From fridges to bridges: BAM’s UK projects adopt energy efficiency rating labels to assess sustainability

4 March 2022 15:07 - BAM Nuttall Ltd
BAM employees showing boards with energy efficiency ratings

Camberley, 4 March 2022 – New scheme aims to drive down carbon and waste and increase social value following successful year-long trial.

BAM Nuttall’s sustainability measures improved across its UK operations in the last 12 months, following the introduction of a ‘sustainability index’, to grade every project for its overall environmental and social impact.

The Sustainability Index considers 13 measures across BAM Nuttall projects, which include key sustainability elements such as carbon intensity, construction waste intensity, environment compliance, good practice and social impact. The data used to generate the project’s score is gathered from a range of sources and is grouped into five categories: data presence, carbon performance, waste performance, compliance and ‘demonstrating success’. 

This information allows projects to be scored each month, with projects being graded between A and G, like an energy efficiency rating used on household goods. 

The index has helped project managers to identify specific areas where improvements can be made, enabling projects to implement changes and strive towards sustainability excellence. As well as recognising high performing projects, the index recognises projects that have made substantial improvements to their score over time.

Sarah Jolliffe, BAM Carbon Reduction lead, said:

‘Our Sustainability Index is a simple and transparent way of understanding the overall sustainability impact of our projects. Not only does it allow us to keep our own environmental and social impact in check, it also allows our customers to monitor our sustainability performance. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen our average project rating rise from a ‘D’ to a ‘C’. That’s partly due to the introduction of innovative, sustainable alternative solutions across the company/BAM Nuttall, such as the move to using HVO to run construction machinery, and partly down to local project initiatives put in place by project managers to meet the needs of clients or the local community. Using Power BI, everyone in our business has a comprehensive and very visual dashboard - It makes it much easier for our project teams to see how their project is performing compared to projects in other sectors, or other parts of the country. A year on, what we’re beginning to see is project managers sharing knowledge and learning from other projects achieving ‘A’ and ‘B’ ratings, about how they can improve their own scores.’

Ian Parish, Managing Director, BAM Nuttall said:

‘Construction worldwide is estimated to contribute to 39% of global carbon emissions. The importance of addressing this has been recognised across the industry. The UK Government is the first in the world to legislate for net zero carbon and aims to reduce the UK’s absolute carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. Between 2014 and 2020, BAM signalled its commitment to sustainability by reducing carbon emissions by 40% - an achievement which helped us maintain ‘A’ on CDP Climate Change Ranking. But we need to go further – that’s why, across Royal BAM Group, our goal is to be a net positive organisation by 2050.’

The Sustainability Index offers us a tool which can be used to measure our own performance but can also help our clients to see how their projects compare to those in other sectors. Over the last 12 months we have used this data to continue embedding change across our business, not just focussed on carbon, but across the entire sustainability profile. 

We’ve seen encouraging progress and we’ll continue working collaboratively to realise the opportunities that this initiative offers us and from April 2022, we’ll be extending the use of the index across all BAM projects in the UK.”

Project led initiatives

Carbon reduction

  • The team building the new sea wall at Dawlish improved their score from a ‘D’ to ‘C’ by using ultra low-carbon concrete reducing the embodied carbon of the scheme by an impressive 1,200tCO2e when compared to the initial tendered design. This is the equivalent of removing approximately 760 cars off the road. The project also uses the biofuel HVO which improved its direct carbon emissions score. 
  • At Hebden Bridge, the team improved to 'B’ from ‘C’ by improving performance across waste and carbon intensity. The site has mobilised on a grid power connection and utilises HVO which contribute to lowering emissions.

Social impact

  • At Great Yarmouth 3rd river crossing, the team’s continued focus on social impact and STEM engagement contributed to moving up to ‘B’ from ‘C’. 

Waste reduction

  • The Black Potts Weir project team improved waste performance by onsite reuse of timber formwork, which reduced their construction waste intensity and lifted their score to ‘B’ from ‘C’. 

Good practice and innovation

  • Stubbington Bypass secured a ‘B’ following efforts to decarbonise through its use of 3D printed concrete culvert headwalls and reducing the amount of hard landscaping.
  • At Stourton Park and Ride scheme the project have improved their environmental data resulting in a change to ‘B’ from ‘C’ grade. The project also scored well in the good practice section for using solar panels on the finished scheme, and for helping to influence the client’s decision.
  • The team at Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme showed considerable improvement in compliance taking their overall position from ‘C’ to 'B’. This was due to prompt close out of environmental inspection findings and securing only 100% sustainable timber for use on the project. 

Team collaboration and commitment

  • The Riverlinx team, a joint venture between BAM, Ferrovial and SK Ecoplant, delivering Silvertown Tunnel project saw one of the largest improvements due to a concerted effort across the team to lift from ‘D’ to ‘B’.

More information

Read more details of our pioneering use of cement-free and low-cement concrete here: