Introducing SimaPro 8 | Improved Sustainability Metrics
Mark Goedkoop, founder of PRé and SimaPro, proudly introduces to you the new release of LCA software, SimaPro 8.
The eighth generation of SimaPro software, the reliable workhorse of the LCA community, is now available. This release is a significant development in Sustainability Metrics. Our life cycle assessment software comes complete with the revolutionary new ecoinvent version 3.01 database, the reliable and widely used dataset of choice.
The ecoinvent database has been reinvented. While keeping most of the “must haves” in sustainability metrics, like transparency and extensive documentation, a new and sophisticated modeling approach has been implemented. This new modeling approach results in a much more flexible and consistent dataset and allows for multiple sets of allocation rules and other choices. The new structure is also designed to make it much easier to develop regionalized models, positioning ecoinvent to become the basis for a truly international dataset.
One of the consequences of all of these innovations is that the number of processes in the network went from an average of 2000 processes to an average of 7000. As calculation times and memory usage increased by a factor ten, we realized there was a problem. Our genius programmer Vincent Cleij, who we should credit for all releases since SimaPro version 2, along with the rest of the team, worked hard to tackle this problem. They developed a completely new calculation engine that can easily cope with the memory constraints in Windows machines. SimaPro version 8 now runs five to ten times faster, supporting the additional calculations ecoinvent 3 requires. Quite an achievement for a life cycle assessment software tool already known to be one of the fastest available in sustainability metrics.
Our database implementation team — thanks to Tommie, Jorrit, and Ellen — took great care to develop a fast and intuitive updating system. There is now a one-click transfer routine that transforms all links from your ecoinvent 2 processes into equivalent ecoinvent 3 processes.
While being very proud of the new software release and a strong supporter of ecoinvent, I would also like to caution our users. You will have to get used to the new version of SimaPro. Spend some time exploring the new way of modeling and its consequences. When I opened the ecoinvent networks the first time I thought, “What have they done to my database?” However, after some time you will start to discover the strength of the new approach, and slowly I started to recognize, “This is my database after all.” You may be surprised how some of your results change, so if you use ecoinvent as a basis for tracking progress, be warned.
When and how you transition from ecoinvent 2 to 3 should be a very deliberate choice, made with care, like with every big innovation or change, especially in the world of sustainability metrics. Personally, as LCA practitioner, I will use a transition routine, while also keeping the original model on my disk (SimaPro makes an automatic backup). I will use the new version only for new projects, while keeping the old version for ongoing projects and performance tracking. Of course, in the long term there is no debate: the new ecoinvent database is the basis for the future of LCA modeling and life cycle assessment software. And with SimaPro you have the best access to this future of sustainability metrics. You will succeed! And remember, our support team and our partners are ready to help you as always.
Mark Goedkoop, Founder of PRé
When I established PRé in 1990 I ran a design consultancy, then I decided to do ecodesign. But, how do I tell the good from the bad? And how can I measure ‘eco’? So I started on a journey together with a few pioneers in the emerging LCA scene and gave up designing. I realized then that these same questions need to be answered by any company embarking on the route to more sustainable products and services, preferably in a scientific, honest, and businesslike way. Providing good transparent tools, data, and methodologies to empower organizations to make the transition to sustainability, that is my drive.