Tuesday, 26th July 2016

Driving down carbon: experience with the Infrastructure Carbon Review (ICR) to date and the launch of PAS 2080

Since it was launched in 2013, the Infrastructure Carbon Review has become the framework for the infrastructure sector to work within and achieve carbon reduction. The “reducing carbon reduces cost” mantra continues to be central to the ICR, borne out by the examples in the ICR Two years on report, (such as those for National Grid and Balfour Beatty). As the initiative grows with an increasing number of signatories each year (currently totalling 57), the knowledge, tools and mechanisms for delivering carbon reduction continue to strengthen and be informed by good practice from across the sector.


TfL 60 year whole life carbon footprint for example station.

Temple held a seminar in March 2016 with speakers from TfL, National Grid and HS2 sharing their experiences of the ICR. An in-depth note from the seminar is available here. These experiences and the discussion which followed reinforced the ICR’s five key aspects of effective delivery of carbon reduction namely: leadership; communication and culture; metrics and governance; commercial solutions; and innovation and standards. Key points included:

  • Working collaboratively across the supply chain

“In our experience, working collaboratively with suppliers unlocks both cost and carbon savings. Carbon measurement also has to be followed through into construction – to ensure reductions are delivered and any further savings identified.”

Steve Thompson, Climate Change Manager, National Grid

  • Increased carbon knowledge throughout an organisation – finance, procurement, design

“The designer has to use the carbon tool, not the environmental team.”

Mark Fenton, Climate Change Specialist, HS2 Ltd

  • Incentivising low carbon design early in the design process which is more likely to secure greater carbon reduction overall – and as long as a whole life cycle carbon emissions are considered, see diagram below.

Ability to Influence carbon reduction across infrastructure ‘life cycle’.
From PAS 2080 Carbon Management in Infrastructure, 2016, BSI.

The recent launch of the Carbon Management in Infrastructure standard, PAS 2080, by the Green Construction Board and British Standards Institute, is a significant next step in providing a structured carbon management process to be applied throughout the value chain and across the project life cycle (though planning, design, construction and operation). As GCB’s guidance document indicates, it provides a process for ensuring clients, contractors, designers and suppliers are working to deliver a whole life approach to carbon management. It is only by taking this whole project, whole organisation and whole supply chain approach to carbon management can the maximum opportunities for reduced carbon, reduced cost infrastructure be realised.