Time-saving tips for SimaPro LCA software users

This list of tips and tricks for SimaPro users was originally published by the SimaPro partner in the US. For more useful tips, please visit the SimaPro Help Center.

How to see what projects use specific libraries

1. If you would like to see what projects use a specific library, close the project you are in and open the library project of interest (e.g. USLCI).

2. Then select “Delete” (don’t worry, you are NOT actually going to delete the library!).

How to see what projects use specific libraries in SimaPro

3. Say “Yes” to the warning:

4. Say “OK” to the Error:

EarthShift, SimaPro, LCA

5. Then you will receive an overview of what processes and in what projects these processes are being used.

How to see what underlying processes are used in your process

1. If you would like to see what underlying processes and their respective libraries are used in your process, run an analysis on the process of interest.

2. Then, click on the “Product overview” tab to see what projects and libraries, as well as products are used.
NOTE: When using unit-level data, all linked processes will be shown as well.

How to see what underlying processes are used in your process in SimaPro

Library switch function

If you are using a database that contains both system-level and unit-level data (e.g. Ecoinvent unit library and Ecoinvent system library), and you would like to switch from one (e.g. system-level processes) to the other (e.g. unit-level processes) in your analysis, you can by using the library switch function.

1. In the calculation set-up window, select the method and process you would like to analyze.

Library switch functionin SimaPro - calculation set-up window

2. Then, double click below “Current library” and select the library that you currently have in your process that you would like to replace (e.g. Ecoinvent system processes).

Library switch function in SimaPro - Current library

3. Next, double click below “Replacing library” and select the library you would like to use instead (e.g. Ecoinvent unit processes).

Library switch function in SimaPro - Replacing library

4. Then, click “Calculate.”
NOTE: You will need to populate the Suffix for databases that do not use the same nomenclature for system (S) and unit (U). This function ONLY switches the data for THIS calculation.

5. To view what processes where replaced (AKA Equivalent products), click on the “Unequivalent products” tab, which will look something like this:

Library switch function in SimaPro - Unequivalent products

NOTE: This will also show what products were not matched and incompatible products. You can copy this list (Edit/copy) and paste into a word document or email.

Standardizing on LCI data libraries—good practice and calculates faster, too!

Different Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) libraries are built to different standards. Some use the consequential approach (LCA Food DK) while most use an attributional approach. Some use the cut-off method for recycling (ecoinvent) while others use avoided burden (the older BUWAL 250 library). Ecoinvent and most of the US-EI library include infrastructure and uncertainty. Input/Output data includes office lighting and services that are mostly ignored by other data sets. By standardizing on one or two datasets, you reduce the inconsistency in your model, ensuring that both Product A and Product B are modeled using the same assumptions and methods. This simplifies the consistency check part of Interpretation.

1. You can make this standardization easier by selecting only the libraries you want to use at the start of a project. Click on “Libraries” (under Goal and Scope) and click “Deselect all” (on the right). Then select only the library or libraries you want to use. Be sure to select the Methods library so you can do an impact assessment. SimaPro will then limit what you see and what you can choose.

Standardizing on LCI data libraries in SimaPro

Click on Libraries. Then deselect all and choose only the libraries you want to use, plus the methods library.

2. But there is another reason to limit the number of libraries you use—to calculate faster! The first time you analyze, SimaPro loads all of the linked data into memory. It starts with the computer RAM or active memory and if it exceeds the available RAM, it creates and uses a swap file on the hard drive. Accessing the swap file takes much more time than accessing RAM. Whenever you use electricity from either the ecoinvent U or US-EI library, you automatically load 2000+ processes into memory. As you add more unit data from other libraries, you are most likely adding more data into the swap file, slowing the process down even more.

3. So if you’re finding the analysis, comparison or uncertainty analysis are getting slow, check to see if you’re using more than one library (link to “How to see what underlying processes are used in your process”). If you can limit the number of libraries without affecting the quality of your model not only will you improve consistency, it will save you time in the long run!

This article was originally posted by Earthshift, an official SimaPro reseller in the US and Canada.

For more SimaPro tips and tricks, please visit SimaPro Help Center.

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