Specialist shoring supplier Groundforce has developed a carbon calculator for temporary works, and is making it available not just for customers but the shoring industry as a whole.
This altruistic offer is part of the Vp plc subsidiary's commitment to reaching net zero by 2050 and came into effect from March 2023, when it began including embodied carbon estimates, comprising an embodied carbon component and a transport component, on all temporary works designs.
Carbon reporting for the design of permanent structures has already been reasonably well adopted by the industry, and embodied carbon databases are now justly established. However, for temporary works, this presented Groundforce and its customers with a unique challenge.
Oliver J Smith, head of engineering design at Groundforce, explained that temporary works do not have the same impact as a permanent part of the structure as the products and components are often re-used, so it is already appreciated there is a sustainable element.
If the total embodied carbon for a brace or strut was calculated, this would be counted numerous times on each site it visits. But although they are re-used, this does not mean they are zero carbon either. They still need counting, because if they were not being used in such projects, they would likely never have been produced at all.
So, Groundforce has developed a methodology that allows its customers to estimate their ‘share' of the embodied carbon for what they are hiring, based on how long they hire it for. To do this, the company considers the embodied carbon in its entire fleet, its life expectancy and its average utilisation, to calculate a weekly C02e per unit weight of either steel or aluminium.
This can then easily be multiplied by the number of weeks on hire to provide a total embodied C02e which can be combined with the quoted transportation C02e to provide them with a value for use in their project. They then find that for very short duration hires, the bulk of the C02e sits within transport, and as the hire duration increases, more of the impact comes from the product itself.
Detailed technical guide
Groundforce is now making freely available, a detailed technical guide for the calculation, sharing the methodology, the data, the assumptions made, and the reasoning behind it.
Smith said: "This methodology is free to access for all and we would like to encourage others in the fleet rental and temporary works markets to consider this when establishing methods for C02e calculations. We believe this is a positive step in leading to sustainable improvements within our industry and would welcome an open dialogue to develop this further.
"Calculating the carbon footprint of the projects we work on is essential to reducing our impact on our planet. It allows us to make informed decisions about what we will build and how we will build it to meet the pressing need to cut carbon emissions across the world."