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IATA and Atkins’ New Tool Will Help Measure Embodied Carbon from Airports

As the quest to reduce carbon emission continues, groundbreaking technologies are emerging that are helping us assess carbon from built environments. Spearheading this endeavor, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, have developed a new tool, the first of its kind, designed to estimate embodied carbon in terminal buildings and aviation assets at airports.

This cutting-edge solution will provide invaluable insights into the environmental impact of construction processes at airports. Embodied carbon benchmarking for terminal buildings, runways, and multi-story car parks will be provided, enabling airport development teams to understand carbon emissions better and take steps to mitigate them. 

“Decarbonizing aviation is the industry’s greatest challenge, and the industry is fully committed and making progress. However, reaching net zero by 2050 will require collective efforts from the entire industry supply chain and from policymakers. Our collaboration with Atkins on this innovative digital toolkit will help airports meet their own objectives by providing a crucial platform to evaluate and reduce carbon impacts for new airport developments,” Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President of Operations, Safety, and Security, said in the press release.

This new toolkit is designed exclusively for aviation and can be applied during the early design stage, optimizing environmental impact considerations from the start. This will enhance decision-making and drive the aviation industry towards net zero goals.

Global Construction and the Need to Measure Embodied Carbon

As concerns about climate change continue to escalate, there is a pressing need to measure and address embodied carbon in construction projects. Embodied carbon refers to the CO2 emissions associated with the entire life cycle of materials used in construction, from extraction and manufacturing to transportation and disposal. By assessing embodied carbon, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the environmental impact of our construction practices and identify areas for improvement.

Being accountable for carbon emissions will drive positive change and foster a more sustainable future. Implementing all the available technology and tools to track, measure, and reduce carbon footprints in construction projects is a crucial step toward curbing the industry’s construction environmental impact.

Now that the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we are seeing a steady increase in global aviation activity. It is now looking to implement modern technology and build greener structures to meet its net zero targets, and this tool will help the industry in achieving its goals.

Talking about the tool, Andy Yates, technical director of aviation infrastructure for Atkins said “These tools allow clients to confidently explore the vital conversations around embodied carbon reduction as airports respond to the complex challenges that surround the sector’s net zero goals. The tools have been developed by a multi-disciplinary team including architecture, airport planning, and structural design as well as carbon experts, ensuring a solution that understands the complexity and multi-faceted approach needed to assess embodied carbon.”

Achieving net zero is the goal, be it through decarbonizing mobility or using low-carbon materials. As part of the AEC industry, we must design adaptable and climate-resilient structures using all the tools available at our disposal. Calculating embodied carbon from construction processes becomes paramount as it allows us to grasp the full environmental impact of our projects. By quantifying the emissions associated with the life cycle of construction materials, we gain critical insights to make informed decisions that lead to our net-zero objectives.

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