Free Environmental Assessment Software for Product Development

Cloud-based Quantis Suite 2.0 is free and easy to use.

With concerns about the environment on the rise, life cycle assessment (LCA) has become an increasingly important aspect of product development. As customers grow increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their products, these concerns should receive the same consideration as other aspects, such as drop impact survivability. Therefore, just as there is software to assess drop impact, there are products out there to assist an engineer in determining a product’s impact on the environment. One example being Quantis Suite 2.0, a cloud-based program you can test out for free.

To setup a design, such as for an aluminum can, you start by nesting the product information into elements (or labels). These elements are then assigned categories (such as “Aluminum” in this case), which can be dragged and dropped into the appropriate elements. You can then assign an environmental impact to the element by assigning each category a process, such as the can’s manufacturing. What you end up with is a simple and intuitive simulation of your process; which thanks to the nesting process ends up looking a lot like a certain front-page internet bulletin board.

Most of the design process construction, with the exception of the impact assignment, is accomplished on a single screen. This is a big improvement over other programs which typically have you flipping between countless screens (a confusing and seemingly endless process).

Searching for a process (or environmental impact) can be a little tricky at first; however, the included filters do help to narrow down the selections. Just keep in mind that the free version of the program only gives you access to around 400 out of the 4,000+ EcoInvent database items. So it is best to take the results from the free version as general indicators, rather than conclusive results.

As a person familiar with other LCA software products, I can confidently say that Quantis is a great program for LCA beginners too. For example, the reporting system is about as user friendly as it gets. To garner more information from a section, such as the impact of a sub-process on the system, just hover or that section of the graph. Additionally, tables are easy to find, make, or export to Excel; the buttons are intuitive; and errors messages do a very good job of directing you where you need to go.

Overall, Quantis is a great learning program for new LCA practitioners. It is intuitive, user friendly, and easy on the eyes and memory. While I still have to get my hands on a full version to determine if it has the same freedoms and usability as other LCA programs, I can say that the free version is already quite useful. In particular, if the free version has the EcoInvent data you need, then it seems that it is more than capable enough to handle the average LCA job.

If you would like to gain access to the full program and database, the license will cost you €1000 ($1350 USD) per year. This price is certainly on the cheaper side compared to other LCA software out there, and if you are using it for educational purposes then a drastically reduced cost per user is available. Though this leaves me wondering, where was this free offer when I was writing my thesis?

Image courtesy of: Quantis

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.