Award-winning climate director to speak at Futureworx

By Lou Carney01 March 2022

Lara Young, Costain's Group Climate Change Director Lara Young, Costain’s Group Climate Change Director (Photo: Costain)

Sustainability and carbon champion Lara Young, Costain’s Group Climate Change Director, has been named as one of the guest speakers at this year’s Futureworx event in the UK.

Young is a recipient of several industry awards, including the Energy and Carbon Leader of the Year 2021 award presented by the edie Sustainability Awards, and a Highways UK 2020 Associate Laureate award for her commitment for driving the climate change agenda in transport.

Ahead of her appearance as a guest speaker at the upcoming Futureworx showcase and conference (31st March 2022, East of England Arena, Peterborough), Young speaks exclusively to Plantworx News about Costain’s 2035 net zero target, which includes reduction plans and interim targets for design, materials and its construction equipment fleet.

So how is Costain working to achieve a net zero plant fleet?

Young said, “Collaborating with global manufacturers and supply chain on the machines of the future to accelerate trials and testing them before they come to market and speed up industry adoption.

“In the past few years, Costain has tried and tested over 35 industry firsts that are now being used across the wider industry.”

Pointing to an example of the company’s efforts in relation to a specific project, Young said, “The London Bridge Station Upgrade project, where Costain supplied advisory, concept development, programme management and maintenance services, used telematics to monitor the use of plant machinery and provided specific eco-operator training to the team working on site.”

How did this eco-operator training impact the use of onsite machinery?

“Before the eco-operator training, the average monthly use of eco-mode was just 4%,” said Young.

“Post training, telematics data over a five-month period showed an average eco-mode use of 33%, with some machines showing as high as 90%, an average increase of 29%.”

She added, “In 2020 Costain introduced the use of telematics to equip each of its complex delivery projects to meet a 20% plant machinery idling reduction target and to become 100% emission free by 2035, as part of its Climate Change Action Plan.”

“In collaboration with all major plant and machinery supply chain partners we coordinated a contractual cross-industry plant data agreement and standard to ensure projects would benefit from a consistent and coherent data set and collection process to deliver sustainable business models and reduce carbon emissions and cost.

Young continued, “The second part of this and the bigger of the two is we are not waiting for those machines of the future to act.

“In parallel, Costain is driving behaviour change to tackle idling as the emissions generated represent a significant footprint during construction phase.

How significant is the idling time of construction equipment? 

“From what we have seen across the industry, idling times average at 45% - 50% which means the engine is running when the vehicle isn’t moving,” said Young.

“It is simply turning off the engine when it does not need to be on that will reduce emissions. We are driving behavioural change to bring down unnecessary idling and using the data to inform further change to help sustain the reduction and stop idling completely.”

She added, “Until then, we continue to actively encourage behaviour that ensures the operation of the plant machinery is carried out in the most efficient and effective way possible.”

What sort of cumulative results are you seeing from this approach to equipment idling times? 

“Data shows that in the last five months on the Tideway East project, in which Costain and its joint venture partners are working to make London’s sewerage network fit for the 21st century and help prevent the millions of tonnes of sewerage pollution discharge into the river each year, achieved an 11% reduction in its idling rate - this will be the equivalent saving of carbon emissions of 20 round trip flights from Beijing to New York,” Young said.

However, she added, “It is not just about Costain using clean energies in our plant and machinery fleet, we are part of the full life cycle and helping to shape a clean energy future proven by our work with the UK’s industrial clusters and on carbon capture and storage.”

Young concluded, “We recognise more needs to be done, at pace. At Costain we are committed to ensuring we follow through on what we have already set out to do by supporting our clients and supply chain partners in the race to net zero.”

Lara Young, alongside experts from Hexagon, Skanska, MachineMax and many more, will be speaking as part of the conference programme at this month’s Futureworx event (visit www.futureworx.uk for details of the full programme). 

The conference, which will also investigate future fuels with a panel of experts discussing how to power the machines of the future, and the exhibition showcase will take place on day two of Futureworx on the 31 March, 2022. 

Tickets are FREE and registration for day two of the event is now open. Please visit www.futureworx.uk/rsvp and enter the code FWXG22. Please note: places are limited.

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