The Sustainability Infrastructure Consortium’s highly successful ‘IS’ rating tool is an increasingly runaway success with rapid growth over the past year and now nearly $18 billion worth of projects under certification.

There is currently a major focus at a State and National level on developing key infrastructure projects. The Victorian Government recently announced a $22 billion infrastructure spend, while NSW has committed $20 billion, WA $15 billion, Queensland $10 billion, SA $5.2 billion, the ACT $2.5 billion, and the NT $1.4 billion. Just in this next term of Parliament, that’s a total of over $76 billion in the next three to four years.

The IS rating tool currently has $15.5 billion worth of projects in the registration stage that are yet to purchase products. This is a big opportunity for manufacturers of materials and products to supply to all kinds of infrastructure including, roads, highways, utilities and communications, rail and light rail corridor construction and vehicles, airports, dams, water and waste water processing plants and pipelines, tunnels, ports, seawalls, marinas, industrial parks and all their associated buildings.

The IS tool was the first built environment rating tool in Australia to introduce life cycle analysis (LCA) into the assessment of  projects and products. Products with generic or product specific LCA are recognised to attract credit points that go toward projects achieving their desired ratings. Another way for products to help projects achieve these credit points is for them to have third party certification via a recognised ecolabel such as Global GreenTag.

The benefits of using third party certification rather than relying on industry-wide LCA is that it helps differentiate products between manufacturers and enables green professionals to be able to more easily choose products with better sustainability credentials. This in turn yields the projects more points and creates more favourable prospects for those products with better ratings.

Additionally, third party certification has the benefit of being the key that unlocks the door for manufacturers to other sector rating tools such as the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star rating tools that cover all buildings, interiors and even existing buildings operations and refurbishment, as well as the EC3 Global EarthCheck hospitality and tourism venue rating tool, and the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) EnviroDevelopment rating tool.

The tool covers all products and materials used in the full range of projects that the scheme covers and has spiked major interest in manufacturers of infrastructure related products, especially in Western Australia with its numerous multi-billion road, rail and other transport projects specifically requesting GreenTag certification.

The first of the two Materials category credits, entitled ‘Materials footprint measurement and reduction,’ recognises products that reduce their life cycle impacts compared to business as usual benchmark products and means products with LCA benefit from having engaged programs such as GreenTag’s LCARate process that provides summary LCA reports, also called Environmental Product Declarations or EPDs. GreenTag is the only IS tool recognised ecolabel that also produces EPDs.

The second of the credits is called ‘Environmentally labelled products and supply chains’ and rewards products that have Type 1 ecolabel certification such as Global GreenTag.

Together these two credits are worth up to seven points with the potential to provide a project more than 18 per cent of an ‘EXCELLENT’ rating or more than 10 per cent of a ‘LEADING’ rating, giving major product and materials groups with preferred life cycle profiles a really strong growth potential.

This leverage gives manufacturers of a wide range of products and materials such as aggregates, steel, concrete, asphalt, railway and light rail vehicles, pipes and conduits, cables, membranes and water proofing, fencing and guard rails, pylons, lighting, fixed plant and equipment, landscaping, even trains – indeed any products used in any kind of infrastructure and their associated buildings and vehicles – major leverage in this explosive $76 billion marketplace.