In order to limit global warming, the construction sector needs to reach net zero carbon emissions, alongside other sectors of the economy. WSP takes part in thousands of construction projects every year, contributing with designs and advisory services. This means that WSP has a possibility, and responsibility, to contribute to lower carbon emissions in the construction sector through our designs and advice.
In this Future Ready Research, we describe what WSP consider is necessary to decarbonise the construction of buildings and infrastructure. The focus is on capital carbon, i.e. emissions arising from the construction and production stages. Capital carbon includes all direct emissions from the construction processes, as well as indirect emissions stemming from production of materials and components.
We focus on capital carbon in this paper because we consider it to be less explored in comparison to operational emissions and energy use, but we acknowledge the need to always consider the whole life cycle of construction assets when analysing, comparing and optimizing solutions.
WSP supports stakeholders on all levels, ranging from development of policies and sector standards, to practical project planning and design as well as construction management at the production site.
We have identified five key principles that together forms a framework that we call the WSP Way. These principles are key to reach substantially lower capital carbon emissions in construction projects and will be applied in our projects:
- Develop policies, client engagement and requirements for capital carbon reduction
- Plan cities, buildings and infrastructure to avoid carbon emissions
- Design buildings and infrastructure to enhance modularity, flexibility, multifunctionality and minimised carbon footprint
- Use fossil-free transports and machinery during construction
- Compensate for remaining carbon emissions.