Measuring sustainability in civil engineering projects
Steeg, R. ter
MetadataShow full item record
The civil engineering sector has an import role to devise sustainable solutions in order to reduce the negative environmental impact of its projects. Sustainable civil engineering projects are needed to achieve, for example, the goal of the European Union to cut the 20% annual primary energy consumption of the construction industry in 2020. Currently, the sustainable performance of civil engineering projects is unknown since a standardized method that can measure sustainability in projects from different civil engineering fields is lacking. Although there are multiple tools that can assess the sustainability of specific elements in projects, a pragmatic method that has a broader view on project sustainability is not available. Therefore, this research aims to develop an sustainability indicator framework that is able to measure multiple sustainability aspects in projects from various fields of civil engineering. The research question is: How can sustainability of projects from different civil engineering fields be measured in a pragmatic and standardized way? The research has been performed on behalf of Grontmij Nederland B.V. and the University of Utrecht. The research starts with scrutinizing the most important sustainability indicators for civil engineering projects by doing literature research and interviews with civil engineers. The result is a framework that takes three important players in project development into account: the client, the civil engineering firm and the suppliers. For each player, one or more sustainability indicators are developed. Furthermore, each indicator consists of one or more checks. The client indicator checks if sustainability talks have been held with the civil engineering firm. For the civil engineering firm, three indicators are assessed: sustainability assessment tools, sustainable material-use and energy reducing measures. The sustainability assessment tools indicator checks if sustainably tools are adopted during the development of a project. The sustainable material-use indicator checks if sustainable materials are used and the energy reducing measures indicator checks if measures are applied to reduce the energy use during the use phase of a project. The supplier indicator checks if sustainable suppliers are involved in the project development. Finally, civil engineers and sustainability experts at Grontmij were asked in a workshop to weigh the importance of the indicators and checks. The result is a pragmatic sustainability assessment framework where hundred points are obtainable. By doing case study analysis, the framework is tested on four projects of Grontmij. The case studies show that the framework succeeds to measure sustainability in the projects.