Decarbonisation programme director Robert Lyall says WSP’s commitment touches every sector of the business. The first and most critical step has been involving staff in charting the way forward.
“The engagement and motivation of our people has been overwhelming. From Property & Buildings, Water, Power, Earth & Environment, and Transport, technical specialists from across WSP are helping us get runs on the board as quickly as possible.
“Our latest milestone was running staff workshops to capture ideas for meeting our commitment. Of the more than four hundred ideas tabled, approximately 45 are being progressed. An equal number are still being assessed for next year.”
One of the big ideas being advanced is Carb0nise - a WSP developed calculator that compares the embodied carbon of construction materials for vertical infrastructure - for example, different types of concrete, steel, and timber.
Robert says by “reducing the design-then-measure time window,” Carb0nise offers enormous potential in making informed material choices more quickly. Carb0nise is in beta-testing and will soon be ready for live projects having been updated with the latest NZ environmental product declarations (EPD’s).
Similar tools are being investigated for design of horizontal infrastructure such as bridges and roads.
Digital tools like these let WSP designers and engineers understand the climate change impact of material choices on building design, and prioritise sustainability conversations with clients.
“Infrastructure projects will typically take 2-3 years from initiation to design and handover, so to realise our commitment we’re aiming to have developed our capabilities a few years ahead of 2030 – potentially as soon as four years away to give ourselves the highest chances of success,” says Robert.
WSP’s decarbonisation programme has a strong emphasis on people, process, skills, capability and training. It’s about encouraging staff to design with lower carbon alternatives forefront of mind. Robert says a key aim is to make decarbonisation information and tools easy for staff to find, and efficient to use.
“We’re aiming to fill and organise our decarbonisation toolbox with reference guides, calculators, design and measurement tools. These will all be geared at making more informed low-carbon decisions earlier in our design and advisory engagements.
“We have pockets of outstanding low carbon capability and knowledge. To achieve our strategic commitment, this will be normalised across the entire business. The plan is to ramp up skills development and training, including for Carb0nise, over the coming months.”