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[ Focus: Carbon footprinting ]

providing the information). The survey, which was carried out in spring 2010, comprised 34 questions, including: Questions to clients: n What are the main drivers for seeking to measure the carbon footprint of construction projects? (For example, ISO 14001.)

n What key documents/organisations have helped/ influenced your approach to carbon footprinting?

n Given a choice, what data source do you prefer for assessing your project-based carbon footprint?

n At what project stage(s) do you require carbon footprinting information? Question to suppliers: n At what stage(s) of the project are you asked to provide carbon footprinting information?

More than 50 organisations from across the industry replied, providing the ECA and HVCA with a valuable snapshot of how the supply chain approaches carbon footprinting. This feedback gave us useful information, and something that we could share with the rest of the industry. As we developed links with other industry players, it

became clear that we were not the only group looking at project-based carbon footprinting. In the summer of 2010, the Strategic Forum for Construction (SFfC) and the Carbon Trust had produced an impressive report2

n Be easy to measure; n Be relevant to all sizes of construction project and contractor;

n Reflect current understanding of the main sources of carbon emissions during projects; and

n Fit with existing carbon footprinting protocols such as ENCORD, the Global Reporting Initiative and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol3


The ECA’s ongoing role in the group is to put forward a specialist contractor view and help to ensure that the outputs are in contractors’ best interests. For example, while most of the sub-group sees a new project-based method as the best route to measuring UK carbon performance post-project, they now understand that specialist contractors are just as interested in standardising pre-project questionnaires.

Proposed site-based carbon questions Subject to final consultation, the new method for project- based carbon footprinting is expected to be launched by early summer 2011. The method is developing along the following lines:

on how to reduce

construction carbon emissions, notably those from projects. In the autumn, we pooled our information and joined the SFfC’s carbon sub-group, to help bring home an industry- wide project carbon method.

Industry-wide carbon group The ECA is an active participant in the SFfC carbon sub-group, which agreed that a project-based carbon metric should:

At what stage(s) of the project are you mostly required to provide carbon footprinting information?

Designing and pre-construction Tendering and pre-qualification Multiple stages Commencement During construction Completion No pattern Other

1) Collect the following data – either before/during construction and/or on completion of the project: n The amount of energy expected to be used/used on-site since the start of the project, e.g. electricity (kWh), diesel (litres), gas LPG or LNG (kg) and other types3

; and n The value of the project.

2) Calculate carbon emissions per type of energy use: n Energy from renewables is expected to be classed as having a zero CO2 n To calculate CO2 CO2

e per kWh emission factor. e emissions:

e emissions = Energy consumption (kWh) x Fuel emission factor (kg CO2

e/kWh) 4 .

3) Normalise the results: The performance score is calculated using the formula: (CO2

e emissions (kg CO2

Given a choice, what data source do you prefer for assessing your project-based carbon footprint?

12 10 8 6 4 2 0

CECOP Best Foot


Bath Uni ICE

EA Data source

Defra BRE Carbon Trust

The agreed scope of project work for the new carbon footprinting method is: n Deconstruction; n Enabling works and remediation; n On-site plant and equipment; n Site accommodation; n Fit-out and finishing; n Maintenance and repair; and n Major refurbishment and renovation.

What’s not included... After extensive discussion, the carbon sub-group agreed not to include the following aspects in its proposed site-based method (though the information can still be collected and used alongside): n Off-site manufacturing and assembly – these should be reported separately, rather than by project;

n Freight transport – this is covered by a parallel SFfC carbon sub-group;

n Allocating emissions from corporate offices and May 2011 ECA Today 39

This feedback gave us useful information, and something that we could share with the rest of the industry

e)/Project value (£)) x 100,000

Number of times data source was mentioned

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