Commitment to CO2 reduction programme with Sustainable Civil Engineering 2.0

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Witteveen+Bos Managing Director Karin Sluis signed the Green Deal for Sustainable Civil Engineering 2.0 on behalf of the company on Tuesday 17 January 2017. The document was signed at the opening of the Infra Tech fair in Rotterdam. By signing this Green Deal, Witteveen+Bos has committed not only as a member of NLingenieurs, but also as an individual agency to making a substantial contribution to sustainable innovation in the sector.

Sustainable Civil Engineering 2.0 is a next step in the existing Green Deal for Sustainable Civil Engineering. A new feature is that the partners in the covenant are required to couple all their plans and actions to their signature and to define concretely how they will ensure that the sustainable civil engineering approach will be used in as many projects as possible. This makes Sustainable Civil Engineering 2.0 less voluntary by nature. ‘We want to deliver value to society in our projects and to that end we apply sustainable design principles based on the sustainable development goals of the United Nations’, said Karin Sluis. ‘The sustainable approach to civil engineering ties in well with these sustainable design principles. It helps us to give real shape to sustainability in our projects’. Principals representing central government, ProRail, provincial authorities, municipal authorities, water boards, construction companies and industry associations have also signed up along with Witteveen+Bos and other consultancies.

Sustainable Civil Engineering

Public and private sector parties resolved in 2009 jointly to develop an approach to Sustainable Procurement in the Civil Engineering Sector. This was seen as a way of avoiding a situation where every party developed its own tools and at the same time it opened the door to seizing sustainability and innovation opportunities more effectively. The result was an approach to the process and project management called ‘Sustainable Civil Engineering’. The heart of this approach is the factoring in of sustainability aspects at an early stage of planning. Addressing sustainability issues in all project phases means formulating, defining and fulfilling ambitions and passing them on to the next phase of the project.

Within the Sustainable Civil Engineering approach, there are various tools for achieving this goal, including the Local Area Indicator, the Ambition Web and, in the tendering phase, the CO2 Performance Ladder and DuboCalc. The array of tools make sustainability transparent in respect of various subjects and provide pointers to for a structured discussion with stakeholders. Thanks to Sustainable Civil Engineering, it is no longer necessary to add on sustainable ‘gadgets’ to an everyday project. It is now all about structurally investigating how energy reduction, liveability, reduction of materials/commodities and the circular economy can be accomplished in a project.

Successful application

Witteveen+Bos has used the Sustainable Civil Engineering approach in multiple projects. Our hands-on experience shows that the best effect is achievable if relevant sustainability subjects are factored in right from the start of the project. Use of this approach has led to research into energy recovery by means of turbine sluice pumps at the Afsluitdijk and by deliberating on CO2 at all design stages of the A9 motorway project. Witteveen+Bos wants to adopt the Sustainable Civil Engineering approach in as many projects as possible.