Home Features Viewpoint: Reducing carbon from construction

Many of the FPDC contractor members have now achieved or are working towards obtaining ISO14001, Environmental Management System or BS 8555. Not only do these standards enable members to measure the environmental impact of their business and set goals to improve, but it is also a general requirement of many main contractors, says Malcolm Stamper of SAS International.

The recent publication of the Carbon Reduction Com
itment 2011/12 league table has shown that construction companies are again topping the league in terms of carbon saving. Bam Group and Skanska are first and second with Carillion and Costain seventh and twelfth respectively.

With energy prices increasing, manufacturers are also actively looking to reduce their use of carbon by lowering electric and gas usage; ultimately this will reduce the embodied carbon within their products.

ISO14025 Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are enabling manufacturers to demonstrate the full impact their products have on the environment from material extraction, through manufacturing to supply at site or end-of-life recycling and include data such as the embodied carbon of the product.

FPDC contractors have, for many years, been able to supply manufacturer compliance statements for BREEAM, LEED and SKA assessments. Generally the environmental compliance has taken the form of recycled content; however recycled content only shows how much waste has been used to
manufacture a new product and does not consider end of life disposal or where the waste
has come from.

Contractors are now being asked to supply the embodied carbon content of the products they are supplying. The requirement for this data is growing as specifiers use this embodied carbon data to choose products more responsibly.

The EPDs also clearly highlight those manufacturers who are committed to firstly measuring the impact their products have and secondly improving upon these figures. For example we have 15 EPDs that measure the full impact of 145 different ceiling tile and grid options we offer.

There are still many FPDC manufacturers without this data and I would urge them to show their commitment to not only reducing their energy usage but also the embodied carbon within their products. This data will enable FPDC contractor members to be able to respond to the growing
questions they are being asked by their clients and specifiers.

Malcolm Stamper
Group marketing manager
SAS International
www.sasintgroup.com

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