Engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald has created the first carbon calculator that measures the capital and operational carbon footprints of BIM-designed assets.
The tool, called the Carbon Portal, allows users to drag and drop assets into the calculator, which quickly determines the lifetime carbon footprint. This replaces the need for carbon assessments that are usually undertaken using an Excel spreadsheet.
Davide Stronati, global sustainability leader at Mott MacDonald, told BIM+: “The vast majority of carbon calculations use spreadsheets based on the materials to calculate the carbon footprint.
“This works well for assessing the carbon footprint of objects or simple projects, however it does not create innovative solutions as it doesn’t talk the engineers’ language. They can’t perform carbon assessments at different stages of the project delivery or design options by choosing real assets.”
“The Carbon Portal allows engineers to do this, giving them the opportunity to innovate to cut carbon and therefore costs,” he continues.
The calculator does this by focusing on the assets in the model and not on the materials. To do this Mott MacDonald has built a digital component catalogue that contains each asset’s carbon data.
Stronati explains: “BIM project models already have plenty of project information with regards to geometries, shapes and materials. Our portal imports all this information into the calculator, maximising use of existing data and minimising time in the project carbon assessment. It therefore represents a further step forward in linking engineers’ day-to-day work on projects and automating carbon assessment.”
Perhaps most importantly the calculator reduces the time that a carbon calculation can take from 15 minutes to 30 seconds. This will enable engineers to quickly and easily optioneer to determine the most economical solution.
At present the calculator is populated with UK data and delivers absolute carbon values for projects in the UK. However, it can still be used globally to compare different options.
Mott MacDonald is already utilising the tool internally and it will be officially launched at the Next Generation Infrastructure conference at the ICE on 26 April.
“The tool is currently being used on our projects and is also available for our customers to use in conjunction with us. We are considering making it more readily available at some point in the future,” concludes Stronati.
BIM project models already have plenty of project information with regards to geometries, shapes and materials. Our portal imports all this information into the calculator, maximising use of existing data and minimising time in the project carbon assessment.– Davide Stronati, global sustainability leader, Mott MacDonald