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How carbon could become critical in procurement

Attempts to cut construction’s carbon footprint could be boosted by a new standard now under development, a leading contractor say this week.

Costain group carbon manager Damien Canning is also on the technical advisory panel for the standard, known as PAS 2080.

The publically available standard for quantifying whole life carbon in economic infrastructure is designed to help quantify carbon management in construction.

“PAS 2080 is going to be a comprehensive guidance document that provides a set of rules around boundary setting, data sources, data integrity, how you should be reporting and monitoring performance,” Canning told viewers of an NCE webinar this week.

“I’m hoping that when that launches next February or March it will provide a good tool for customers to say ‘We want a PAS2080 design’, and force everyone’s attention on to this whole-life issue and understanding what they can do to drive performance and also improve their chances of winning work.

“We just read the second draft a couple of weeks ago, it’s coming on nicely and turning into quite a decent roadmap for quantifying whole-life carbon.”

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff associate Claire Gott backed the development of the standard.

“The industry and the government have taken it upon themselves to work together to produce something that should make a difference,” she said.

Meanwhile Canning hailed a method of boosting carbon reduction used by the Dutch government.

“Under the CO2 Performance Ladder, there are five levels and depending how good you are at driving out whole-life carbon in your designs and yourinfrastructure projects you get a virtual benefit – you can add a certain percentage on to the cost of your bid without losing competitiveness,” he said.

“It’s about changing the structure of the system so you have that advantage. I think if we had that system in this country everybody would be designing zero carbon train stations.”

Materials firm Tarmac’s sustainability director Martyn Kenny said it was important to think about the world in 10 to 15 years time to understand the importance of carbon management.

“It’s going to be warmer and wetter,” he said. “We have to understand what impact that has on our customers and what materials they will want. It is about bringing that story alive.”

Register to watch the webinar on demand here.

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