Dec 21 2012

How can software help reduce construction carbon emissions?

Conject Green GlobeAccording to a 2010 report by the UK Government ”The amount of CO2e emissions that construction can influence is significant, accounting for almost 47% of total CO2e emissions of the UK”. With Governments across the globe stimulating economic recovery through investment and invigoration of capital infrastructure projects, the inevitable outcome of such activity is an increase in carbon emissions. Therefore it stands to reason that all parties involved with construction have a responsibility to try to reduce CO2e emissions associated with their business activities and the services and products they provide.

Back in 2009, as part of our commitment to sustainability, CONJECT began an introspective review of our own business activities to assess where we could reduce our carbon footprint and how we could make a difference to our customers in the AEC industry.

Working closely with The CarbonNeutral Company, a world-leading provider of carbon reductions solutions, independent assessors have monitored and measured our carbon footprint by scrutinising business activities such as energy consumption, travel and waste to understand our duty of care. We also opened up this review to include our suppliers and business partners to understand the collective carbon footprint of our products and services.

With this activity complete The CarbonNeutral Company providedCarbon-Neutral advice and assistance in the implementation of a series of carbon reducing procedures. A significant proportion of our carbon emissions involved travelling, so we put steps in place to ensure that if for example business travel was essential, alternatives to car or airplane were investigated and used wherever possible.

Similar recommendations and actions were applied across the other areas of the business with the responsibility of reducing carbon costs communicated and shared by everyone in the business. The Carbon Neutral Company also worked with our key suppliers such as hosting partner Attenda, to develop offset-inclusive carbon reduction programes.

With such measures in place we offset the remaining CO2e emissions by purchasing an equivalent volume of carbon credits. These credits are created by implementing a project which reduces emissions compared to those that would have occurred with “business as usual”. The two projects we are supporting over the next 3 years are the Ankara Landfill to Gas Energy Project in Turkey, which was voted “World Bank’s Best Environment Project of the Year’ in 2009” and the Uchindile Mapanda Reforestation Project in Tanzania.

As a result of our continued carbon reduction and carbon offsetting activities we were pleased to obtain the CarbonNeutral® company certification in February 2011. This meant that we were the first AEC collaborative software vendor to meet the standards of The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

What does this mean? Well, for us we’ve identified tangible cost savings through better management of energy and resources. The focus on behaviours, processes and capital assets and their carbon footprint has led to new more efficient methodology, improved levels of personal responsibility and a genuine desire to make a difference to lowering carbon emissions via the products and services we provide. The result of this activity is that we we have reduced our greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions from 968 tonnes CO2e in 2010 to 582 tonnes CO2e in 2012.

For our customers in the construction sector, the liability of supplier carbon costs add up to a considerable burden for a contractor or asset owner. With construction CO2e emissions being significant contributors to climate change, such organisations are levied with environmental taxes such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. As well as business’ being increasingly required to take responsibility for their own emissions (scope 1 and 2), they are also under growing pressure to address the emissions created by the suppliers they chose to use to provide their services (scope3 emissions).  Using CarbonNeutral® suppliers enables companies to demonstrate that they are tackling their supply chain emissions and giving preference to companies who are already reducing their Carbon Footprint.  This in turn helps companies to lower their long term supply chain carbon management and mitigation costs.


About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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