Brightly Confirm™ leading the way on tracking local authority’s operational carbon footprint
Emissions from operate and maintain activities are often forgotten. Brightly Enterprise Asset Management software tracks the emissions generated from vehicles, materials and waste while maintaining a local authority’s assets. Not limited to highways, we measure the carbon footprint to maintain all assets in a customer's portfolio—from street lighting assets, including the energy consumption, to grounds and tree maintenance and the stored carbon, both now and in the future. Carbon intensity data uncovers areas for carbon reduction in planned versus reactive works, commuter miles, depot to site mileage as well as the impact of waste disposal and material change.
Brightly Confirm™ is an enterprise asset management system used by over 140 customers globally and currently occupy 55% of the UK highways market. Our customers vary from unitary authorities such as Bristol City Council, who use Confirm to manage everything from highways to docks, including fibre networks and EV chargers, up to National Highways, where Confirm is used to manage all operate and maintain activities across the network.
Brightly have developed a tool, CarbonZero, to allow customers to track, manage and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created through the operate and maintain activities related to their asset base.
Often, local highways authorities managing and maintaining their assets don't know where to start when measuring their GHG emissions, or they are making assumptions and big handful decisions based on total fuel or total materials used in a given year. Brightly CarbonZero is giving local authorities a means to accurately measure carbon, aligned to the Future Highways Research Group (FHRG) methodology and based on the UK government GHG conversion factors.
We are fully supportive of the work Brightly are doing to align their data with our Carbon Analyser tool allowing Confirm users the benefit of a direct integration
Simon Wilson, Founder Proving Solutions, Future Highways Research Group
The emission data is captured at a level allowing authorities to see exactly which activities are their greatest contributors to their carbon footprint, ensuring that decisions on decarbonisation strategy are based on reliable, accurate data. CarbonZero engages employees by allowing them to view the impact of activities they are part of, increasing awareness and educating them in the need for climate action.
A key outcome is providing our customers with a simple way to record the carbon associated with their activities, particularly in the operate and maintain phase of an asset's life, including reactive maintenance, planned works, cyclical maintenance and safety inspections. A large proportion of a highway authority’s activities are unaccounted for in their carbon accounting—it is this gap that we set out to close.
We chose an option that would require minimum effort from users, embedding it into their day-to-day activities. Training a planned maintenance crew at Ringway Jacobs, working on behalf of Essex County Council, took only 10 minutes and the team were positively motivated that they were doing their bit for the environment. In the four months the project has been live, 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from vehicle use and 160 tCO2e in materials for the planned jobs has been measured.
We support the Council’s commitment to net zero and want to do our part in reducing emissions from the work we do
Lyan Gray, Operations Manager, Ringway Jacobs
Our solution allows customers to capture their carbon onsite at point of use, ensuring that the data collected is accurate and timely. This data will be the foundation for an authority to calculate a baseline and carry out year-on-year tracking against that baseline, reducing the reliance on assumption-based calculations.
How is it done?
Our product is based on the FHRG methodology for recording scope 1 & 2 emissions in Local Highways Authorities. This guidance provides the industry a standard method for calculating and recording carbon, removing some of the ambiguity created by the 30+ carbon calculators identified by FHRG members alone.
Our mobile application allows users to select the type of vehicle that they are using, linked to the GHG conversion factors, and tracks their travel as they carry out their duties. Materials used as part of the activities can be recorded and the carbon calculated. Designing the product this way has meant that the end users do not need any special knowledge in GHG emissions as all the calculations happen in the background from the information that they collect on site.
We work with both local authorities and their contractors. With contractors using our tool, they are capturing both their scope 1 & 2 emissions; however, as a result they are also capturing the local authority's scope 3 emissions. This tool has overcome the challenge of authorities being able to get accurate scope 3 emission data from their supply chain.
Staffordshire County Council are part of the pioneer programme for the Future Highways Research Group (FHRG); findings from this programme will form the basis of the Carbon Calculation and Accounting Standard being written by the FHRG. Amey are delivering many of the key processes for Staffordshire, including planned & reactive maintenance, cyclic maintenance and safety inspections, to name a few. This activity is all managed in Brightly Confirm software, and we have also worked with Amey to collate the data from the activities and provide the historic emissions for 2021-2022.
Working collaboratively on this programme has created positive outcomes on our energy transition journey, with the ability to measure our emissions accurately as we step closer to reaching our net zero targets with Staffordshire County Council. This pioneering initiative is shaping future reporting, benefiting local people, places and the environment in the long-term.
Will Shipley, Environment & Sustainability Manager at Amey
The result of this work is a standard integration for Confirm customers streaming data from Confirm into the FHRG Carbon Analyser, making it seamless and effortless for customers to record the carbon footprint of their operations.
One of our key priorities is to tackle the impacts of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint from our continued highways maintenance activities. This project is helping us identify our carbon intensive areas, and where to focus and invest in carbon reduction initiatives. It is fantastic to work with FHRG, supported by our strategic partner Amey and scheduling partners Brightly on this exciting project to help pilot the industry’s future carbon tool.
Philip White, Deputy Leader at Staffordshire County Council
Through our commitment to social value, Brightly have worked with London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to value their tree stock and calculate the current and future stored carbon—the positive impact of the green infrastructure in the borough.
Brightly Confirm allows us to identify areas which have greater areas of carbon sequestration and areas where pests and diseases such as Ash Dieback may need re-planting.
Jess Bastock, Service Manager
Brightly have also been working with LBHF’s major projects team to review the planned carriageway maintenance jobs for the last 12 months, calculating the tCO2e from the materials and waste, suggesting that re-purposing the waste materials would save a third of their emissions.
The data ultimately feeds into the council's carbon reduction plan and can be used as a basis for policy change.
Over the last year, we have spoken with many authorities, consultancies, and contractors about their challenges with understanding the carbon impact of their activities. Common themes are not having the data or the expertise to calculate their emissions. We have demonstrated the solution to asset managers, climate change leads, highways directors as well as end users, who all agree that it is easy to use, requires minimum input and will provide valuable data to feed into their decarbonisation plan. Our work with the FHRG has allowed us to validate, engage and ensure the solution meets the needs of the highways industry.