Case Study: Groundforce Shorco’s Carbon Calculator

Groundforce Shorco leads the way in calculating carbon footprint for Temporary Works

The Challenge

There is a pressing need to cut carbon emissions across the world. Calculating the carbon footprint of the projects we work on is essential to reducing our impact on our planet; it allows us to make informed decisions about what we will build and how we build it.

As part of our commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, Groundforce Shorco, part of the Vp plc Group, is from March 2023 including embodied carbon estimates on all temporary works designs comprising an embodied carbon component and a transport component.

Carbon reporting for the design of permanent structures has already been reasonably well adopted by the industry, and embodied carbon databases are now justly established. However, for temporary works, this has presented us and our customers with a unique challenge.

The Method

Temporary works do not have the same impact as a permanent part of the structure; the products and components are often re-used, so we know intrinsically that there is a sustainable element. If we calculated the total embodied carbon for a brace or strut, this would be counted numerous times on each site it visits. But just because they are re-used does not mean they are zero carbon either. They still need counting, because if they were not being used in these projects, they would likely never have been produced at all.

We have developed a methodology that allows our clients to estimate their ‘share’ of the embodied carbon for what they are hiring, based on how long they hire it for. To do this, we consider the embodied carbon in our entire fleet, its life expectancy and its average utilisation, to calculate a weekly C02e per unit weight of either steel or aluminium. This can then be multiplied by the number of weeks on hire to provide a total embodied C02e which can be combined with the quoted transportation C02e to provide you with a value for use in your project.

You then find that for very short duration hires, the bulk of the C02e sits within transport, and as the hire duration increases, more of the impact comes from the product itself.

Where do we go from here?

This link will take you to a detailed technical guide for the calculation, sharing our methodology, the data, the assumptions we have made, and the reasoning behind it. This is free to access for all and we would like to encourage others in the rental and temporary works markets to consider this when establishing methods for C02e calculations. We believe this is a positive step in leading to sustainable improvements within our industry and would welcome an open dialogue to develop this further.

Oliver J. Smith

Head of UK Engineering Design


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