Developing the most sustainable tunnel of the Netherlands with the CO2 Performance Ladder

A banner of the CO2 Performance Ladder greets you at the construction site of the Rotterdamsebaan, a project in which BAM and VolkerWessels collaborate within the consortium of Combinatie Rotterdamsebaan. During the development of this project, sustainability is taken to a higher level. The project consist of the connection between a highway junction and the innercity of The Hague and the most sustainable tunnel of the Netherlands. The tunnel will be named after an artwork by the famous Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan, The Victory Boogie Woogie.

The Combinatie Rotterdamsebaan consist of BAM Infra, BAM Infra Verkeerstechniek, Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbureau AG, and the VolkerWessels-companies KWS Infra, Van Hattum en Blankevoort and Vialis. SKAO has spoken with Menno Visser, CSR Specialist at the Shared Service Center KAM of BAM Infra Netherlands, about the role of sustainability and the CO2 Performance Ladder in this outstanding project.

The municipality of The Hague awarded the Combinatie Rotterdamsebaan the contract to work on sustainable infrastructure, that will improve the accessibility of The Hague. At the moment, the accessibility of The Hague is greatly dependent on the Utrechtsebaan (highway A12). 40 percent of the daily traffic is dependent on this one piece of highway in order to access The Hague. This creates traffic jams and vehicles that cut through the traffic jams by taking shortcuts through residential areas. The development of the Rotterdamsebaan should therefore minimize the pressure on the current infrastructure of The Hague.

Sustainability and the CO2 Performance Ladder in tenders

The Hague aims to become a climate neutral city by 2040. This can only be achieved in steps. The city has therefore implemented the CO2 Performance Ladder in the tendering procedure of the project. The commissioning party has provided potential contractors with an inspiration document that describes nine themes to implement sustainability within a project. Five of these nine themes have made it into the MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender) criteria for the Rotterdamsebaan project. The themes are sound, air quality, material usage, energy and future value. For each of these themes, measures needed to be taken to ensure sustainability and CO2 reduction.

The Combinatie Rotterdamsebaan has entered the tendering procedure with a CO2 Performance Ladder certificate at level 5, which is the highest level of the ladder. Compared to other contractors that entered the tendering procedure, the consortium of BAM and VolkerWessels did not have the lowest bid on price. However, due to the MEAT measures of sustainability that the consortium has taken into account, BAM and VolkerWessels were awarded with the project.

According to the construction companies, the sustainability measures applied in the project manage to reduce 37,6 kilotons of carbon emissions during the development phase of the Rotterdamsebaan. The piece of infrastructure will be concluded by 2020.

CO2 reduction measures on the project

An example of the sustainability measures that are taken during the development of the project, is the use of 100 percent of green electricity on the construction site. Furthermore, the consortium makes use of LED lights and applied efficient waste management systems. Workshops about sustainability were given to employees of the construction companies and the consortium makes use of the so-called LE2AP asphalt. This asphalt was developed by BAM and a large part of the asphalt mixture is based on recycled asphalt. The LE2AP asphalt is also constructed at a temperature that is lower than regular asphalt. Next to the recycling of asphalt, the mixture leads to an energy and emission savings of 30 percent compared to asphalt mixture that is developed by means of a traditional method. Next to that, the consortium applies sound mitigating asphalt to the project, which makes use of so-called diffractors across the roads. These are special grates that absorb the noise caused by traffic. This system reduces the sound disturbance in the environment. During the construction of the project, BAM makes use of GTL fuel to power the machinery. GTL stands for Gas to Liquid, which is a fluid concentration made from natural gas. This fuel type ensures lower levels of emissions of Sulphur Oxide, Nitrogen Oxide, soot particles and dust.

The Victory Boogie Woogie tunnel has two tunnel tubes and will measure 1.860 meters in length. One side of the tunnel will have a service and monitoring building that will also have solar panels on its roof. The electricity that will be generated by the solar panels will be used for the service and monitoring building. The Victory Boogie Woogie tunnel will also make use of filters that maintains a healthy  air quality by absorbing dust. LED lights and energy efficient ventilation systems will also be installed inside the tunnel.

During the development phase of the project, the consortium uses a tunnel drilling machine that has been used before in a different project. This machine has since then been revised and provided with new components, which makes it useable for the Rotterdamsebaan. Reusing the drilling machine will consequently lead to material savings.

At the cradle of the CO2 Performance Ladder

During the tendering process of the Rotterdamsebaan, the commissioning party has set up MEAT Criteria for potential contractors that awards contractors with a CO2 Performance Ladder certificate. The implementation of the CO2 management system has for BAM generally led to sustainable measures that they apply in their projects. Moreover, the ladder has led to a greater awareness on sustainability within the organization. The construction company has been one of the frontrunners that contributed to the development of the CO2  Performance Ladder. For this, BAM organized a few meetings and congresses about the CO2 reduction in the period of 2006 till 2009. Eventually the CO2 Performance Ladder was founded and launched by ProRail. Along with its knowledge and experience in the field of sustainable construction and CO2 reduction, BAM has been a source of inspiration for the creation of the ladder.

Positive effects

“The CO2 Performance Ladder contributes to the achievement of our ambitions towards sustainability, because it provides us with better insights in our CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the CO2 management system rewards sustainable and innovative solutions by means of the fictitious discount in tenders. Next to that, the Ladder stimulates BAM Infra NL to reduce CO2 emissions along with its supply chain, end users and business sector”, says the CSR Specialist.

“Not only do commissioning parties prioritize sustainability within projects, but so do our employees. Potential employees consider sustainability as an important aspect for their employers to work on. Therefore the CO2 Performance Ladder contributes to BAM’s image as an employer that makes sustainability a top priority.”