Raising the bar on carbon counting
Gordon Brown MCIOB looks at how Henstaff Construction is tackling its carbon footprint on a current project in Wales.
We’re constantly looking at how Henstaff Construction can make a difference in what we do. The issues over climate change, carbon reduction, plastics and many more can all appear to be too large an issue to make it worth attempting to start to be better. So where do you start?
To manage any process we believe that you need to measure. Get that data and then you can start the journey. So at Porthcawl Watersports Centre, now called the Rest Bay Cafe Bar, we used BREEAM, the BRE, our assessor Melin – and not to forget the hard work and diligence of our site team.
Targeting to do better than the client’s aspiration of BREEAM Very Good, we looked at the BREEAM Man 03 credit and the metrics and data behind the credit. By the site team monitoring energy, diesel and water use, alongside waste journeys and materials delivery, we are able to extrapolate the carbon emissions on this project.
Carbon dioxide equivalent
We realise that this is just the start of our journey and only covers the carbon from the energy consumption of power and transport. We also admit that we have some gaps that will impact the figures – elements of subcontractors’ deliveries, such as M&E and others, are more difficult and time-consuming to record and assimilate.
Henstaff is monitoring carbon emissions in construction of the Rest Bay Cafe Bar (top and above)
But in starting this journey we can start to iron out these issues as we move forward. For the Porthcawl project our carbon dioxide equivalent is 6,940kgCO2e. This equates to 4.6 tonnes per £1m of build. I would love to hear from others as to what their figures are and to get the conversation started on carbon budgets. Let me know.
From where we are today we are planning the following actions:
- Looking at how we improve on the accuracy of the data collection, without overburdening the guys and girls on site.
- Reviewing the data to see where the easy wins may be and how we can work with enlightened clients and stakeholders to ensure these are attained.
- Looking at the offsetting of the above 7 tonnes with the planting of trees.
The project team includes Bridgend County Borough Council (client), EPT Partnership (architect), Holloway Partnership (services), Austin Partnership (structures) and TC Consult (QS).
To offset or not?
We’re aware that this is not the silver bullet and some may disagree, but being a Cardiff-based company we would love to know if there are local/Welsh tree planting scheme(s) that we could get involved in and make this project at least carbon neutral – well at least in the next 40 years or so.
Gordon Brown MCIOB is business development manager at Henstaff Construction