Managing Construction Carbons

Managing construction carbon is an essential part of successful project management.

If you are not already using constructco2, here is our latest update release for the ConstructCO2 carbon monitoring toolkit…

As part of the annual review of the ConstructCO2 toolkit’s conversion factors we have updated the Modes of Transport to match those published this year by DEFRA and the Carbon Trust. These updates ensure that we are in line with industry standards and reflect the emission improvements declared by DEFRA every year.

We are aware that many users are now using ConstructCO2 carbon footprint in connection with ISO 14001, Carbon Trust  Standard, ISO 9001 and other standards. You may be interested to know that we offer an independent audit and verification service to verify the accuracy of your data within ConstructCO2. Please do get in touch to discuss

We are also aware that some early adopters may not be fully using some of the more recent additions and improvements to the toolkit, therefore we will be running webinar refresher sessions in the autumn. More news and dates soon.

To assist in publicly demonstrating your commitment in measuring and reducing your projects carbon footprint we have developed:

Reducing Construction Carbon - InfographicA Reducing Carbon Action Planning Infographic to assist strategic and operational carbon reduction:

 

Project Carbon Performance Posters to communicate carbon progress and engagement with those on site:Ashford School CCO2 A2 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

and ConstructCO2 Banners, with QR codes allowing progress checks on performance:cco2 banner

We are very keen to hear your improvement suggestions to incorporate, or you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Also if you are not currently using ConstructCO2 but would like a free trial just ask!

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ConstructCO2 now records zero carbon travel

ConstructCO2, our construction carbon calculator now measures ‘zero’ carbon travel to and from job sites.

Recording and increasing the travel from managers, visitors and operatives who get to site under their own steam (eg walking and cycling) or via car sharing is an important element in reducing construction impact on the environment, travel miles and the associated carbon emissions

It is also an important KPI that measures the projects performance against any green travel or car share plans.

The Zero travel KPI is expressed as a percentage of all travel or can be broken down to percentage of zero carbon travel for managers, visitors or operatives.

It is very very early days as yet, but it looks as through zero carbon travel is below 1% of all people travel. More later when we have more data.

Natural Mossland Carbon Capture Scheme – putting a ‘natural’ cost to carbon?

Not to be confused with carbon offsetting.

If we are serious about moving to low and zero carbon construction then this Mosslands conservation project looks like a good approach to capturing all those tricky CO2 emissions from your site or building that cannot be eliminated through good carbon reduction and energy management.

At £30 a tonne/CO2, to capture construction activity CO2 would mean, that for each £million construction spend we would be paying £30,000. (Based on the constructco2 CO2 indicator)

A natural cost on carbon?

The brochure contains some very interesting facts and figures as why peatland and mossland are essential as carbon sinks, more so than trees, and why we need to stop extraction.

NaturalCarbonCaptureBrochure.pdf Download this file     Or view on my posterous blog 

Cost of Carbon: “What was a carrot will now become a stick”

So are we prepared yet for the tranistion to a low carbon economy in the built environment?

Accouncements this week from the UK Government regarding targets for carbon reduction will affect all aspects of energy use, conservation and management. With the built environment contributing to 40% of CO2 emissions the imapct on design, material production, tranport construction and more will be very significant.

Facilities Management and the way we use buildings will most likely be the sector of the built environment to be profoundly affected. Whether the FM sector can rise to the occasion is another question, and one now being debated in FM forums, circles and events. See my thoughts on CSR Wire Talkback   

Indications from the recent Facilities Show in Birmingham (my own questioning of the exhibitors) suggests carbon measurement is just not on many FM providers agenda as yet

Can we be ready for such a dramatic tranistion, which as Derek Deighton explained is a 13 times reduction – a huge undertaking. And its not as if we havent had time to prepare in the last decade or so. Indeed as John Elkington highlighted ‘since Brundtland in 1987 we are still jollying along and still delighting in green or sustainable innovations’ 

What lies ahead in relation to the tranistion for businesses to a low carbon economy has been wonderfully summed up and explained in the May edition of  the Director in the Green Path to Growth article by Alison Coleman:

The UK has pledged to make deep cuts in carbon emissions by 2050. But as new sustainability rules bite, what are the duties of businesses? …

Britain is committed to massive carbon cuts, and whether businesses subscribe to green principles or not, they will be expected to play a key role. The Climate Change Act 2008 set a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, which assumes energy efficiency savings of around two per cent per annum for the next 40 years. That’s a big ask.

