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Building for a carbon neutral future

As the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, we have the opportunity through our work on HS2 to develop and implement new construction techniques that deliver a step-change and long-lasting benefits for our industry. This includes our approach to driving down carbon that supports government targets and our own ambition to be net-zero carbon by 2045.

Credit: HS2 Ltd

Through our work on the London tunnels for HS2 Phase One as part of the Skanska Costain STRABAG JV, we are developing and implementing solutions that cut carbon and deliver wider societal benefits – including cost reduction, improved safety and quicker delivery. 

The UK’s first electric forklift is in operation on one of our sites, we’re using the world’s first solar and hydrogen powered welfare cabins for site staff and trialling new low carbon concrete. Collaboration is key and has come as a result of close working with HS2, our joint venture and supply chain pa​rtners who bring much valued expertise to our operations.

Carbon savings powered by artificial intelligence

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A new carbon and cost estimating solution, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is being trialled on a number of HS2 sites managed by our Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture.

Using the AI tool, the building information modelling (BIM) processes are automated so that a range of design options can be simulated using different types and quantities of construction materials - replacing the current method of manually measuring 3D drawings. This means carbon emissions and environmental impacts of construction can be visualised, more precisely measured and compared, resulting in the design of a more environmentally friendly solution.

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UK’s first electric forklift trial

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Our Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture is pioneering the UK’s first electric forklift on one of HS2’s major construction sites in London.

With zero pollution, this environmentally friendly electric drive unit provides the same performance as an equivalent conventional model but without the noise and emissions of a combustion engine.

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Green energy powered welfare cabins

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The world’s first solar and hydrogen powered welfare cabins have been trialled and installed by our HS2 Main Works and Enabling Works joint ventures, in partnership with Costain and STRABAG.  

The EasyCabin EcoSmart ZERO product combines solar and hydrogen power to eliminate carbon emissions. With zero emissions, solar and hydrogen power replaces traditional diesel power systems and reduces the overall carbon footprint of a construction site and, just as importantly, improves the environment for communities in the vicinity of operations.

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Pioneering use of low carbon concrete

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A new low carbon concrete is being used by our Skanska Costain joint venture to significantly reduce carbon emissions on our HS2 Enabling Works site in North West London.

The Vertua Classic Zero concrete, manufactured by CEMEX in England, provides a reduction of 42% in CO2 in comparison to a standard concrete.

The first use of the Vertua Classic Zero concrete in the capital took place at our HS2 site in North West London to prepare the ground for an electricity substation which will power the tunnel boring machines excavating HS2’s London tunnels. By using this low carbon concrete, a total of 12 tonnes of carbon should be saved, with an additional 17 tonnes of residual CO2 offset.

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Reinforcing concrete with old wind turbine blades

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Our Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture is piloting an industry leading solution where worn-out wind turbine blades are being used to create carbon-friendly reinforced concrete on HS2.

The innovation, believed to be a world first, uses suitable sections cut from decommissioned wind turbine blades in reinforced concrete instead of steel rebar. Substituting steel for sections of retired wind turbine blades cuts by up to 90% the carbon generated by concrete reinforcement.

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Last updated: 22/03/2021