7. Settings

Account settings

 

Click on the link for a large overview of the account settings page of the Knowledge Base. To access the settings page in Ecochain, click on the icon in the top-right corner of the navigation bar. You can use the settings panel to change your password, language, logo, database settings or to provide access to other users:

When you lost your login password, please go to this website to change it.

User roles

Users of company accounts can have 3 different roles:

Ready-only: with this role the user can only view data in the account. No changes of data, references or settings can be made.

Editor: with this role the user can or cannot do the following things:

  • Can change and add values and references in the account and can link items with the link symbol.  
  • Can complete LCAs
  • Can see all results
  • Can change the language to their preference
  • Cannot lock levels
  • Cannot publish products in database
  • Cannot invite other users 

Admin: with this role the user can do everything. In addition to the functionalities of the editor the admin can:

  • Lock levels
  • Publish products in Ecochain
  • Invite other users

Calculation method

To adjust the calculation method click on ‘Calculation method’ in the settings panel. The following page will appear:

Standard database: The ‘Standard database’ setting determines which impact items – like electricity and diesel - are selectable in the company footprint and what values are linked to these items. Select a standard database for your country, or select English/International if it’s not available.

LCA standard to be used: The ‘LCA standard to be used’ setting determines which impact categories are visible in the application. Impact categories indicate what the environmental impact of the modelled product or activity is for specific environmental effects such as climate change and ecotoxicity. These impact categories are incorporated throughout the application and in exports. The following settings are recommended:


 

 

Navigation Bar

 

In order to work with the Ecochain application the navigation bar is essential. The navigation bar is always located at the top of your browser.

1. Selected year

Ecochain is filled in on a yearly basis. The navigation bar displays the selected year and offers the opportunity to switch between years. As such Ecochain can be updated every year, while data from previous years can still be accessed. 

 Per year it is additionally indicated to what extent data has been entered, which is visualized with a green bar.

It is also possible to copy data from a year to another year. When clicking on an empty year (a year that does not contain any data), you are asked if you want to copy data into this empty year. You can then:

  • Copy data from a selected year; or
  • Continue to the empty year without copying.

2. Select data level

The ‘Input’ menu is used to navigate through the different levels: (1) company, (2) process and (3) product. Once your company data is entered for these three levels it is possible to see the ‘cradle-to-gate’ results, which encompasses all life-cycle phases associated with resource extraction, transport to the production plant and production of the product. 

It is also possible to construct a product scenario beyond the factory gate (4). The ‘product scenario’ tab allows the user to include the use, demolition and waste stages of the product life cycle.

3. Results

LCA results are available once the data entry exercise is complete. The results section allows you to examine a wide variety of statistics, such as the environmental impact on a company, process and product and material level.

4. Recalculate button

The recalculate button allows you to quickly update your newest data entries. This way you will update any adjustments that have been made to your input data and Ecochain will calculate the results.  

 

Exporting Excel files

 
 

If you want to make (additional) analyses of your results, we recommend you to export your current data and make changes in the exported file with Excel or any other editor that supports xslx files. Using the import function you can upload large amounts of data to Ecochain. 

Exporting Excel files from Ecochain works in (almost) the same way at every Ecochain level (company, process, product, results etc.):

  • In this example, we will be exporting Usages & Emissions as seen in the figure below
  • Make sure you are working in the correct year, as indicated in the top-left of the screen
  • Click ‘Export’
  • When the download starts, a message box “Export has started” appears in the top-right of the screen for a few seconds
  • The Excel file is downloaded in the background of your browser and can take several minutes
  • Once the download is finished, your browser will send a notification and a message box “Export completed” appears in the top-right of the screen for a few seconds.
  • Now you can open the Excel-file, make changes and save it on your local disk

 

Importing Excel files

 
 
 
 
Created by 
Last updated Jan 21, 2019 by 
 
 

You can use the import function to upload large amounts of data to Ecochain. Importing data with the import tool will never delete any data.

Importing Excel files from Ecochain works in (almost) the same way at every Ecochain level (company, process, product):

  • Click ‘Import’;
  • A new window appears, in this example the importing of product compositions is described (see figure below);
  • Click ‘Select an xls file’;
  • Select the specific Excel-file you want to import into the application from your local disk;
  • Click ‘Open’;

  • Your selected file appears in the screen;
  • Click ‘Preview changes’ to monitor the change;

  • Check if uploaded file was successfully read (see below);
  • Click on ‘Changes’ to see which changes will be made;
  • Click on ‘Save Changes’ to save the data you have imported.

 

Note: when exact duplicate lines are present in the Excel-file, only the first row within the document will be imported. If this is not desired, check the imported Excel-file and re-name the duplicate items.

