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Increasingly more organizations are focusing on environmental sustainability as a key part of their project deliverables as governing bodies across the globe strive to reduce the impact of our activities on the Earth’s ecosystem. Many organizations involved in the delivery of capital-intensive projects are working hard to evidence their compliance with the immerging regulations related to sustainability. One of the initial measures being requested by ARES PRISM clients is carbon tariffs associated with the delivery of projects, and until recently there has been several challenges associated with the estimation, tracking, and reporting of carbon across the project lifecycle.

However, ARES PRISM is helping to address these challenges and it is now possible to generate and manage cost and carbon estimates that support the capture of government and commercial contracts using ARES PRISM software suite. PRISM Estimating can deliver cost and carbon as an integrated, transparent estimate providing robust and reliable evidence of expected cost and carbon outturn values and PRISM Cost can collect cost and carbon actuals as an integrated part of the period end process.

PRISM Estimating has expanded its carbon estimating capabilities to provide a single platform for the estimation of cost and carbon from cradle to grave. This capability improves our users’ understanding of the cost and carbon impacts for their capital projects. This enables them to mitigate carbon impacts and the budgetary costs associated with carbon avoidance by providing one place where users can trade off cost and carbon.

Within PRISM Estimating, embedded carbon is held at resource level and calculated as the estimate is developed. This functionality supports the organization by enabling them to observe the changes to cost and carbon as the estimator alters the materials being considered and construction processes to be used. Tracking carbon within the software enables the organization to explore multiple options assessing cost against carbon providing the client a clear comparison of cost & carbon trade-offs to be undertaken with little additional effort.

Additionally, pairing PRISM Estimating with the PRISM Cost module extends the capability to include carbon tracking at the period end. This data capture provides the project delivery team insight that informs the organization of the carbon assumptions and impact during the execution of projects. The software acts as a single source of the truth for consistent data structure for cost data and carbon data across the disciplines. PRISM Cost and PRISM Estimating data, including carbon data, is fed into the PRISM data warehouse from where it can be exported and consolidated into reports and dashboards, making it easy to share with stakeholders and contractors alike. It helps to ensure future maintainability and sustainability with reduced overall project costs and effort as users can run an asset in the portfolio and see the cost and carbon impact of that asset with an elemental work breakdown and activity structure.

To learn more about integrating your organization’s carbon tracking and cost data together, request a demo here.

Global Carbon Policy & The Paris Agreement

The United Nations Framework Convention created the Paris Agreement in 2015, in which 195 countries agreed to determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming.

To date in May 2020, the following net zero targets have been reached in the five years since the Paris Agreement was signed:

  • 2 countries have achieved net zero goals: Suriname and Bhutan. Both of these countries have very small populations and very dense forests.
  • 6 countries have net zero legislation in law, including: Sweden, UK, France, Denmark, New Zealand, and Hungary. In 2017, Sweden pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2045 – making it the first country to put into law a timeframe ahead of the Paris Agreement’s 2050 target. In 2019, the UK and France announce legislation to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • 6 countries have proposed net zero legislation, including: European Union, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Chile, and Fiji. In 2020, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change delivered on the government’s commitment to legislate Canada’s goal of net zero by 2050 with the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in the House of Commons. Also, South Korea proposed net zero legislation and pledged to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.
  • 20 countries have policy in documentation phases, including: United States, China (2060), Ireland, Germany, Japan, Finland (2035), South Africa, Austria (2040), Iceland (2040), Switzerland, Norway, Vatican City, Panama, Andorra, Slovenia, Marshall Islands, Portugal, Brazil, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan (2060). In 2020, China pledged to reduce the country’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2060 and Japan pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

In 2021, the United States mapped out a $2 trillion clean energy and green jobs plan, pledging to cut emissions from electricity to zero by 2035, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Australia also released a COVID-19 economic recovery plan and aims to reach net zero emissions “as soon as possible” though no targets are in policy stages to date in 2021.

  • The remaining developed countries have their net zero targets under discussion.

The Construction Industry’s Carbon Emissions

According to a 2017 Global Status Report, “Building and construction activities together account for 36% of global final energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when upstream power generation is included.” However, on a more positive note, as part of the 10th annual World Green Building Week in 2019, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) issued a vision for how the global building and construction sector can reach 40% less embodied carbon emissions by 2030, and achieve 100% net zero emissions buildings by 2050.

As new construction is expected to double the world’s building stock by 2060, addressing upfront carbon emissions and being able to forecast carbon estimates for engineering, construction, and infrastructure projects is important. Countries around the globe have agreed to certain environmental objectives and a tool like PRISM Estimating and PRISM Cost can help provide evidence to meet those objectives and be more competitive.

The combination of ARES PRISM capabilities will enable project organizations and their vendors to reach carbon compliance standards with its estimation and carbon tracking functionality. It allows users to affordably account for their projects’ carbon output and meet various governmental and organizational regulations.