The GCB now has an active webpage within the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) site.
This current page is an archive of all previous GCB information/documents and is no longer being updated

Case Studies


Anglian Water - Carbon Modelling in Sustainable Design

To mitigate climate change and to provide sustainable water and wastewater services to a growing population


Utilities - water and wastewater treatment



Anglian Water



The Project

In order to mitigate climate change and to provide sustainable water and wastewater services to a growing population, Anglian Water set some challenging goals to reduce both embodied and operational carbon.

A clear strategy of measuring, managing and reducing carbon emissions required a range of carbon models to be developed, along with a tool for design engineers to identify and optioneer between low carbon solutions.

Through 2007-2008, around 1000 carbon models were developed, ranging from complex treatment processes to reinforced concrete tanks, HPPE mains, pumps and valves. The models created took into account the carbon or energy required to extract and fabricate raw materials into products, together with transport and installation on site.

Used to create an embodied carbon baseline for each individual scheme, the models are a part of business planning and capital investment of more than £2 billion in Anglian Water’s infrastructure between 2010 and 2015.

In 2008, a proactive in-house carbon modelling tool was established and introduced. This allowed Anglian Water and its delivery partner framework engineers to calculate the embodied and operational carbon impacts of designs. The tool can be accessed online and requires design engineers to select different items of equipment and process assets, building up the carbon impacts of proposed solutions.

With the integration of carbon measurement and management into all capital schemes, there is strong evidence of correlation between carbon and capital expenditure. The benefits of carbon reduction are being delivered through a programme of intelligent design.


The Benefits

  • Reduced carbon– design engineers have risen to the challenge of reducing carbon in their designs, moving forward from the singular focus on cost and released from following standard designs. Key framework partners and suppliers have also been motivated to deliver low carbon solutions. A number of sectors, including the concrete industry, have worked hard to improve the measurement of carbon impacts of their products.  By April 2012, Anglian Water had achieved a remarkable 32% reduction in embodied carbon, delivered through intelligent design, against the 2010 baseline.


  • Materials – the reductions in embodied carbon through design not only save cost but also reduce the use of irreplaceable, finite materials and help with the provision of more sustainable assets for the future.


  • Cost – with measurement and management of carbon now fully integrated into the delivery of all capital schemes, there is strong evidence of correlation between embodied carbon and capital expenditure, and operational carbon and operational expenditure.


The Process

The key processes underpinning the project:


  • Predicted changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and meeting the needs of a growing population has meant that Anglian Water is one of the most vulnerable UK water companies to be affected by climate change.


  • In responding to this challenge, the company has set two clear goals – firstly, to halve the embodied carbon impact of assets built in 2015 from a 2010 baseline, and secondly to reduce operational carbon by 10% in real terms by 2015 from a 2010 baseline.


  • Internal conferences on climate change and a number of awareness and training sessions were held between 2008 and 2010 to highlight why managing and reducing carbon is important to Anglian Water and how emissions could be reduced.


  • Design engineers were encouraged to follow a hierarchal approach to emissions reduction through avoiding building assets, re-using existing assets, using alternative low carbon materials and building more efficiently.


  • In 2010, a robust governance process was put in place requiring all schemes to report embodied and operational carbon against the baseline on three separate occasions prior to work commencing on site.


  • The benefits of carbon reduction are being delivered through an understanding of impacts of climate change and population growth, clear organisational goals, a carbon modelling tool to measure and manage emissions and a team of design engineers focused on and enabled to deliver reductions.


Key Learning Points

To effectively measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions:


  • Clear business drivers and goals are needed as to why reducing emissions is important.


  • A process and tools are required to enable engineers to design out carbon.


  • Robust governance is required to reinforce the


End User Feedback

Design engineers using the modeller have not simply accepted the outputs of the carbon models. As awareness of embodied carbon has evolved through the organisation, a greater degree of challenge has been demonstrated from both engineers and suppliers. This has resulted in models becoming more accurate over time.


Learn more





CASE STUDY: London 2012 Olympic Park