Dialogue and innovation important pillars for CO2 Performance Ladder

This month, the SKAO presented its latest ambitions up to 2018. Top of the list are creating room for innovation and stimulating dialogue between clients and contractors.

"Weve been making real headway. 2500 companies are participating, with 750 certificates, and those numbers are growing steadily." The ladder demonstrably saves on emissions by some 10 percent over a three-year period, not to mention the enormous boost it has caused in the construction industry with the use of green energy, energy-efficient machinery and efficient driving.

The ladder originated as a ProRail concept less than ten years ago and has only been widely available within civil engineering for the past five years. The railway manager was the first to reward market parties with an award advantage up to 10 percent if they scaled the ladder and reduced their carbon emissions. And that happened at a rapid pace. Not in the least because it finally dawned on railway construction firms that environmental savings also saved money in company operations. The market largely moved over to energy label A or B company vehicles and accelerated their depreciation of construction machinery.

"How do we get rid of diesel in construction? A question that, some years ago, would be sacrilegious, but now it is out in the open. All motorways have to be energy-neutral by 2030 and CO2 emissions are at zero in 2050. Those are concrete goals that we can and have to work with", according to Termeer. At a project level, a lot of environmental gains can still be made with concrete/cement, logistics and fuel. Many clients currently settle for a companys certificate and are not interested in other options, much to the markets dismay.

Market vision

Termeer sees the new Dutch Market vision and the Paris climate treaty as an extra boost in upcoming years. "The Market vision stimulates dialogue and collaboration between the commissioning bodies and the market. It helps tremendously if parties stay in dialogue, even during the work, about how to further actual CO2 reductions.” Termeer is excited about commissioning bodies making their first steps on the ladder. Early next year, the ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment will reach step 3, with step 5 being forecasted within the next two years. "Those last steps mandate that you enter dialogue with other partners in the chain. Municipalities and water boards are also showing interest. That kind of interplay from two sides is what might drive a big, novel step in the right direction."