A new research project seeks to develop a tool to identify and reduce carbon in the construction supply chain. The project is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh Business School and Costain Group and is funded by the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) initiative hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment.
The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool project (CITT) started from the need to solve two key problems facing the construction industry - the pressing need to reduce GHG emissions, and the highly fragmented nature of supply chains.
“In large infrastructure projects there are large amounts of emissions at stake. The supply chain is also very fragmented, with many different stakeholders. It’s important to ensure we have a consensus across the whole chain to reduce emissions,” says Dr Matthew Brander, Lecturer at University of Edinburgh Business School and Project Manager for CITT.
The research project seeks to develop and implement a tool that will help construction companies identify and reduce carbon. It will pinpoint opportunities to reduce carbon through innovation and supply chain engagement. It will also enhance the amount of communication and dialogue across the supply chain.
“The tool will be integrated into current pricing processes and will allow us to have carbon and cost together. It will put the data in the hands of the right people at the right time in contractors’ processes which will allow them to make decisions to significantly reduce carbon. It will also push carbon further back towards the start of the design processes,” says Damien Canning, Head of Technical Sustainability at Costain Group and Industry Specialist for Carbon Management for CITT.
The project is running for three years and the research will focus on carbon accounting methodologies, stakeholder engagement and social barriers to tool adoption, collaborative frameworks for efficient supply chain management, and decision analytics for project design under uncertainty. As the research is undertaken it will feed back into the development of the tool.
There will be close collaboration between the researchers and the construction industry and live tests have been set up with real infrastructure projects. These will take place throughout the project.
“The way to really drive this is to develop something with as much input from the industry as possible. This will help to raise standards significantly, and ensure consistency across the industry,” says Damien Canning.
After the project is finished the open source tool will be publicly available and free to use, to enhance the possibility for it to be used by as many as possible.
“The key is to get the industry to use this tool. Therefore it has to be accessible and easy to understand. You can develop the best tool in the world but if the stakeholders don’t want to use it, it’s not going to have much impact,” says Dr Matthew Brander.