Reforming procurement to support a low carbon world

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May 6, 2024

The Construction Leadership Council has set out its five client carbon commitments to drive carbon out of how we build, maintain and operate our built environment. Setting out a long term pipeline of work with clear net zero goals and milestones helps industry to focus on doing differently to achieve these. 

Procure for low carbon construction and provide incentives in our contracts

It is encouraging to see critical infrastructure providers such as Anglian Water, Heathrow and Sellafield set out dates for achieving these goals but current procurement behaviours will continue to use the same providers who deliver the same risk models that will prevent new ideas, materials and ways of working being adopted. Clients need to dramatically change the way that they procure to access low carbon solutions.

Learning from manufacturing where the integrated design of products and assembly lines together to meet the demand signal created provides opportunity to achieve the significant step changes to achieve the targets set. Additionally, promoting sustainable material selection that uses non destructive techniques to not only lower carbon but also improve product circularity has to be the way forward. 

UBI takes the principles from other sectors such as automotive and technology to ensure that we start from a low carbon basis when choosing materials and eliminating the need for heavy equipment and machinery on site. We manufacture our system on a site powered by solar and our systems don’t require any heating or cooling as it is so thermally efficient. 

Incentives are for organisations that cannot change – why not procure businesses who are already doing.

Set phase out dates for fossil fuel use

The dates are approaching fast for the 6th Carbon Budget and the legally binding commitments that it brings with it. These may feel unachievable if the same techniques and processes are still being deployed that have ‘always been used’. This coupled with legally binding EPC targets can seem overwhelming. Having a clear action plan with tangible policies to achieve these milestones is critical for clients. 

UBI makes the answer to this simple – do differently. Retrofitting or replacing your building stock with UBI will help to achieve significant energy efficiency savings, up to 98%, at a fraction of the cost and timeline it would take with current practices. This not only promotes a low carbon CAPEX advantage but also provides a transformative OPEX cost saving that could amount to millions when scaled across an asset base.

Eliminate the most carbon intensive concrete and steel products

Using the same design methods where it is difficult to introduce new products and materials and not taking the opportunity to leverage proven technologies will prolong the pathway to eliminating the most carbon intensive products.

At UBI, we have engineered a solution for infrastructure that proves there is a way to achieving the CLC’s commitment now. We have eliminated the need for steel or concrete to deliver better performance than existing practices and products being used for building applications which are reliant on these two core materials. Life of stock is prolonged, carbon to construct and operate is reduced and the buildings can be repurposed at end of use – it can be done.

Adopt PAS 2080, Carbon Management in Infrastructure, as a common standard

PAS 2080 is critical to achieving the commitments set out and every person working in the infrastructure industry should be trained to have an understanding of the impact it can have when managing projects.

UBI demonstrates that integrated design of a solution can significantly reduce carbon at each phase of its life cycle. Reducing waste, dependency on lifting machinery, maintenance needs and then enabling the solution to be recycled, reused or repurposed at end of life means that the UBI solution has full circularity. This is easy to track through use of PAS 2080.

Conclusion

In summary, the commitments set out milestones that must be achieved but this is the easy bit, actually delivering on the commitments is where it gets much more difficult. UBI can help you deliver – reach out to us to find out more and make a difference now.

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