Driving towards the future of construction

03.12.21

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At Laing O’Rourke we are ready to meet the challenges of the global transformation that must now occur to protect the planet.

Earlier this year we launched a new Sustainability Strategy and the target to achieve Net Zero for scope 3 emissions by 2050. This requires significant change, and collaboration with clients and supply chain partners. Our Transport for Tomorrow (TfT) team on More Trains More Services Stage 2 (MTMS2) began investigating opportunities to align and drive the necessary change. The team worked with major concrete supplier Holcim to deliver carbon neutral concrete via their Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard, saving 155,103kg of carbon. TfT is among the first to utilise Holcim's carbon neutral concrete in Australia.

Carbon neutral ready-mix concrete

We know that the main contributors of carbon load to any project are concrete and steel, so the team undertook a review of all technical requirements and collaborated extensively with our supply chain to understand how we could make the most meaningful difference. This process led us to engage Holcim and utilise their carbon neutral ready-mix concrete validated by the Australian Government's Climate Active Program.

The Australian Government's Climate Active Program is a voluntary standard that manages greenhouse gas emissions, assists in achieving carbon neutrality and enables an ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses to drive voluntary climate action. A product's entire carbon footprint can be neutralised by purchasing carbon offsets that are approved by the federal government and the Climate Active Standard. Carbon neutral certification is only awarded to businesses who have met the requirements of the Standard.

Holcim’s ‘ViroDecs’ concrete is covered by an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), meaning the environmental lifecycle performance of the product is completely transparent and meets the strict international and national standards. On this project the EPD covered the concrete per cube from raw material extraction, transport of raw materials, and product manufacturing through to pouring on site.

In comparison to the Australian National Life Cycle Inventory Database's equivalent general ready-mix concrete with no cement, Holcim's mix has up to 53% less carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e - generating a total saving of 155,103kg of CO2.

The offset for this project is the Wind Energy Project, involving installation of Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs). Apart from generation of renewable electricity and associated environmental benefits, the project has also been formulated to contribute to the sustainable development of the region - socially, technologically and economically.

With this cost-effective opportunity, Holcim is helping TfT to achieve our sustainability goals, significantly reducing our carbon footprint whilst encouraging the state and federal government to implement and mandate carbon neutral materials across their construction projects.

The Project

The MTMS2 program of works is delivering and upgrading rail facilities to accommodate the new long intercity fleet trains that are aimed at releasing congestion during peak hour commute times. The project is situated over the south coast of Sydney, Australia towards Kiama and Wollongong, with the Northern section of the project being the Mortdale Maintenance Centre works, a pre-existing facility that is utilised for maintenance and washing of the trains across the Sydney Trains network.

The bulk of the works at Mortdale consist of excavation and tunnelling to install a new system allowing the passage of underground train bogies from one building to the other while maintaining rail traffic at ground level. Due to the scope of works in the upgrade of pre-existing rail stations, the materials used were identified as having the greatest potential to reduce our carbon footprint.

The TfT sustainability team are working collaboratively with the construction and procurement teams to engage with and encourage innovation and sustainability in our supply chain, with the aim of bringing them along for the journey to achieve an Infrastructure Sustainability Council rating and reduce our carbon footprint.