NEW PRODUCTS AND INNOVATIONS New tool proves no-dig carbon savings19 Mar 2013
Pipe Jacking Association News Release
Savings of up to 75% in carbon emissions have been demonstrated by a tool that compares open cut installation with non-disruptive solutions for installing sewers and other utilities in urban highways.
The web-based comparison tool has been developed over the last 18 months on behalf of the Pipe Jacking Association by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), the international consultancy that provides research, testing and certification for all aspects of transport.
The 75% saving in carbon emissions was achieved by comparing the installation of 500m of 600mm pipeline, 6m deep, using non-disruptive techniques with open cut construction (Table 1). An additional proven benefit of the trenchless method was that it involved a construction period less than half of that for open cut. At shallower depths carbon savings are typically in the range of 50-60%.
The free and easy to use CO2 emissions calculator can produce indications of comparative emissions within seconds, and has been verified by WRc, an independent research-based consultancy that provides sustainable solutions for the protection, enhancement and maintenance of the environment.
"The findings should encourage water and other utilities to consider pipejacking, microtunnelling and other non-disruptive trenchless techniques when appraising new utility installations," said TRL Project Manager, Matthew Wayman.
The application enables the user to identify more carbon (and energy) efficient options, and can therefore assist them in meeting legally enforceable national and international reduction targets as well as voluntary reductions.
Web-based application comparison tool
Data for the calculator has been drawn from a number of authoritative sources that include the University of Bath's Inventory of Carbon and Energy for construction materials, the Concrete Pipeline Systems Association, and outputs from the UK Department for Transport's QUADRO programme (Queues and Delays at Roadworks) developed by TRL. Reports can readily be produced that not only provide comparative emissions data for open cut and non-disruptive options, they also detail data sources and assumptions utilised in the calculations.
According to the UK Department for Transport, roadworks related congestion is estimated to cost the UK economy around £4 billion a year. Successive governments have expressed concern at this situation and in early 2012 the UK Government announced enhancements to the New Roads and Street Works Act enabling local authorities to charge utility companies up to £2,500 per day for digging up busy roads at peak times.
A carbon calculator developed to highlight the reduction potential of trenchless technology had been developed by the British Columbia Chapter of the North American Society of Trenchless Technology in association with the Action on Climate Change Team (ACT) of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. The project was transferred to NYSEARCH, a New York based research group that works on behalf of North American gas and water utilities, but the project put on hold. As a result the UK Pipe Jacking Association decided to sponsor the development of a free and easy-to-use calculator and appointed TRL to carry out the project.
Apart from carbon savings and the disruption costs, open cut construction followed by reinstatement is estimated to reduce highway life by up to 30%, representing a substantial additional community cost for highway authorities.
Table 1. CO2 emissions projected by pipe jacking v open cut calculator
Open cut CO2 (tonne)
Pipejacking CO2 (tonne)
It is hoped that newly introduced 'lane rental' charges, together with readily available evidence of carbon savings, and the community cost of highway degradation occasioned by open cut installation, will encourage utilities to adopt non-disruptive trenchless options wherever and whenever possible.
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