new openLCA 1.5, released September 2016

What´s new in 1.5?

new_database_structureWhat you will recognize first is the new structure of database elements and new icons. The looks are now more modern and colorful, and the different database elements such as flows, processes or product systems are therefore easier to distinguish. We also divided the database structure into the categories that are most important for modeling the system, and into “Indicators and parameters” and „Background data“ which comprises the categories that usually does not need to be accessed as often and are therefore closed by default.

In openLCA it is now possible to handle GIS data, allowing the user to include this type of data in the process locations, as well as for defining site-specific impact factors in the method (using parametrization) and therefore making a regionalized impact assessment possible. This does not mean, however, that there is a prepared regionalized impact assessment method available, but openLCA offers the possibility to create one. A KML editor can be used to manually define new locations, but geographic data can also be imported in KML or EcoSpold2 format (read more, regionalized impact assessment manual, pdf).

Life Cycle Costing is again implemented in openLCA. In line with the approach of Environmental Life Cycle Costing, it comes as a flow-based approach for calculating Life Cycle Costs and Value Added, with Value Added being considered as „negative cost“. This implementation replaces previous, process cost based approaches in openLCA. It is more flexible since it allows specification of separate costs for each exchange in a process (read more, life cycle costing manual, pdf).

In the new version of openLCA social indicators were introduced. This is related to the release of the PSILCA database which is now available for order on Nexus as first release candidate: The PSILCA database provides generic inventory information on almost 60 social indicators for 189 countries. The social indicators make it possible to assess social impacts of products along their entire life cycles (read more, PSILCA manual, pdf)

For the 1.5 release the ecoinvent 3.3 database was implemented. In this version each dataset has a PDF with documentation which can be accessed directly from openLCA. Furthermore, it is now allowed to include the same product flow more than once in a process, coming from different providers.

Next to these bigger changes, other useful improvements include:

  • New languages: openLCA is now available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. Big thanks to our translators!new-search-filter
  • A filter option for the search field
  • Several smaller improvements and bug fixes such as an improved import/export (in JSON format)

All of the software changes mentioned here were carried out by the GreenDelta Team in Berlin; support from sponsors, including the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) and SCS Global Services is gratefully acknowledged.

How to get the latest version?

Version 1.5.0 is available at the openLCA Downloads website. You can use either the installer (your will need to de-install your older version) or the .exe file included in the zip file also provided in the downloads page (no need to de-install your older version). In both cases, when you open a database you will be asked to update it to the new database format. By clicking OK, you accept the conversion. The content of the database will not be affected, only the structure. Have in mind that this process cannot be reversed. Once your database has the new database structure it cannot be opened with earlier openLCA versions (e.g. 1.4.2, 1.5.0 beta 1).