Putting a new lens on carbon

Posted on by David Riley

David Riley – Carbon Manager – Anglian Water Services

As Dale Evans stated in the HM Treasury Infrastructure Carbon Review, ‘Reducing carbon reduces cost’, which stands to reason: you use less resource and less energy.

With leadership creating the environment and driver for low carbon and low cost solutions, innovation is the engine, especially within the value chain.

Early collaboration in the design process and the setting of clear expectations are fundamental in allowing the supply chain to deliver innovation in the water industry. Avoiding over prescriptive specifications and enabling the supply chain to challenge standards can also remove some of the previous blockers.

Along with leadership and innovation, procurement is the third, vital step in delivering low carbon, low cost solutions. Companies should make it clear within its procurement tendering process that they want to work with suppliers who measure carbon and have clear reduction strategies in place.

Individual parts of a supply chain can all deliver small carbon reductions when required. However, significant reductions cannot be delivered without the whole of the supply chain being aligned and incentivised with the same objectives of reducing carbon.

In order to better understand carbon management, leading companies have put in place a robust governance process, where both capital carbon and operational carbon are challenged against a baseline in the capital delivery process. This ensures the lowest carbon and cost solutions are identified and delivered.

The response to the carbon challenge from both engineers within the water companies and the supply chain can really deliver results.

As an example from Anglian Water, in 2012 an extension to Bedford Water Recycling Centre was completed to treat a 30,000 population increase. The scheme was delivered with a 66% reduction in capital carbon against baseline, 43% reduction in cost against baseline and the site having an overall reduction in operational carbon against a forecast increase due to significant improvements in site energy and process efficiency.

Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Advisor, UK Government has made it clear that, ‘Infrastructure is created to meet the requirements of the end users. The real question about sustainable infrastructure is: how are we going to meet users needs in the long term when everything points towards a resource constrained future?’

For me the evidence is clear; with leadership, innovation and procurement in place, the outcomes are solutions with reduced carbon, reduced use of finite resources and reduced costs.

This puts companies on the right trajectory for delivering against the resource-constrained future that many predict.

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David Riley

Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area. The company supplies water and water recycling services to more than six million domestic and business customers in the east of England and Hartlepool. By minimising leaks and encouraging more waterwise users, Anglian Water provides almost 1.2 billion litres of water to customers every single day.