Innovative constructor gets granular with energy data

Laing O'Rourke construction site for Wattwatchers blog post

CASE STUDY: LAING O’ROURKE PROJECT OFFICES

International engineering and construction company Laing O’Rourke are on a journey to net zero so they wanted to better understand energy use on their projects. 

Targeting a selection of project offices on construction sites around Australia, Laing O’Rourke began rolling out Wattwatchers devices in 2021 to capture energy data.

Analytical software for the project was provided by Wattwatchers’ UK-based partner, Envisij.

Deployment, scope and aims

Between November 2021 and October 2022, Wattwatchers Auditor devices were installed across 38 Laing O’Rourke construction project sites nationally.

Noting that the devices were installed to monitor the energy consumption habits of ‘project site offices only’, Laing O’Rourke established its aims as being:

  • Gather detailed data sufficient to inform the design and product selection criteria for continuous improvement of future site facilities and potential upgrades to existing facilities. 
  • Enable analysis and progress tracking towards net zero targets by logging and monitoring energy use across all construction project sites. 
  • Facilitate self-regulated and data-driven behavioural changes at project level. 
  • Enable central and automated utilities management in future.

Laing O’Rourke construction site offices, provided by Select Plant Hire, with Wattwatchers monitoring installed.

Sustainability reporting

Environmental sustainability reporting is commonplace in the construction industry, and may be tied into specific deliverables for project completion. 

The setting and measurable achievement of environmental sustainability targets may be tied into the financial and insurance facilities that large construction companies require. 

For its initiative using Wattwatchers, the energy data from the project sites was linked to the emissions profile of the power source for each site – mains power, diesel power generation or hybrid power generation (diesel + battery + renewable) – to provide a single reporting environment for project teams.

Screenshot 1 (Envisij)

Data for product development

The granular monitoring data from Wattwatchers is one of the tools Laing O’Rourke is using to guide its site facilities design for future projects.

The metering at its project sites is providing the baseline model energy to support:

  • ‘Model site office’ energy efficiency review (with consultant partner Cundall).
  • Design requirements for a solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage system power solution for an upcoming off grid site (with design partner BREC).
  • Design requirements for a generic site office, modelled for off-grid and on-grid application, with combinations of diesel and renewable power generation to determine future asset procurement requirements (with design partner CTP). 

Screenshot 2 (Envisij)

SUSTAINABILITY SNAPSHOT:  Laing O’Rourke’s mission is to be the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry. They are driving industry-wide change to create a more productive, resilient, sustainable and diverse sector. Among their ambitious sustainability goals, Laing O’Rourke has committed to decarbonise their own operations by 2030, including a 75% absolute reduction in emissions from their directly-controlled operations (Scope 1 and 2 emissions). Opportunities to abate embodied carbon, the largest source of emissions in the industry, are being investigated through targeted and collaborative research and development activities with the supply chain. Laing O’Rourke has also set a target to have equal numbers of male and female employees by 2033 and is already seeing progress. In Australia, as at September 2022, they have increased overall female participation over the past four years from 26% to 35%, almost doubled the number of women in senior leadership roles on projects from 11% to 19%, and increased their Australian Executive Committee female composition to 45%. Laing O’Rourke’s Australian headquarters, in North Sydney, are located in a tower building they completed in 2019, on behalf of property group Dexus, with a 5-Star Green Star Rating (Green Building Council of Australia), and a 5-Star NABERS Energy Rating.

More information about Wattwatchers

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