Although many companies are implementing green operating policies and achieving environmental management standards, the business contribution to the target is being driven by myriad carbon-related sustainability rules. Yet many organisations have yet to understand the cost of compliance

and as to the cost of carbon? …

Tony Rooke, sustainability practice leader at IT services provider Logica, says: “What was a carrot will now become a stick, and with the carbon price set at £12 per tonne of carbon emitted, it could add up to eight per cent to an organisation’s energy costs. What it will do is encourage them to minimise that impact by monitoring energy consumption more closely, and redoubling their efforts to reduce it and avoid waste.

it of course makes good sense:

Alan McGill, a partner in the environmental reporting practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Forget the green agenda and just apply the commercial principles. There are lots of companies looking at operational opportunities to take carbon out and bring benefits to the business.”

People get ready, there’s a CO2  train a comin’ You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board”  With apologies to Curtis Mayfield

I have often said the built environment is a fascinating and great sector to be involved with – and now as we realise the carbon train is a-coming and we see its time to get on board, the journey could get a lot more interesting!

Thoughts?

Counting construction carbons with ConstructCO2

This blog has reported on numerous occasions (eg here and here) on the need to measure and improve carbon emissions from construction activities separately from that of the building itself or the facility in use. And the need for an easy, simple to use tool.

As noted many of the available applications for calculating carbons were linked dubiously to carbon offsetting schemes.  Of note for use in construction were the Google Carbon tool (but not construction specific enough) and the Environment Agency tool (but is proving to be too detailed and cumbersome for most projects)

Measuring and improving carbons on site is increasingly important as more and more projects seek higher standards to BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (and soon Non Dom Buildings).  One recent project set ‘damages’ for the contractor not achieving the ‘management points’ (for waste, CO2 and considerate constructor standard) for CSH at £40k per point. (See the CSH Technical Manual for more on this)

Recently at EcoBuild Paul Morrell, Construction Tsar commented  that focus on carbon emissions should be a number one site priority as it is measurable and addresses other areas of ‘waste’ in the industry

And yet the majority of contracts just do not know their project carbon footprint, whether its close to 1tonne or over 100tonne. We do not have a feel for the magnitude of emissions, or indeed what 1kg of CO2 actually looks like.

So it is good news to see the release of ConstructCO2, developed through Evolution-ip, by construction people for construction use.

ConstructCO2 is a simple carbon calculator based on the premise of keeping it simple and easy to use on site. It makes use of existing site approaches for data collection (induction sheets, daily log-ins, plant sheets, utility invoices etc). Carbon emissions through transport are calculated through use of google mapping API .

Construction (people) travel miles are recorded for management, operatives and visitors. (With a dispersed project management team you will be surprised at the carbon footprint of a project site meeting and probably think of alternative arrangements) Material transport miles are derived from delivery notes or goods received sheets.

Where the power of ConstructCO2 lies however is in its reporting. Construction carbons can be measured in terms of co2/£project value, co2/dwelling, c02/m2, co2/bed or other, enabling benchmarking with other projects and generically through KPI’s such as those from Construction Excellence.

But simply knowing the project footprint, the construction company’s total project footprint, and where the biggest areas for carbon emission are enables action for real improvement.

ConstructCO2 is currently being used by a number of different projects in what I guess would be called a beta stage. Current projects include a large new build hotel project, a small industrial refurb project, school extension and an architect’s office.

Currently the use of ConstructCO2 as a tool is free, with a (currently optional) fee based support and training package to help contractors understand carbon issues, carbon standards requirements, measuring, benchmarking and improving carbon footprints.  So it makes sense to take the opportunity now, measure and understand the carbon footprint of one of your projects. At the moment sign up is through request via email contacts on the ConstructCO2 front page

Future developments include the option for live energy feeds from site power meters to ConstructCO2 and live exporting from ConstructCO2 to Google and Pachube for example.

ConstructCO2 is on twitter at @constructco2 and has a ning forum in development for discussion and benchmarking of project carbon issues.

Note: As an associate with Evolution-ip, I have been involved in the ConstructCO2 concept development and testing.  Evolution-IP is a be2camp partner, presenting at and sponsoring be2camp un-conference events.

new online construction carbon calculator

A pre-design carbon calculator has been launched in a bid to boost the green credentials of the construction industry. The free online tool will allow the industry to evaluate sustainable options at the earliest stages of construction and covers various building sectors. Developed by Faithful+Gould, the tool will ensure costs associated with carbon saving techniques are properly budgeted for at the very start of a project.

There is also a more detailed Excel version for download

more information at Faithful+Gould,

isite will use and review shortly.

Carbon management, route to zero and waste management event

Over 70 people from the regional construction, fm and energy sector attended last nights Lancashire Best Practice Club event at the Solarus Center in Blackpool.  The event , in two parts, covered sustainability, targets for the built environment  and carbon issues from Martin Brown and in the second half site waste management plans from Colin Woods

Presentation and links will be available on the events page for downloading.

For more information, or for those present, to discuss any of the issues raised in the evening email Martin or Colin – or both!