Cutting carbon is synonymous with cutting costs. Reducing the carbon footprint of an infrastructure project brings material, energy and labour efficiencies that reduce capital and operational costs, bringing savings from design to decommissioning.
However, guidance is needed to enable consistency in the way the infrastructure industry evaluates and manages whole life carbon emissions.
The creation of a new publically available specification (PAS) was one of the recommendations we made in the Infrastructure Carbon Review which we researched and authored for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Green Construction Board (GCB) and HM Treasury in 2013.
We, in partnership with Arup, have subsequently been engaged by the British Standards Institute (BSI), on behalf of BIS and the GCB, to author this new PAS and provide the clarity the industry needs.
'PAS 2080: Carbon Management in Infrastructure' is currently in its second draft and is undergoing a wide BSI-led consultation this month. This will culminate in a discussion at Carbon Crunch, Mott MacDonald’s third annual carbon management conference on 25 November.
What does PAS 2080 cover?
PAS 2080 will establish a common understanding, approach and language for whole life carbon management in the provision of economic infrastructure (defined as water, energy, transport, communications and waste). As the world’s first low carbon infrastructure specification, it could eventually form the basis of an international standard (ISO).
The PAS will cover:
- Integration of greenhouse gas emissions management into infrastructure delivery
- Leadership and governance
- Quantification of greenhouse gas emissions
- Target setting, baselines and monitoring
- Reporting and information management
- Continual improvement
- Responsibilities across the value chain – including asset managers, designers, constructors and product/materials suppliers
The PAS will be supplemented by a guidance document providing practical advice and case studies to help organisations implement the PAS together with a series of articles exploring key topics in carbon reduction.
Key benefits of PAS 2080:
Defining good carbon management: The PAS will provide clarity to asset managers and other value chain organisations on what constitutes good carbon management and the key enablers to drive carbon reduction – leadership being the key one.
Providing consistency: PAS will ensure carbon is consistently and transparently quantified at key points in delivery, enabling carbon data to be shared transparently along the supply chain.
Increasing competitiveness in the UK: Businesses which can demonstrate they are ‘PAS 2080-ready’ – and hence able to help asset managers/clients to manage and reduce carbon – will gain more work, while international clients which want to succeed in the UK infrastructure sector will favour companies with proven ability to cut cost by cutting carbon.
Gaining work overseas: Experience of the carbon management principles of PAS 2080 – with its positive message of carbon and cost reduction will be seen favourably when bidding for work overseas, especially in economies seeking to meet their international carbon reduction commitments but unsure of the best approach.
The road ahead
Carbon Crunch will provide representatives from across the infrastructure industry with the opportunity to examine the proposed specification (and early drafts of the guidance document), suggest amendments and interrogate its usefulness as a working document.
Feedback from the event will be incorporated in the PAS, leading to a third and final draft that will be submitted to the project’s steering group (involving representation from different infrastructure value chain organisations and the UK Government) for approval in January 2016, before publication in March 2016.
While some organisations are already successfully managing carbon in infrastructure, there are many which have been reluctant to move ahead due to their uncertainty about what is required of them. PAS 2080 will give all businesses the knowledge and confidence to embark on their own carbon reduction journeys, and we expect strong take up within the industry.