New tool to improve carbon management in infrastructure

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The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool (CITT) Project has released a report spurring the next stages of development for a tool that could deliver changes in carbon management in infrastructure projects

The CITT project is a collaboration between industry and academia, with research being carried out by the University of Edinburgh Business School and Costain.

It is funded by the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC), hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment.

Findings from the report will be important for clients, design teams and contractors in measuring, and reporting carbon reductions. The results of the research will also help developers of carbon calculation tools identify areas for future development, and understand the effectiveness of tools.

The CITT solution, that is a specific result of the research, provides a more detailed assessment of the carbon impact of a project at the resource level.

The CITT project measures the embodied carbon emissions of infrastructure projects, i.e. the emissions associated with producing the materials used by integrating emissions data with outputs from estimators and BIM technicians.

Other carbon management tools

While there are several carbon management tools available to industry, few integrate with contractors’ costing and planning processes. The consequence is that assessments are either too high level for reliable insight or lead to increased labour costs for data input.

The CITT solution aims for no additional time to be taken to identify the “hot-spots” of a project.

Integration of data allows carbon impacts to be tracked and managed on a monthly basis in the same way that cost is, reducing the reporting time during project delivery.

Linking carbon to cost allows a quick assessment of commercial benefits linked to low carbon interventions, encouraging suppliers and decision-makers to adopt low carbon options.

The tool has been successfully trialled and tested on a number of infrastructure projects in the UK. The CITT provided an appreciation of the scope 1, 2 & 3 carbon sources to the Thames Tideway project, a ‘super sewer’ under the Thames.

This project highlighted the need to develop tools which are user-friendly and can measure carbon in more detail.

Dr Matthew Brander, senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh said: “Increasing sustainability is a vital consideration for the future of the construction sector.

“The CITT project points the way to an industry-wide movement that has the capacity to develop a more impactful, efficient, and cost-effective way of reducing carbon output within infrastructure projects, as well as establishing a standardised carbon library for the industry.”

Tim Embley, research & innovation director at Costain added: “The comprehensive research conducted to develop the tool so far, and the subsequent recommendations, demonstrates Costain’s commitment to accelerating the UK’s journey towards net-zero carbon.

“Next steps in bringing industry closer together will be key to realising the benefits that will enable smarter, low carbon delivery of major projects.”

At the carbon and innovation conference, held today (6 November), CITT will be sharing insights from the report to 100 clients.

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