Cut Carbon to Cut Costs

PAS 2080: Carbon Management in Infrastructure, the potentially game-changing new industry standard on carbon management, was published on 4 May 2016. Philip Pascall, chair of ICE’s Energy Panel, reports on the launch of the standard and what it means to industry

PAS 2080 provides a common framework for all infrastructure sectors and value chain members on how to manage whole life carbon.
PAS 2080 provides a common framework for all infrastructure sectors and value chain members on how to manage whole life carbon.
  • Updated: 01 June, 2016
  • Author: Philip Pascall – Chair, ICE Energy Expert Panel

Last month I attended an excellent ICE evening event – Carbon Management in Infrastructure: What does PAS 2080 mean for our Industry? – a presentation of the new PAS (Publicly Available Specification)1 that was officially launched on 4 May by the Green Construction Board in conjunction with BIS.

PAS 2080 could become the most important standard for our profession to achieve the huge reductions in carbon emissions needed. It's not about cutting a few per cent here and there; it's about achieving around 75% reduction in carbon emissions over the whole life cycle of infrastructure projects, i.e. more or less in line with the Climate Change Act 2008.

Most importantly, it's also about saving costs. The correlation is entirely logical of course: use less, emit less, spend less. The first step is to challenge the need for new development – for example whether changing behaviours, eliminating waste or improving efficiencies could make a new project unnecessary – and then to drill down into every aspect of the life cycle.

Reducing carbon

David Riley, member of the technical steering group behind PAS 2080 and Carbon Manager at Anglian Water, presented the standard and reported on the Anglian Water experience to date. Anglian has already achieved a 54% reduction in 'capital carbon' (see below) and a 22% reduction in capex by following the methodologies of the PAS. One example is by adopting 'no-dig' technologies for pipelines: analysis showed that most of the carbon and cost is associated with excavating and reinstating the trench.

The second speaker of the evening, Martin Liska of David Ball Group, talked about major carbon reductions achievable through alternative materials to Portland cement. His perspective on how the product supply sector can contribute is just one aspect of the whole life cycle that PAS 2080 targets: capital (creation of the physical assets), operations (including maintenance, replacement and repair) and users (client, employees, public, etc). These are addressed through leadership, quantification, target setting, monitoring, reporting, continuous improvement and responsibilities through the supply chain.

The PAS 2080 documentation is available to purchase from the BSi website and free as a download if you enter some details.

The importance of leadership

Anglian Water's example shows the importance of strong – and evidently also persistent and patient – client leadership. What they have already achieved should be an example to all, not least Government (our biggest infrastructure client). Similar to the lead that Government took with BIM, adherence to PAS 2080 should become mandatory for all publicly procured infrastructure – including buildings. PAS 2080 should be referenced in Government energy policy and I hope that BIS and DECC will promote its use.

There is also a role for ICE to promote its adoption on all building and civil works. Doing so will make a substantial contribution to the massive improvement in productivity needed in our industry, giving civil engineers a major opportunity to contribute to decarbonisation.

More information

The PAS 2080 documentation is available to purchase from the BSi website and as a free download. There is also a free, complementary guidance document with practical advice and case studies.

Watch a recording of our event: Carbon Management in Infrastructure: What does PAS 2080 mean for our Industry?

Read our briefing sheet: Embodied energy and carbon

View our best practice slidepack: Carbon reduction in infrastructure

1 PAS: Publicly Available Specification – a document that standardises elements of a product, service or process; sets an agreed level of good practice or quality or establishes trust in an innovative product or service; may be the forerunner of a standard.

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