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5 April 2023

Mott MacDonald co-authors update of world’s first specification for the decarbonization of buildings and infrastructure

BSI, in its role as the National Standards Body (NSB), has today announced the launch of the revised carbon management specification, PAS 2080:2023, designed to help built environment organisations accelerate progress to a sustainable world by reducing their carbon emissions.

Today’s revision, along with the original 2016 specification, was co-authored by Mott MacDonald.

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The scope of the specification has expanded to accelerate progress with a move from ambition into action on decarbonisation, by detailing steps to reduce the carbon footprint of both buildings and infrastructure over the whole lifecycle of an asset. The new specification, developed with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Green Construction Board (GCB), covers everything from the materials to design, construction, and the use of a structure, including demolition and disposal.

In addition to demonstrating how to integrate carbon management into decision-making from the earliest origins of projects through to end of life, PAS 2080 is designed to support organisations with reviewing their carbon emissions by encouraging early collaboration between project parties. This involves setting out roles and responsibilities to maintain a low carbon focus throughout.

The updated specification includes methods for all organisations involved in a built environment project to understand the impact of their activities on their wider network, revealing interdependencies that could influence and support decarbonisation across built environment systems.

Maria Manidaki, author of both the 2023 update and the original specification in 2016, and technical director for decarbonisation at Mott MacDonald said:

“We know that the built environment is responsible for 79% of global carbon emissions. The scale of the decarbonisation challenge will mean that our sector needs to rapidly transform how it delivers and operates buildings and infrastructure. This update raises the bar on carbon management and helps us turn this ambition into systematic and deliverable action – by further challenging ourselves and collaborating with others more.”

“We want to be clear that PAS 2080 is for everyone. We have deliberately designed PAS 2080 to be used by every organisation across the built environment value chain, no matter the level of carbon maturity of the organisation or whether an individual is a carbon practitioner or not. We recognise that not every single organisation will be ready for full PAS 2080 accreditation; but those that use the specification to help improve their carbon management capability and maturity to deliver low carbon solutions will see huge upsides and ultimately help our industry align to the net zero transition.”

Anthony Burd, associate director and head of built environment at BSI said:

“The original standard on carbon management has been well used within the built environment and this update is designed to further empower behavioural change on carbon reduction by helping organisations recognise and respond to the urgency for climate action.

“We are delighted to be introducing this specification for the decarbonisation of buildings and infrastructure to the built environment sector and would like to thank all those organisations that have been involved. I look forward to seeing the positive impact that this will have on accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions, ultimately bringing wider benefit to society.”

PAS2080 has been sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Green Construction Board (GCB), enabling the standard to be offered free of charge. An updated Guidance document, also published today, offers a range of case studies where the standard has been applied, and provides worked examples to further assist organizations with the application and integration of PAS2080.

Keith Howells, president of the institution of Civil Engineers , said: “As civil engineers and technicians, we are at the forefront when tackling global challenges, such as enabling a cleaner, greener, more resilient future in the face of the climate and nature emergency. PAS2080 sets out a strategic approach to empowering countries, cities and communities to reduce carbon emissions and reach net zero.

“In sponsoring this standard, the ICE wanted to remove financial barriers to organisations accessing this important guidance on how they can build decarbonisation into procurement.”

“By implementing the advice set out in PAS 2080, we can inspire behavioural change and accelerate the pace of change as we take a systems-based approach to design, construction and operation of the low-carbon solutions of tomorrow.”

Chris Newsome, chair of the Infrastructure Working Group, Green Construction Board, said: “This revised PAS 2080 standard recognises the need to consider carbon reduction at a systems level, across the entire built environment sector.”

“The emphasis on considering climate and environmental resilience within the carbon-management and decision-making process will help the industry better meet the needs of society now and in the future.”

“PAS 2080 gives organisations and individuals the knowledge required to play their part in responding to the climate emergency.”

Download the PAS 2080 specification here.

Download the guidance document for PAS 2080 here.

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