Tackling Carbon emissions is the construction industry’s next big challenge as the UK strives to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and becoming carbon net zero by 2050 under new government regulations.
It has been reported that the construction industry is amongst the largest contributors to carbon emissions, responsible for more than 38% of all energy-related Greenhouse gas emissions each year. This indicates that in order to achieve the goal of carbon neutral by 2050 the industry will need to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2030.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimate that less than 1% of building projects currently calculate and report their full carbon footprint. Given its overall contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the industry must begin to set clear targets and develop compelling carbon reduction strategies to measure and mitigate carbon impact across all stages of the project lifecycle.
How does this affect tenders?
Under new UK Government rules any contractor now wanting to bid for public works worth more than £5m a year will have to commit to be net zero by 2050 – by publishing clear and tangible carbon reduction strategies.
The Difference Between Embodied & Operational Carbon
Embodied carbon is the total carbon emissions from all energy sources used to grow, extract, produce & manufacture construction materials in addition to the energy used to transport & deliver those materials.
Operational Carbon is the total carbon emissions from all energy sources used to construct and install the materials at site, including transport, plant, equipment, tools, consumables and temporary works – many of which also have their own embodied carbon footprint.
Once all viable measures for reducing carbon have been exhausted, carbon offset techniques can then be utilised to cover any residual carbon, though this is a last resort.
1. Strategic Planning
Planning is important to ensure that you develop solutions that do not reduce carbon emissions at one stage whilst then creating them during a later stage of the project.
2. Measure, Monitor & Report
Develop specific plans that can be monitored, measured and reported. This will make your bid more tangible.
3. Keep it Simple
Don’t over complicate your offer – keep it simple with defined boundaries for the reader to understand.
4. Supply Chain Engagement
Engagement of the supply chain is essential to finding the most sustainable products and materials whilst encouraging them to also make positive carbon choices.