Balfour Beatty, along with higher education bodies Leeds Beckett University, Hertfordshire University and Innovate UK and White Frog Publishing, has created a carbon calculation tool for the construction and infrastructure industry.
The group says it offers a consistent, practical way to measure embodied carbon. Now in its beta testing phase, the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator automatically links BIM data to embodied carbon data from the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database, an online source providing energy and embodied carbon data for construction materials.
The platform also allows users to log in information from environmental product declarations sheets – verified and registered documents that provide transparent and comparable data about the environmental effect during the product or material’s life cycle.
The programme is designed “to support teams throughout the design phase of a project to compare products and materials, offer alternative solutions and ultimately help those involved to make informed low-carbon decisions”.
Balfour Beatty claims that the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator, following up on its sustainability strategy ‘Building New Futures’ launched last year, marks the next step to going beyond net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
The AutoBIM Carbon Calculator is now being trialled across four of the group’s projects including The Institute of Regeneration and Repair at the University of Edinburgh, to which the company was appointed in 2019 through the SCAPE Civil Engineering framework.
During trials on live projects, the group said using the tool has shown a likely saving of up to 14 per cent of embodied carbon through more informed design choices.
After a six-month phased roll-out across Balfour Beatty’s own projects, the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator will be made available to the wider industry within the year. There are also plans to expand the remit of the calculator to measure the energy performance of products and materials post-completion.
Rachel Sudlow, Balfour Beatty’s strategic improvement project manager, said: “The construction and infrastructure industry has previously struggled to offer a consistent approach when it comes to the measurement of embodied carbon.
“That is why we have collaborated with leading industry experts to create the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator, which will make a real and positive difference to how our industry operates. The introduction of such a tool is long overdue and with the impact of our work on the environment front of mind, it is a truly welcome development.”