EC3 Release Notes

by: Phil Northcott, C Change Labs.

We make regular updates to the EC3 tool based on your feedback.  Here are a few of the most prominent that we would like to share with you. 

Templates!

It's common to have a building assembly made up of layers or subparts with fixed quantities.  EC3 calls these multi-material elements, and they're now much more useful.

To create one, Add an Element and then convert it to Multi-Material.  You can then build up the object yourself (freeform) or use one of our preset templates!

 

Slab on Metal Deck Template

The units used by Environmental Product Declarations aren't always the most convenient ones.  Our templates help convert from measures designers know to the EPD units.

Choosing "Slab on Metal Deck" brings up a helper that calculates the quantities for concrete, steel deck, mesh, and topping mix based on the geometry of the deck.   

CMU Wall Template

Choosing "CMU Wall" brings up a helper that creates the correct formulas for CMU, Mortar, Rebar, and Grouting based on the thickness, void ratio, morar thickness, rebar, and grouting.  

Simpler EPD Imports

Adding EPDs to EC3 is now simpler with the the "Add EPDs to EC3" functions.  View the status of your imports, upload a new EPD to be digitized, or enter an EPD manually (though to avoid unverified data we still require some special credentials to do create EPDs manually)

Multi-select dropdowns

Many filter options allow you to select multiple objects at once. You can search for EPDs for  mineral wool or cellulose insulation, for example, by marking both as “Yes”. You exclude EPDs with a property by clicking them again, which will add a “No” mark next to them.  A third click reverts to the default "don't care" setting.  

By contrast, searches from different boxes (like options and compressive strength) always require the EPD to satisfy all the conditions.

Selecting Multiple Buildings

It's now easier to manage multiple buildings.  By selecting the checkbox on the right, you can now compare or delete multiple buildings at once.  

Bug fixes, performance upgrades and more 3rd party verified EPDs!

EC3 users are now a worldwide movement.  Here's who you were just during the month of August!

We're here to help you meet your climate goals. Working together there is little we cannot accomplish!

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool.  The record-breaking heat waves are a reminder of how much we have at stake here.  The 90%-effective vaccination of tens of millions of people a week shows what we can do when we follow the science and work together.

openEPD comes to EC3

Everybody wants EPDs to be all-digital, in a shared format that captures the info building designers and LCA experts need.  Working with UL, we have implemented an open standard for EPDs covering a full set of life cycle stages, impact types, and LCIA methods.  EC3 now supports creation and editing of all the openEPD fields, as well as API access

Cementitious Materials category

Over 85% of the impact of concrete is in the cementitious materials.  Cement and Supplementary Cemetitious Materials are now in EC3 with filters for ASTM Prescriptive specs as well as C1157 and CSA A3001 performance specs. Special thanks go to Lehigh Hanson for their technical assistance.

Download Search Results in Excel 

EC3's built-in graphs not yielding the resutls you need?  You can now download most EC3 searches in Excel or CSV format for your own processing. This capability is part of our commitment to open data.  Please remember that data you download doesn't get updated when new data appears or errors are corrected

Upfront vs. Operating Carbon

In Plan and Compare Buildings, you will now find a section "Embodied vs. Operating Carbon" which will let you compare the upfront embodied carbon with the operating carbon, if you have an estimate for electrical and natural-gas use.

Copy/Paste Collections between Buildings

When you copy a Collection on a building element, you can paste it in other buildings too (not just the one you copied it from).  This lets you make a 'building project' that is really a pallette of materials to copy/paste. 

We can neither confirm nor deny that this feature was totally unplanned until Mercury Engineering discovered it (mostly) worked.  It works reliably now!

Import from other EC3 Buildings

Use the Import from EC3 Building Project function to copy all the elements from one building project to another.  This is useful for merging several partial buildings together, importing a template, and so on.

Bug fixes, performance upgrades and many more 3rd party verified EPDs!
In the past 3 months, we have digitized 1181 EPDs in 59 different categories, fixed a ton of bugs, and refined the user experience for others. 

Over 15,000 professionals now use EC3.  You're why we do this!

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool.  The record-breaking heat waves are a reminder of how much we have at stake here.  The 90%-effective vaccination of tens of millions of people a week shows what we can do when we follow the science and work together.

Supply-chain Specific Concretes!

