Ramboll commits to cut CO2 emissions by half from new building projects by 2030

29 September 2022
Ramboll estimates that by 2030, the company will have reduced upfront embodied CO2 emissions from its new building projects globally by 2.5 million tonnes per year compared to 2021. This corresponds to the total annual CO2 emissions from 400,000 Britons.
Ev0 building facade

Ev0 building facade

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Portrait of Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Executive Director, UK Buildings
T: +44 20 7631 5291
Ramboll Phil Kelly

Phil Kelly

UK, Head of Sustainability, Buildings
T: +44 7583 089 005

Ramboll has set out an ambitious target to halve upfront embodied CO2 emissions from its new building projects by 2030, as part of the new Ramboll Group strategy which goes all in on sustainability.

By implementing a range of innovative techniques, we aim to reduce carbon from all stages of the building lifecycle, including embodied carbon; carbon emitted from manufacturing, raw material extraction, transportation, construction and building use; up to the dismantling and disposal of buildings. Today, embodied carbon from building projects alone accounts for 11% of global CO2 emissions, and typically amounts to 600kg of CO2 per sqm throughout the lifetime of a building.

In order to achieve this ambitious target, we will be challenging and driving innovation on material usage in buildings. We have closely collaborated with the Canary Wharf Group on their low carbon concrete specification and, along with 15 other industry pioneers, have recently become a signatory to Climate Group’s ConcreteZero initiative, which aims for 100% net zero concrete by 2050 and has committed to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Our work in pioneering the use of sustainable timber is also gathering pace, featuring extensively in the design for Bruntwood Works' Ev0 building, which is set to be the UK's lowest carbon new build workspace. The team has worked extensively with academia, building control and fire specialists to pave a way forward for large-scale safe timber buildings. Similarly, in our work with British Land, we have incorporated circular principles for the new Finsbury Avenue development. These UK projects, like many other global initiatives, serve to set ambitions and grow a common understanding of approaches that will pave a path for more sustainable buildings.

Accurate data collection is also a vital part of the built environment industry’s decarbonisation journey, ensuring a more informed basis on which to make decisions about sustainable sourcing of materials. In 2022, we globally started calculating the embodied carbon on all our new building projects larger than 1000 sqm, irrespective of clients requesting it, whilst also championing the carbon value of any existing structures when facing demolition. Additionally, as part of our new ambition, we will be ensuring suppliers provide specific data on any materials' emissions. With this focus, we will further be helping drive greater innovations in the sector.

Commenting on the announcement, Ramboll’s Executive Director for Buildings in the UK, Andrew Henderson, said: “The challenge is enormous. When you consider population growth, the global building stock by 2060 must expand by 230 billion sqm of new construction, according to the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. It's like having to build as many buildings as there are in the UK every year. We need to look at where we can have the biggest impact. Research shows that in new construction projects in the UK, building materials alone account for 80% of the climate impact over a 50-year period - operating energy accounts for the remaining 20%. We therefore must have a strong focus on material selection before and during the building activities for the construction of a new building, to help us meet our ambition to reduce CO2 emissions from the materials in our new building projects by 50% by 2030.”

Phil Kelly, Head of Sustainability for UK Buildings at Ramboll added: "From this year, all new buildings will be required to achieve nearly-zero-energy following the introduction of the new Part L of UK Building Regulations, which also supports all-electric energy strategies. Combined with the anticipated continued decarbonisation of the UK’s National Grid, operational emissions will become an ever-decreasing component of a building’s lifecycle carbon. With the already significant amount of emissions from the production of materials associated with building construction, the balance of a building’s lifecycle carbon footprint from materials will become an ever-increasing proportion, which is why this focus is so important and why we have made this commitment”.

 

Ramboll

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