Costain reveals revolutionary tool to drive down carbon in construction and infrastructure

Costain has launched a revolutionary new tool designed to reduce the environmental impact of the construction and infrastructure sectors on the planet.

The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool (CITT) is the first programme of its type and automatically detects carbon emission hot-spots in the earliest stages of delivering a complex project by flagging them on a computer dashboard. This could include for example concrete-intensive areas of design.

The open-source plug-in works with all industry standard project planning tools and enables project managers to make decisions about how to minimise the amount of carbon they generate.

The Climate Change Act means that the UK needs to have cut its carbon emissions by 80% in 2050. Given that more than 50% of the UK’s emissions are under the control or influence of the infrastructure sector there is a substantial need for programmes and applications that help to reduce the amount of carbon they generate. Damien Canning, Costain’s Head of Technical Sustainability, said the tool would enable businesses to consider the carbon impact of a project from inception.

The tool has been built in partnership with the University of Edinburgh’s Business School and funding has come from Volvo’s Construction Climate Challenge. The Construction Climate Challenge has been set up to drive sustainability in the construction supply chain.

“We’ve collaborated with the University of Edinburgh in targeting supply chain emissions for more than three years”, Damien said. “The CITT is a tool which allows anyone to consider their impact right from the very earliest stages of a project when there is time to make adjustments. We are providing our clients to deploy themselves the same approach and thinking that we use on a consultancy basis.”

Costain accelerated CITT’s development with trials on complex infrastructure projects. “We applied CITT to our Tideway East project, detecting the most emission-intensive activities,” said Tim Embley, Costain’s Innovation and Knowledge Manager.

Tim added: “The improvement initiatives, targeted at the ‘hot spots’, have allowed for identification of opportunities for low carbon innovation and subsequent collaboration with our suppliers.”

CITT has quickly gained the attention of Quantity Surveyors. Damien Canning added: “CITT gives infrastructure delivery managers an easy way to drive efficiency through the supply chain. CITT is now integrated into our suite of processes, meaning carbon quantification is now fully automated, allowing us to consistently challenge our key suppliers for lower carbon and more importantly lower cost outcomes.”

Nigel Curry, Consulting and Advisory Services Director Costain, said: “At Costain, developing and implementing solutions to meet construction and infrastructure challenges is in our DNA. Our new tool, CITT, is a great example of this. It takes a practical and innovative approach to embed carbon management in any project. Field tests have shown that it can deliver substantial reductions in carbon emissions. We are deploying this offering across our business and working with our customers to help improve the environmental impact of construction and operations.”