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Carbon counting


How can contractors assess the carbon emissions impact of projects they’re working on? Paul Reeve, the ECA’s head of Safety and Environment, looks in detail at developments in site-based carbon footprinting


The ECA’s ongoing role is to put forward a specialist contractor view and to help ensure outputs are in contractors’ best interests


I


n 2009, some of the largest M&E contractors asked the ECA and the Heating and Ventilation Contractors’ Association (HVCA) to tackle a growing range of questions from buyers about project-based carbon emissions.


A single method for collecting project-based carbon information would offer important benefits such as: n Reducing M&E contractors’ costs (members spend too much time dealing with different enquiries about their carbon emissions);


n Reducing the risk of duplicated or incomplete carbon counting;


n Improving targeting, benchmarking (for example, spotting where the biggest carbon impacts are and what successfully reduces them) and reporting; and


n Allowing clients and contractors to set realistic carbon budgets for future projects.


The associations knew that numerous ‘carbon footprinting’ methods existed, and the challenge was not to come up with a new one, but to work with others to find a widely acceptable method


for measuring project carbon emissions. The first step was to get an accurate view of the current situation. The ECA and HVCA decided that an effective way to communicate across the industry was to team up with the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA)1


.


Industry survey Together, the ECA and HVCA issued an industry-wide survey to buyers (those seeking carbon footprinting information) and suppliers (those


38


ECA Today May 2011


SHUTTERSTOCK


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