The Carbon Calculator is the key to cutting emissions from the trenchless industry

There are a number of reasons why trenchless technology is a sustainable and green alternative, industry technology aimed at reducing the carbon emissions generated.

Not only are trenchless works generally more time efficient than open pit alternatives, meaning machines are used for shorter periods of time, but traffic fuel consumption is reduced by trenchless methods.

By avoiding traffic disruptions, trenchless projects avoid the delays and detours associated with conventional underground infrastructure projects. This reduces the amount of gasoline consumed and subsequently reduces carbon emissions.

Additionally, according to a study conducted for the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) by the University of Waterloo, located in Ontario, Canada, it was found that trenchless construction sites produce fewer emissions.

They require a minimum of machinery and construction equipment as there is no need for excavation, compaction, backfilling and re-paving, which significantly reduces fuel consumption.

As the industry focuses on preserving the environment and reducing emissions, the ASTT has created a carbon calculator to promote innovation in the trenchless technology sector.

The purpose of ASTT is to advance the science and practice of trenchless technology for the public good, while promoting education, training, study and research and practice for the public good and to publish the useful results thereof.

With this in mind, alongside the global goal of reducing carbon emissions, ASTT has formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) comprised of leading industry professionals to create a solution that supports the mitigation of the impacts of climate change.

ASTT Advisor Matthew Boyle said the ASTT embarked on creating a GIS to examine the impact of trenchless technology on reducing carbon generation in construction projects . “The goal of the GIS was to provide members with access to a carbon calculator to quantify, and therefore promote, trenchless technology as a low-carbon alternative to excavation and laying,” he says. .

“The main objective of the GIS was to provide members with a tool to compare greenhouse gas emissions using comparative approaches in the provision of capital services.”

As a result, GIS approached the market for the development of the calculator and selected Mott MacDonald’s Moata Carbon Portal in August 2020.

At the time of its release, it was the first carbon calculator capable of measuring the carbon footprint of capital and operating assets designed by Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Boyle says that after Mott MacDonald agreed to be on board with the ASTT, the GIS moved into the testing phase where asset owners were selected to use their companies’ tools for best practices. for use in Australia.

However, this is where the process stalled and calculator use in the trial was limited, few comments were submitted and the pandemic hit Australia.

Boyle says the SIG has currently been suspended until further legislation and member support.

“We went with Mott McDonald because in New Zealand there is a legislative requirement to monitor carbon emissions, but until there was something like that in Australia, the GIS was stopped.”

In December 2021, the Australian Government released the June 2021 Quarterly Update to Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1% in the year to June 2021 and fell 20.4% since 2005

Boyle says he sees the awareness of carbon emissions pushing the trenchless community to take a deep look at their supply chain to innovate and come up with new techniques and products to drive zero emissions further into the future.

“I consider the specification of low-emission trenchless technology by asset owners and government organizations to be the norm in Australia and New Zealand,” he said. “I think this will be supported by legislation and the trenchless community will be well placed to contribute to a low carbon future.”

While the trenchless community is already doing its part to reduce emissions, Boyle says the remediation process for the overall asset installation can be measured, quantified and improved in the future.

This is where the Carbon Calculator could demonstrate how using trenchless technology can reduce project carbon emissions.

“This is great proof for asset owner members, contractor members and supplier members. It could also be used to see which part of the process emits the most carbon, allowing innovation to happen to reduce overall emissions,” says Boyle.

The ASTT asserts that its carbon calculator should not be used to make business decisions nor is it a tool that will accurately define carbon capital baselines, noting that it There is no specific, quantified carbon target that the calculator aims to achieve.

Rather, the tool will be used to promote best practices across the industry.

The three steps the calculator aims to follow are:

1. Reduction – reducing the carbon impact of infrastructure.

2. Behaviors – improving the behaviors of designers, builders and entire supply chains to reduce infrastructure carbon.

3. Union – create a common way of working to calculate carbon reductions across the industry, setting the narrative.

Boyle says that the general purpose of ASTT being to advance the science and practice of trenchless technology for the public good and to promote education, training, study, research and practice for the Public good, it is hoped that the calculator will be used on individual projects and tested in various areas, with the responsibility of contractors and client organizations to use the tool and consider their own impacts.

“With this as our goal, we will support any action our members take to reduce emissions and promote to educate the community as a whole about the advancements and benefits of trenchless technology,” he says.

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