Reduce manufacturing and through-life product cost Save time and money by making the right decisions early in the process, before resources have been committed. The cost impacts of materials choices can also be considered alongside engineering performance. Further reduce cost of ownership for customers by applying eco material selection strategies to minimize in-use energy consumption.
Producing an eco label or Environmental Product Declaration, e.g., for ISO 14025 or Grenelle 2 Perform a quick, approximate environmental assessment during early stage of design to highlight environmental hotspots. Taking early action to reduce these impacts (e.g., by exploring 'what-if' scenarios) helps you make design decisions that will ultimately give the best PAS 2050 results.
Environmental assessments are slow and difficult to perform Eco Audit offers a quick, low-cost solution: its  approximate assessment often provides enough  data to support well-informed design decisions
Maintaining ISO 14001 environmental management system certification by implementing an eco design approach Applying Eco Audit as part of an eco design approach guided by ISO 14006:2011 will help to ensure that you meet the requirements of your ISO 14001 environmental management system. Managing the environmental impacts of your products can ensure your EMS certification remains robust.
Meeting corporate environmental performance targets There is no need for specialist knowledge (as in LCA), so the Eco Audit Tool can be used across your company, enabling more engineers to support corporate product environmental performance targets.
Environmental branding Demonstrate progress towards sustainability goals for customers and investors through quantitative measures and benchmarking.


Read about Granta's Eco Audit™ methodology 

Find out about the work of the EMIT Consortium 

Download our Guide to Eco Design 

How does the Eco Audit Tool work?

The Eco Audit Tool applies Granta's Eco Audit methodology to provide a quick estimate of environmental impacts across the entire product lifecycle. Unlike LCA assessment, which focuses on detailed environmental reports for finished products, the Eco Audit Tool informs decisions during the early stages of design, where changes cost least, but matter most.

Knowing which phases are likely to make the most significant contribution to environmental impact helps to guide design strategies to minimize that impact. For example, if the materials production phase dominates, you might seek to identify materials that fulfil the same engineering function but have a lower embodied energy. If the use phase dominates in a product that moves, you may seek materials with lower mass. Using the Eco Audit Tool within CES Selector integrates the tools you need for the two key stages in this design process: the eco audit itself, and the selection of the right materials and processes for your design.

Alternative strategies for minimizing eco impact - depending on which life cycle stage(s) dominate

Guiding materials selection and substitution strategies with Eco Audit results

Stage 1. Performing a rapid Eco Audit with the Eco Audit Tool

The Eco Audit Tool runs within the CES Selector software, drawing information on the materials and processes used to make the product from the MaterialUniverse data. The user inputs a small amount of information on product composition, usage, and transportation. The Eco Audit Tool provides quick estimates of energy usage and CO2 output at each stage in the product life cycle. You can opt to include the effects of manufacturing waste and secondary processing (such as machining, joining, and finishing).

The Eco Audit Tool produces graphical charts and detailed reports on the environmental impact of each life phase. Dynamic Summary Charts (pictured at the top of the page) provide interactive comparisons between design options for different products. The Eco Audit Tool also provides guidance on strategies for reducing environmental impact (pictured, right). Reports can be exported into a range of other applications for further analysis.

Read more on the Eco Audit™ methodology 


Eco Audit Tool Strategies for reducing environmental impact

Suggestion for strategies to reducing environmental impact are available within the software

 Eco Audit Tool

Drop down menus make it quick and easy to select appropriate materials and even
Primary and Secondary processes, if desired, drawing on data from the MaterialUniverse

Stage 2. Optimizing Eco Impact—selection and substitution

Having performed an eco audit, you can focus design attention on the life-phase with the greatest environmental impact. CES Selector is the ideal tool for analyzing materials alternatives. Read more about CES Selector for materials selection or materials substitution.

A selection study for a smoothie bottle

A selection study using CES Selector—considering the best material for a smoothie bottle by comparing the embodied energy per unit of stiffness with the permeability per unit of stiffness. A designer can trade-off between two objectives.