Scottish City Region and Growth Deals: carbon management guidance for projects and programmes

Guidance for project owners on managing carbon emissions associated with Scottish City Region and Growth Deal projects.

5. Carbon Management Procedure

An appropriate methodology for managing and minimising whole life carbon emissions resulting from projects should be applied from the earliest possible stage, i.e. the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stage 1 (Preparation and Briefing). The intended carbon management methodology should be stated within the Management Case section of the business case.

Where carbon reduction targets are set, they should promote carbon reduction on a whole life basis. A reduction target is a value lower than a baseline, as distinct from a 'project target' which is the principal value included in financial or economic calculations. The project owner can choose to set separate targets for Capital, Operational or User Carbon, or a single Whole Life Carbon target. For example, projects in the North Wales Growth Deal are required to target a 40% reduction in embodied carbon and net zero operational carbon.

The following two methodologies are internationally acknowledged as best practice approaches for managing whole life carbon for buildings and infrastructure projects. They are mutually compatible and provide a 'level playing field' for the assessment and management of projects across the Deals programme. Both approaches originate from the need to minimise whole life carbon in the built environment to meet national statutory climate change targets.

5.1 Infrastructure: PAS 2080

For infrastructure projects, PAS 2080: Carbon Management in Infrastructure should be applied. This document stems from HM Treasury's Infrastructure Carbon review in 2013, which identified that most carbon emissions in the UK (53% in 2013) are associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and use of infrastructure.

PAS 2080 emphasises the importance of all parties involved across the value chain working collaboratively towards a common carbon reduction goal and the achievement of the following outcomes:

  • Reduced carbon, reduced cost infrastructure;
  • More collaborative ways of working that promote innovation, delivering benefit to society and communities served by economic infrastructure;
  • Effective carbon management in infrastructure that makes an important contribution to tackling climate change and leaves a positive legacy for future generations; and,
  • The delivery of more sustainable solutions, at lower cost, that will enhance the reputation of the infrastructure industry, generating pride for those who work in it and attracting new people and skills.

5.2 Buildings: RICS Professional Statement

For building projects, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Whole Life Carbon Professional Statement should be applied. This document addresses the emerging understanding of the importance of embodied carbon in building projects and is compatible with other approaches to building sustainability, e.g. BREEAM and the recent Net Zero Public Sector Buildings Standard (described within Section 5.4).

The RICS whole life carbon approach identifies the best overall combined opportunities for reducing carbon and helps to avoid any unintended consequences of focusing on operational emissions alone. The specific objectives of the RICS Professional Statement are to:

  • Provide a consistent and transparent whole life carbon assessment implementation plan and reporting structure for built projects in line with EN15978 (Sustainability of construction works. Assessment of environmental performance of buildings. Calculation method);
  • Enable coherence in the outputs of whole life carbon assessments to improve the comparability and usability of results;
  • Make whole life carbon assessments more 'mainstream' by enhancing their accessibility and therefore encourage greater engagement and uptake by the built environment sector;
  • Increase the reliability of whole life carbon assessment by providing a solid source of reference for the industry;
  • Promote long-term thinking past project practical completion, concerning the maintenance, durability and adaptability of building components and the project as a whole; and,
  • Promote circular economic principles by encouraging future repurposing of building components, as well as of the project as a whole, through quantifying their recovery, reuse and/or recycling potential.

5.3 Revenue Projects

The approach to managing carbon on projects where no construction is planned will depend on the objectives of the project and its purpose in relation to addressing the climate emergency.

The carbon emissions impact of some revenue projects will not be possible to meaningfully quantify according to Green Book requirements. However, such projects may still support the achievement of the transition to net zero emissions, e.g. through raising awareness or carbon literacy training. If this is possible and intended, it should be described in the Management Case.

Where any quantifiable carbon emissions impact from a revenue project is expected, this should be estimated in accordance with Green Book requirements and included in the economic case. In all such quantifiable cases, the same general best practice carbon management approach described in PAS 2080 (and RICS) should be applied, i.e. quantification, baselining, reduction targeting, and proactive management.

5.4 Notable Emerging Decarbonisation Tools and Methodologies

Many improvements to the assessment and management of carbon towards net zero are emerging across and beyond the construction industry. The following is a selection of particularly relevant approaches and information either recently made available or likely to be issued by 2023. They are listed here to raise awareness of emerging industry best practice in achieving the wider carbon management objectives described within this guidance.

  • PAS 2080:2022 - Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure: Due for publication in late 2022, this updated and enhanced version of the original PAS 2080 will provide additional information on procurement and system-level carbon management. Its applicability widens to the entire built environment (not just infrastructure) and it is set to become the industry standard approach for managing carbon across the UK.
  • International Cost Management Standard (ICMS) 3: Published in November 2021, ICMS3 provides a common reporting framework for life cycle costs and carbon emissions. It allows their interrelationship to be explored and provides the opportunity to make decisions about the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment to minimise carbon and enhance environmental sustainability.
  • Built Environment Carbon Database (BECD): The BECD is expected to become the main source for carbon estimating and benchmarking for the UK construction sector and will be a practical instrument to support the decarbonisation of the built environment. Due for issue by 2023 and intended to be open source and freely accessible, the database is being developed to collect and supply both 'product' and 'entity' level data to the industry through its own portal, interacting with existing databases and software solutions.
  • New Engineering Contract (NEC) X29 Clause: Achieving net-zero emissions is recognised principally a technical issue that can be addressed through a project scope. This additional NEC contract clause is the result of a growing industry view that standard contract conditions can be used to further support the reduction of the carbon emissions impact of built assets.
  • Net Zero Public Sector Buildings Standard: This voluntary Standard supports public bodies in Scotland in meeting their net zero commitments for new build and major refurbished infrastructure projects. The Standard was developed by the Net Zero team at the Scottish Futures Trust in collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland and Health Facilities Scotland with input from across the construction and public sectors in Scotland.
  • Transition Engineering: This is an emerging field that recognises the multi-disciplinary engineering approach required to reach net zero. It is based around a pragmatic methodology that drives innovation and increases the likelihood of identifying opportunities to address complex problems.
  • Carbon in Procurement Case Study: The Cross Tay Link Road project is applying PAS 2080, including the inclusion of carbon metrics in contractor selection. The process is outlined in a case study included on the Scottish Government's Sustainable Procurement Tools portal.
  • Heat in Buildings Strategy: Published in October 2021, this Scottish Government document sets out a vision for the future of heat in buildings and the actions government are taking in the buildings sector to deliver climate change commitments, maximise economic opportunities, and ensure a just transition, including helping to address fuel poverty.
  • Building Regulations & Technical Handbooks: Building regulations in Scotland are set to change in December 2022, including the avoidance of direct emissions from heating (notably gas boilers) in all new buildings from 2024. In advance of this change, where the heat demand in a new building is met using direct emissions heating systems, information must be provided to detail how a non-direct emission heat source can be retrofitted to the building. These new requirements were published in a series Technical Handbooks in June 2022.



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