Over 85% of the impact of concrete is in the cementitious materials.  Lack of transparency in the cement has been a major barrier to fair comparison of concretes.  A collaboration with ClimateEarthCadman, and Lehigh has resulted in the first Concrete EPDs that are transparent back to the cement plant.  OK, fine, we're geeks, but this is super exciting.

 

Data Cabling Category Released

With the assistance of Superior Essex, we have developed the data cabling category and released it publicly.  This category covers a range of copper and optical fibre cables used in commercial and datacentre applications.

CLF 2021 Baselines

The Carbon Leadership Forum has issued updated baselines for 2021, reflecting the latest state of their research.  EC3 has implemented these new baselines.  Select your preferred baselines in your Preferences or in the graph settings.

Buy Clean California 2021

For 2021, the California DGS has issued maximum GWP intensity for materials involved in public procurement.  We have done our best to implement the BCCA requirements for PCR selection and 2021 DGS limits.  Set the 'Compliance' filter to 'Buy Clean 2021'.

Concrete Exposure Classes

EC3 now supports setting and searching for concrete by exposure class, including support for ACI318, CSA A23.1, and EN206.

Searches may return limited numbers of results right now (since most EPDs don't document this kind of performance spec) but we think it's a step in the right direction of comparing mixes that will work in your application, rather than using a single metric.

Building Structure Classes with SE2050

With the help of the SE2050 database team, we have implemented properties that let you describe a building so that it can be compared with reasonably similar building projects.  The new properties cover the vertical, lateral, horizontal, and foundation, along with key seismic data.  

Industry EPDs, Product EPDs, or Both?

By default, EC3 presents data from a mix of Product EPDs (single datapoints) and Industry EPDs (a distribution with a weighting of 15 product EPDs).  You can now control this in searching and charts by selecting just Product EPDs, Industry EPDs, or both (the default, which you can change in your Preferences).

Bug fixes, performance upgrades and more 3rd party verified EPDs!

Many, including more-easily found accessories, better capture of gypsum properties, and more.  

Over 12,000 professionals now use EC3.  You're why we do this!

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool.  The momentum behind climate action is stronger than I've ever seen; we can now act in ways that weren't possible even a few years ago.

Greater location-specificity of data

Many EPDs don't document where they are from.  EC3 had previously included these in all geographic searches.  EPDs with no documented locations are now excluded from  geographic searches.

 

Plant Groups

Many materials are produced at multiple plants, and are distributed together.  EC3 now lets you group and manage plants associated with those products.  Plant groups are accessible from the EPD and Organization screens, and can represent a geography or an explicit list of plants.

Linked categories and Process Inputs 

Generally, the statistics for an EC3 category include all its sub-categories.  Sometimes that's not helpful, such as when the sub-category is has a different declared unit (e.g. area vs. mass), or if the sub-category is really a manufacturing input to that category (e.g. Cement for Concrete).  To make clear which sub-categories are NOT included in the statistics, we mark the former with a 'link' icon, and the latter with an 'input' icon, with associated explanatory text in a tooltip.

Lognormal Blue Fuzzy Stuff™

For those who pay close attention to our statistics, the blue uncertainty range around the declared EPD value now has transparency that reflects the lognormal distribution typical of emissions variation and internally used by EC3, rather than the gaussian (normal) distribution.  And yes, we are kidding about the trademark.

Baseline Objects 

The CLF baselines are now much more clearly documented, and can be browsed using the Manage Data > Baselines function. Baselines will be expressed in your selected units, but are always based on the metric version of the published baseline.

Soft Search Terms

Many search terms are not yet well covered by our digitized EPDs.  When you do a search using one of these search terms and it results in zero returns, we immediately rerun the search without the weak search terms.  The failed search terms appear crossed-out in the search chips.

EPDs from Australia and New Zealand.

With the help of Thinkstep ANZ, we have imported a large number of Aussie and Kiwi EPDs, including almost 1000 concretes from New Zealand.  

Bug fixes, performance upgrades and more data!

Many, including cached images, fixes to LEED handling of vaguely defined materials, better category detection for materials, and more. 

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool. Working together we still have most of a decade to avert the climate crisis, so let's all keep the faith and do what we can. 

Download Excel Reports.    

Reports are now available in a well-formated Excel worksheet suitable for presentation, in addition to plain csv.  The Quantity Summary Report is best for checking and comparing quantities, while the Building Element Report is essentially a full export of the project.

