In early June, the 8th International Infrastructure Investment & Construction Forum (IIICF) was held in Macao, organized by the China International Contractors Association (CHINCA). In conjunction with the IIICF, a Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) seminar took place as a parallel forum, hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment. The theme of the seminar was “Addressing the Impact of Climate Change and Carbon Reduction in Infrastructure Construction”.
In their presentation ‘Carbon Management in Infrastructure Projects from a Swedish Perspective’, Sofie Absér and Rebecca Johansson from WSP Group introduced a process for the reduction of carbon footprint throughout the project stressing the importance of integrating the carbon reduction ambitions already in the planning and design phases. They also emphasized the importance of working together with different stakeholders. Both public and private clients need to create drivers and incentives, while contractors and consultants need to find new innovative solutions. The suppliers of materials and equipment also need to develop their products to be more sustainable. Together, these actions will make it possible to minimize the climate impact from the infrastructure life cycle.
One project that has come a long way in this regard is the Stockholm Metro Extension project. Clear goals, structure and follow-ups have been the keys to successfully reducing carbon. The entire project comprises of 11 new stations and as a way to streamline the design process a template station was developed as a model for all the stations. By working active with carbon management, the design team has reduced the template station’s carbon impact with 40 %. The redesign also have had a positive effect on the project’s cost as it is reduced. The overall goal for the project is to reduce carbon impact with 20 %, from the initial design to completion.
Just by using the best available technology, the reduction potential is huge. To reduce the carbon footprint for the stations, the project team first calculated the cost and the carbon footprint for the template station. Then they identified measures for reductions in a workshop with designers and others with different fields of expertise. An action plan for the identified actions to reduce carbon footprint was set. The final step was to follow up the results and make a new carbon calculation to reduce the carbon even more for the second version of the template station. By following this process not only was carbon reduced, but costs were also reduced by as much as 30 percent.
The key to success has been that carbon reduction was a natural part of the project from the start. There has been awareness and commitment among team members and the management of carbon has been coordinated by different technical experts in various fields. Building team spirit has also been an important part, which has helped to develop a positive attitude.