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[ Focus: Carbon footprinting ] business travel to a given project;


■ Embodied carbon – again, data can be added to that obtained from the site-based method; and


The ECA will also be involved in any future development of planned benchmarks for refurbishment, repair and maintenance


■ Unless renewable energy is generated and used on- site, project-based carbon savings (e.g., from green tariffs) should not be claimed.


The carbon sub-group also decided to benchmark good and best practice during the construction phase. The suggested metrics include: ■ Domestic buildings – tonnes CO2


gross fl oor area (GFA)


■ Non-domestic buildings – tonnes CO2 ■ Infrastructure (area) – tonnes CO2


per m2 per m2


The ECA will also be involved in any future development of planned benchmarks for refurbishment, repair and maintenance.


Strategic Forum carbon action report The SFfC’s 2010 report highlights 11 areas for action, to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions (compared with 2008). These are: ■ Energy effi cient site accommodation; ■ Effi cient use of construction plant; ■ Earlier connection to the grid; ■ Good practice energy management on site; ■ On-site measurement monitoring and targeting; ■ Fuel-effi cient driving – freight driving and renewable transport fuels;


■ Construction consolidation; ■ Sharing knowledge about alternative sustainable fuels;


■ Reducing the transport of waste; ■ Business travel fl eet management and modal shift’; and


■ Good practice energy management of corporate offi ces.


Using information from the Department for Business,


Innovation and Skills (BIS Low Carbon Construction Innovation Growth Team5


estimated the main site-related carbon impacts to be:


SFfC project-based carbon footprinting steering group


About the author


Paul Reeve Paul Reeve is head of Environment at the ECA. Paul is a Fellow of IEMA and co-author of the popular textbook


Essentials of Environmental Management.


The industry-wide carbon sub-group is chaired by Jon de Souza of Constructing Excellence. In addition to the ECA, representatives on the group include:


■ The Strategic Forum for Construction; ■ The Construction Products’ Association; ■ The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association; ■ The UK Contractors’ Group (UKCG – of which ECA is also a member);


■ The Construction Industry Council; ■ CIRIA/HVCA; ■ Defra; ■ The Carbon Trust; ■ BRE; ■ Glenigan; ■ Parsons Brinckerhoff; ■ Atkins; ■ Arup; ■ WSP Group; ■ BAM Construct; ■ Laing O’Rourke; and ■ Lend Lease.


, the SFfC/Carbon Trust report GFA


Carbon – three key defi nitions e) converts


Carbon dioxide equivalent Essentially, ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ (CO2


the masses of various greenhouse gases (e.g., methane, sulphur hexafl uoride) to the mass of CO2


that gives


equivalent global warming. The CO2 around 25 times that of carbon dioxide.


per square metres e of methane is


Carbon footprint The total amount of greenhouse gases (mainly, but not just, carbon dioxide) emitted directly or indirectly due to (project) activities. The carbon footprint is usually expressed in equivalent tonnes of either carbon or carbon dioxide (CO2


e). The SFfC has opted to use CO2 Embodied carbon


Embodied carbon describes the carbon dioxide generated during parts of the life cycle of a product or equipment (that is, it does not apply to energy consumed or generated during product use). It is usually based on pre-calculated CO2


e. Embodied carbon is similar to embodied energy.


For more sustainability-related defi nitions, see the ECA ‘A-Z of Sustainability’ at www.eca.co.uk


Millions of tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide 1. Site activities – including site offi ces (2.01Mt) 2. Freight transport (1.86 Mt) 3. Waste removal (0.60 Mt) 4. Off-site assembly (0.27Mt) 5. Off-site offi ces (0.27Mt) 6. Business Travel (0.08 Mt)


This work showed the main areas that need attention (site


activity and freight) and where reductions would only make a marginal difference (for instance, business travel).


Conclusion Overall, the proposed project-based carbon footprinting method should greatly improve supply chain enquiries to specialist contractors, while the work above will help to focus on practical reductions to site-based carbon emissions. Barring any last minute hitches, the new methodology should be included in the Construction Industry Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), compiled by Constructing Excellence, in its survey of construction projects completing in 2011. Beyond the ECA’s continued contribution to the SFfC carbon sub-group, our next challenge will be – as it is with pre- qualifi cation – to help ensure the widespread application of this new method throughout the supply chain.


1 CIRIA is a leading construction industry research and information organisation. 2 Strategic Forum/Carbon Trust report: www.strategicforum.org.uk/carbon.shtml


The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative: www.ghgprotocol.org/ The Carbon Trust Standard: http://carbontruststandard.com/ The ENCORD Construction CO2


3 Measurement Protocol (www.encord.org/wp-content/ uploads/2010/05/ENCORD_Construction-CO2-Measurement-Protocol.pdf), adopted by


the Global Reporting Initiative. 4


Annually updated emission factors are on the Defra website at: (www.defra.gov.uk/


environment/business/reporting/pdf/100805-guidelines-ghg-conversion-factors.pdf) 5


Government IGT report at: www.bis.gov.uk/constructionigt e.


40


ECA Today May 2011


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