 

Dedicated LEED Report and LEED Chart

A dedicated LEED embodied-carbon pilot credit Report now reports only LEED credit categories, with the specific calculations and evidence required for LEED submittal.  The LEED report is accessed from the Download Reports button in the Building Planner.  A matching LEED chart is also provided.

Embeddable short links for EPDs

Every EPD now has a short shareable hyperlink that is easy to embed in product documentation, submittals, or databases.

Find EPD Creators in your sector

The new "How to get an EPD" section helps manufacturers find EPD developers, verifiers, and Program Operators with experience in each industry sector.

Tree-menu Category Navigator

It's now easier to navigate the material categories in EC3, either by text or by navigating our graph-inspired tree menu.

View Selected Materials in Planner

A toggle switch in the Building Planner now allows you to view the Selected Material or the search terms for the Collection, interchangeably.

Choice of impact format.

A dropdown in the Building Planner now lets you view the Baseline, Conservative Estimate, or Achievable Target for each element.  To see them all at once, try downloading the Excel-formatted Building Element report from the Download Reports menu.

Wood and Steel categories rearranged.

With the assistance of the American Wood Council, American Institute of Steel Construction and the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, we have reorganized the Wood and Steel categories to better match industry practice. 

Bug fixes, performance upgrades and more data!

Many, including EPDs from Europe and Asia, smarter BIM imports, fixes to baseline calculations, and a whole bunch more.

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool.  Amid the pandemic and rampant injustice, let's be calm, be safe, and be kind. 

 

Calculator for Insulation  

Insulation products are declared in a slightly counterintuitive way, in multiples of 1 m2 with an RSI of 1.   In EC3, when you specify an Insulation, a calculator will appear to help calculate the right quantity from the desired R-Value and area.  Supports both USA and SI units. 

 

Sample Bid Documents and Supplier EPD Request Letters  

A set of sample bid documents and supplier letters are now provided in the Building Planner, courtesy of Skanska USA.

View BIM import results in 3D

We are constantly working on improving BIM imports, but not every BIM element is going to translate successfully.  The latest feature allows you to view which parts of your model imported successfully in 3D, using the Large Model Viewer.  Clicking on the element brings up an explanation of the issue.

Extra-large BIM models

Some BIM models have hundreds or thousands of BIM types, too many to map reasonably.  We have implemented new features to summarize these, such as in this example of a French building.

Tree Diagram, LEED chart, or Sankey?

You can view GHG impacts as a Sankey Diagram, Tree Diagram or a LEED-customized bar chart from the Building List.

Better Product comparisons

When comparing products, you can now interactively select any of the products in the list and see comparisons in real time.  Just click on "Compare Materials" to get started.

Easier EPD imports to EC3

The "Import EPDs" function now provides substantially more information about the status of an EPD you are trying to import, and explains what each status means.

Search multiple manufacturers/plants

When searching for EPDs, you can now select several specific manufacturers or plants sumultaneously, not just one. 

Bug fixes and more data!

Many, including fixes to the LEED charts, resilient flooring, the Operating vs. Embodied graphs, and Manufacturer editing functions.

We love to hear your comments and feedback.  Most of the above features came in response to specific feedback from users (you know who you are!).  Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to let us know what you think. 

 

Thanks as always to the forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool.  Amid the pandemic and rampant injustice, let's be calm, be safe, and be kind. 

 

Filter EPDs by specific PCR

You can now search and filter EPDs to find ones that use the same Product Category Rules.  The search box will show all PCRs that apply to the category or its parent.

Users now displayed by name and employer only

As part of our ongoing improvements in privacy and confidentiality, professional users now show up by name and employer, rather by your email address. As before, Private users will not be visible, and cannot use the sharing functions.   To become a Professional user, you just need to enter your employer and profession, demonstrating that you have entered business contact information (rather than personal information).

Adding new EPDs to EC3
Adding EPDs to EC3 is now easier using the Import EPDs function in the left sidebar.  EPDs you have uploaded will be shown with their current import status.  Old methods such as emailing PDFs to epd-uploads@building transparency.org, direct API imports, and uploads via box.com remain available.   

Exclude products with certain options.

You can now click an option a second time to search while excluding materials with a certain optional feature.  Currently this feature only works with a few materials, but it will be enabled for the remaining materials over the next month.

Templates for Commercial Buildings in SI and USA units

There are now Templates for commercial buildings, containing examples of most of the major materials, along with notes and suggested calculations.   Save As Copy to get an editable version of your own.

