20 Nov 2022

Development of LCA platform for the growing media sector

Online LCA tool for Growing Media Europe

Growing Media Europe (GME) is an international non-profit organization representing the producers of growing media and soil improvers at European level. Growing media, sometimes called potting soils or substrates, are materials other than soil in situ in which plants and mushrooms are grown. Blonk started a cooperation with GME in 2019 to set up an LCA toolbox, making it easy and accessible for their members and any other stakeholder to perform Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies for growing media products.

The first component of this Toolbox is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) guideline for the growing media sector in Europe following guidance from the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF).

After the release of the LCA guideline, Blonk also developed an LCA platform.

Now Blonk is working on the 3rd and final step for the GME LCA Toolbox, an online LCA platform, which allows GME members and any license holder to make environmental calculations for growing media mixes in a simple and intuitive way.

GME LCA Platform

The GME LCA platform is an online tool that brings together the Growing Media Environmental Footprint Guideline (GMEFG) and an LCA database. The database contains most common growing media constituents allowing users to calculate the environmental footprint of growing media mixes.

The goal of the LCA platform is to allow users to calculate the environmental impact of their mixes in an easy and intuitive way, requiring little previous LCA expertise.

The development of the GME LCA platform consists of 3 development phases, each adding different features and functionality.  Blonk delivered phase 1 of the platform in June 2022. Users can now input the composition of the growing media mix, indicate the use of resources, packaging and transport associated to their production, and calculate the environmental footprint of 1 m3 of growing media mix all using an intuitive and easy-to-use online interface.

In the coming months Blonk will expand the functionality of the platform (development phase 2), allowing users to compare their mixes, analyze results per life cycle and export their data.

In development phase 3 (Q1 2023) we will focus on possibilities to add additional modules to the platform, currently in use in the tool.

Sample views

Access

The access of the GME LCA platform is managed on a licence base. In case you are interested in a requiring a license please contact support for a licence.

Development of an LCA tool

In the development of the GME LCA platform we combined Blonk’s longstanding expertise in LCA, with the delivered GME LCA database and cutting-edge development techniques, to allow for instant LCA calculations according to the GMEFG. At Blonk we are front runners in using the newest innovations in cloud infrastructure, frontend techniques and persistence to ensure the best quality and experience for our users.

 

Agile way of working: a flexible approach

The key to be able to successfully develop an (online) tool is to get to know your client needs and wishes and translate these to a user-friendly tool. In the case of the give input and insight on the development. We used an agile way of working to ensure we are flexible to changing requirements and needs of the client: “Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a "big bang" launch, an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments. Requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.”
Source: atlassian.com/agile

More information on the Growing Media Environmental Footprint Guideline

Check out the Growing Media Footprint guideline published by GME in October 2021. And read more about the development of Growing media LCA Standard on Blonk's website.

More information

Get in touch

Paulina Gual
Senior Consultant | Blonk Consultants

If you have questions about this project or are interested to develop a customized online LCA or environmental calculation tool for your sector? Get in touch with Paulina.