What happened next

Mhairi McGlip, Balfour Beatty Procurement Manager at the Edinburgh Biomes project, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, provides the second update on oour journey towards a Zero Carbon Construction Site of the future.

Last month, we issued the first of our online diary entries outlining the progress we’ve made and challenges we’ve faced as we work towards the Zero Carbon Construction Site of the future. As we fast approach the festive season, today we’re gifting the next edition – the December edit.

To recap, in October, we embarked on a journey at our Edinburgh Biomes project at the Royal Botanic Garden in Scotland, to go one step further than before to reduce our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve continued to up the ante, looking at fresh new ways to support us in reaching our Zero Carbon goals. This month, we’ve focused on ensuring the timely delivery of goods to site, in a sustainable way. 

The working area at our Edinburgh Biomes project is quite tight, allowing little space for deliveries or material storage and as such we’ve concluded that using a Construction Consolidation Centre, located within a few miles of the project is the best way forward.

The fundamental function of a Construction Consolidation Centre is to receive and breakdown large consignments from various supply chains, hold in storage and deliver consolidated loads to site according to the daily resource requirements of collective building trades.

We’ll be exploring the opportunity to select zero carbon transport methods, from the distribution centre to our site, replacing larger polluting vehicles for the last stage of the journey.

The centre will also provide us with the ability to remove excess packaging at the distribution centre to maximise the chance of packaging being reused or recycled and help us reduce waste generated by safely storing materials so that they’re not damaged or ruined by weather exposure on site.

But our work doesn’t stop there. We’ve also been looking at the Personal Protective Equipment we use to protect our people from health and safety risks and are trialling a recycling scheme, which has the potential to save tonnes of waste from going to landfill. Once the trial has concluded, we’ll be sharing our findings with our wider business to ensure as many schemes as possible benefit.

Despite the positive steps we’ve taken, one of the things we’ve been wrestling with on this scheme is how to measure and benchmark our emissions and set meaningful targets.

Establishing what the true baseline is and what is included in the definition of embodied carbon is something we are working closely with our customer on, but from our perspective, it would be helpful if we had one single definition; allowing us to benchmark and begin measurement from the outset more effectively.

We’ve therefore started working closely with the Scottish Futures Trust on our Fife College pathfinder project for the Net Zero Standard for Public Buildings. This standard tries to set out a more consistent approach in terms of plotting a route to Net Zero and what should be monitored and reported on at each stage. The standard draws together, builds on and signposts to existing standards rather than creating another standard which is really important – we don’t need new standards, we need consistency. The whole supply chain requires this clarity to make everyone efficient.

That’s all for now, but make sure you stay tuned to hear from us again in the New Year! If you’re interested in reading our second diary entry in full, click here.