We can find innovative solutions and achieve great things if we work together, says Heather Bryant

HB Photo 2020

It is clear for those who work within our industry that collaboration holds the key to a more sustainable future and ultimately a net zero world.

It is through early engagement and by working together that we can take full advantage of the wide range of skills and expertise that are evident across our valued supply chain.

With latest projections showing that around 39% of carbon dioxide emissions are being directly produced on construction sites, there is no better time to act, both to ensure the energy efficiency of built assets and to help tackle the climate change emergency.

By fostering a cutting edge, collaborative environment, we can turbocharge our innovative carbon reduction solutions and be even smarter, faster and greener. A key example of this is our pioneering, new technology, EcoNet, which we launched last year in partnership with Sunbelt Rentals and Invisible Systems.

You might have heard of EcoNet before, but to recap – it works by managing the power supply of our site compounds and reducing the energy output from key appliances in cabins such as drying rooms and heaters when not in use. It really is quite forward-thinking, autonomously regulating power consumption during times when demand is highest and when site compounds are fully occupied, diverting power away from traditional National Grid or diesel generator connections.

We first trialled it on our East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR) project, which is a large-scale highways contract to build 7km of outer ring roads around Leeds city centre, and managed to reduce our carbon emissions from the site compound by an incredible 83% – just by optimising heating, hot water and external lighting schedules.

It is now been rolled out over 61 sites and we will be putting the technology on all of our new projects which have six cabins or more. Since December we have saved a whopping 11,000 tonnes of CO2.

It is easy to see the benefits if we collaborate and work together across the industry so we are excited to actively push the frontiers to invest in, and develop, the right innovations at the right time, to really move the dial.

Heather Bryant is group health, safety, environment and sustainability director at Balfour Beatty


Ideas for positive change


This is part of our Countdown to COP26 coverage in the lead up to the world climate conference in Glasgow in November. We will be publishing more big ideas about ways to tackle the climate emergency over the coming weeks and you can find more here.

Do please send us your own thoughts about how to make construction greener! Email us, using the subject line “COP26 ideas”, at newsdesk@assemblemediagroup.co.uk