Excel errors

It is important to realise that the Import/Export function adheres to strict formatting, without which the Ecochain application cannot process the data correctly. The easiest way to ensure that this is the case is to base the imported data on an exported format.

The Excel-format should:

  • Adhere to the pre-configured format of Ecochain data at that specific stage of the process. This means that no changes can be made in either the number of columns or column titles
  • Not contain any formulas. If the cell value was determined by a formula, please ensure that it is pasted as a value if it is to be imported into Ecochain (use the ‘paste special’ option of Excel);
  • Not contain any values that derive from cells that are not within the boundaries of the table. The ‘Look Up’ or referral functions should not be used, as Ecochain will not be able to follow that reference.

 

 

Common errors and issues

 
 

On this page common errors and issues encoutered when using Ecochain are described. 

Frequently asked questions and issues 

  • "My results are different, but I did not change anything in Ecochain": This might be due to a database update. Databases like EcoInvent and others are updated approximately every 6 months. This might result in slightly different reference values in the database, that are used in the purchasing step in Ecochain. When your materials are linked to one of those updated references, the final results of this material can slightly differ as well, which might change your product results a bit.  
  • "I don't see any MKI results": This might be because the account calculation is not completed yet. You can finalize your results by clicking on the recalculate button (also explained on the finalize your LCA's page). Another reason for missing MKI results could be that the account settings are not adjusted accordingly yet. This can be changed under settings > calculation method in the application (also explained on this page)
  • "After adjusting a material name in the composition, the old name is still visible in the 'add materials' option list": After a name is changed in Ecochain, the application "thinks" this is a new material and will remember the old name as well. For materials this can be solved by removing the old name under purchasing by using the  behind the name, after removing the reference. You should not forget to add the right reference first to the 'new' material. 
  • "No products match the criteria": This is a statistics error that is formed when products are formed with compositions, but no usages & emissions and/or processes are filled in in the account. This problem can be solved by filling in 0,00000000001 kg of water at company level (at the usage&emissions page). You should then create a process and allocate 100% of this water usage to it. At Process x Product choose the distribution method 'custom' and untick all boxes that occur and click 'save'. Recalculate the account and now all statistics are visible without this process being allocated to the product. 

Ecochain errors

During the implementation process in the Ecochain application, the following error might occur in certain situations.

To quickly solve this error, the following situations and associated possible solutions are described:

  • When changing the company name in an existing account: after the error occurs, click the previous page in your browser menu. You'll be back on the settings page, but the company name is changed to what you inserted.
  • Error when viewing results, but for another Ecochain user the results look fine: delete cookies in your browser. This might solve the problem.
  • When clicking on 'results', an error occurs: When this occurs in a copied account, it might be due to incorrect calculation methods settings. This can be changed under settings > calculation method in the application (also explained on this page)
  • When errors occur during importing excel files, see below. 

Excel errors

It is important to realise that the Import/Export function adheres to strict formatting, without which the Ecochain application cannot process the data correctly. The easiest way to ensure that this is the case is to base the imported data on an exported format.

The Excel-format should:

  • Adhere to the pre-configured format of Ecochain data at that specific stage of the process. This means that no changes can be made in either the number of columns or column titles
  • Not contain any formulas. If the cell value was determined by a formula, please ensure that it is pasted as a value if it is to be imported into Ecochain (use the ‘paste special’ option of Excel);
  • Not contain any values that derive from cells that are not within the boundaries of the table. The ‘Look Up’ or referral functions should not be used, as Ecochain will not be able to follow that reference.

 

 

Databases

 

Databases can be used to select references for the used materials (click here for more information about adding materials). The two main databases available in Ecochain are Ecoinvent and the Nationale Milieu Database (NMD). Ecoinvent is the largest life cycle database of the world. The Nationale Milieu Database (NMD) is a LCA database focused on the construction sector in the Netherlands. 

 

Creating a sub-account

 
 

You can creating a sub-account or a supplier-account for a company with a paid Ecochain account in the following way:

  1. Click on the company account name in the right top corner of the screen.

  2. Click on "All your companies".

  3. Below your company click on "create new company" (green button).
  4. A smaller screen appears. Fill in your own company name with -supplier behind or the name of your supplier. 
  5. Fill in "industry", "sub-industry" and "country". 
  6. At "account type", tick the box "secondary account" and select the primary account of your company. Save settings.
  7. Now a free sub-account has been created.
  8. For inviting other members in this sub-account, click on your company name in the right top corner of the screen and select the supplier account.
  9. Go to settings (cogwheel in the right top corner of the screen)
  10. In the settings menu left, click "Users". 
  11. Fill in email address at "invite users" and tick 'read-only', 'editor' or 'admin' (depending on how much access you want to give the invited person).
  12. Send invitation.  
  13. Contact Ecochain to let one of the LCA team members switch the free sub-account to a paid account, when you need full access to all account privileges.