Preview EPD before uploading
When you upload an EPD, you can use 'preview' to check the file you're uploading.  This also helps answer a couple of questions we ask you that help us parse the document (the material category and Program Operator).  If you don't know the answers, you can leave them blank.  

CSV download with selected materials

The CSV download of the building project now includes total realized impacts based on the selected materials.
 

Bug fixes and missing data
Many, including data for selected materials in the CSV download, support for more BIM360 features, and a bunch of fixes to the LEED charts.

Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to share your ideas and bug reports.  C Change Labs is grateful to forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool, who together allow us to deploy cloud technology in the fight to preserve our climate.  

Embodied Carbon vs. Operating Carbon

Compare embodied vs. operating carbon impacts based on the Conservative estimate for the building, the EUI, local grid, and local gas supply.  The graph incorporates anticipated decarbonization of the grid between current levels and 2050.

Elements made up of multiple layers

For walls, decks, and other building elements with multiple layers, you can now create multiple materials, using simple math to create stud spacings, layer thicknesses, and so on.  The quantities are multiplied up for you in Masterformat view and Sankey diagrams.

BIM Imports in the Background

When you import a building from BIM360, you can now let EC3 do its work in the background, while you do other work (including importing other buildings).  EC3 will notify you when it’s done, with a report of what occurred.

Improved LEED Charts

The Selected vs. Baseline chart is now much improved based on user feedback, with clearer data notations and several bug fixes.

Bug fixes and missing data
Many, including LEED charts not showing for non-Pilot users, inabilty to copy buildings, and a major infusion of new insulation EPDs.

Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to share your ideas and bug reports.  C Change Labs is grateful to forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool, who together allow us to deploy cloud technology in the fight to preserve our climate.  

Selected vs Baseline Chart

The new Selected vs Baseline Chart compares the selected material(s) for the builiding against the CLF conservative baseline and the EC3 achievable target, for eight material types:  concrete, steel, wood, Aluminium, Glazing, Insulation, Ceiling Panels, and Carpet.

3D view of how Selected Material stacks up in Large Model Viewer

BIM360 imports are now colorable by relative performance of your selected materials vs. the best available.  Use the dropdown control at top right and choose “Selected Material”.  The name of the selected material is also shown in the property view box.

Large BIM Imports
Users with large BIM models will now be able to import from BIM360.  To contain the number of materials that must be mapped, EC3 combines Revit families in the same model and using the same structural material into a single EC3 Building Element, in cases where there are large numbers of such families.

BIM360 en français

Nous avons amélioré EC3 pour mieux supporter RVTs françaises.

Better reports for non-English languages

Downloading BIM and Tally import reports, or the entire project as CSV now properly supports characters like é, ñ, and ü.  

Bug fixes and missing data
Many, including linking most Industry EPDs with the correct PCR, fixing overly-enthusiastic privacy protections, and more.  

Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to share your ideas and bug reports.  C Change Labs is grateful to forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool, who together allow us to deploy cloud technology in the fight to preserve our climate.  

Easier Selected Material search

To make it easier to select a material, entries you make in the filter bar no longer change the statistics of your overall search, they only change the list of EPDs shown.

Manufacturers Edit Product Specs
Manufacturers who are signed up with EC3 can now review and edit the description, performance specs, and plants associated with each material.  However, only the Program Operator can edit environmental data.  Manufacturer reps wanting edit permission for their company should make a request via  Report Bugs & Feedback.

Downloadable Product Category Rules

Every EPD in EC3 is now has a link to its PCR document, which you can download from its publisher.

Sankey Diagram Improvements

  • Hovering over any path shows the Building Element it represents.
  • Clicking on any of the sub-assembly bars  zooms in to just that sub-assembly
  • Really big Sankeys now group the smallest elements into 'Other'. Zooming in will let you see more detail.

Building Project Search Bar

Convenient search bar for building projects.  Searches by name, user ID, keywords like "Tally" and "BIM", and more.

Tally Import Reports

Tally imports now show the % of Tally materials successfully imported.  You can further refine the results by adding performance specs and geographic info, if you know them.

Better Building Comparisons

More details and clearer explanations when you compare multiple options or multiple buildings.

Please make use of the Report Bugs and Feedback  tool to share your ideas and bug reports.  C Change Labs is grateful to forward-thinking organizations who sponsor BuildingTransparency, and our intrepid Pilot Users who help us shape and improve the tool, who together allow us to deploy cloud technology in the fight to preserve our climate.