Balfour Beatty teams up with academics to develop carbon calculator

The AutoBIM Carbon Calculator automatically links building information modelling data to embodied carbon data from the Inventory of Carbon and Energy database, an online source which provides energy and carbon information for construction materials

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Balfour Beatty has teamed up with higher education institutions in the UK to develop a carbon calculation tool for the construction and infrastructure industry.

The AutoBIM Carbon Calculator, currently in its beta testing phase, automatically links building information modelling (BIM) data to embodied carbon data from the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database, an online source which provides energy and carbon information for construction materials.

The platform also allows users to input information from environmental product declaration sheets, verified and registered documents that provide transparent and comparable data about the environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of a product or material.

The calculator, developed in collaboration with Innovate UK, Hertfordshire University, Leeds Beckett University and White Frog Publishing, marks another step forward in Balfour Beatty’s journey to going beyond net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

It is currently being trialled across four of Balfour Beatty’s projects, with the use of the tool showing potential savings of up to 14% embodied carbon through more informed design choices.

Rachel Sudlow, Balfour Beatty Strategic Improvement Project Manager said: “The construction and infrastructure industry has previously struggled to offer a consistent approach when it comes to the measurement of embodied carbon.

“That is why we have collaborated with leading industry experts to create the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator which will make a real and positive difference to how our industry operates. The introduction of such a tool is long overdue and with the impact of our work on the environment front of mind, it is a truly welcomed development.”

The calculator, following a phased rollout across Balfour Beatty’s projects over the next six months, will be available to the wider industry within 12 months with plans to expand its remit to measure the energy performance of products and materials post-completion.