The Bottom Line Business Case for Sustainability in Infrastructure

Edge have worked with Transport for New South Wales to help optimise their investment, building a South West Rail Link that is fit for purpose and optimised over time.

Every major infrastructure project faces the challenge of making the right capital investment upfront to achieve the lowest life cycle cost. Sustainable infrastructure and the optimisation of assets are constantly evolving and being scrutinised in the value that they deliver.

The South West Rail Link is a NSW Government initiative to respond to issues of reliability and passenger growth on the metropolitan rail network and population growth in south-west Sydney. The South West Rail Link has included a major upgrade of Glenfield Station and bus/rail interchange and a new twin track passenger rail line from Glenfield to Leppington via Edmondson Park. Construction of the South West Rail Link was completed in 2014.

Infrastructure projects such as the South West Rail Link (SWRL), are significant investments and there is a responsibility by government agencies such as Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to optimise their investments and build assets that are fit for purpose and optimised over time.

To this end, Edge Environment was asked by TfNSW to help answer the following questions for the recently completed Glenfield to Leppington Rail Link (GLRL) section of the SWRL:
1. What is the bottom line value of sustainability compared with if the project hadn’t invested in sustainability to one extreme, and also compared with if the project had implemented the full suite of initiatives outlined in TfNSW’s Sustainable Design Guidelines (SDG).

2. What is the triple-bottom line performance, which incorporates environmental and social performance, of the assets in each of the scenarios?

To answer the questions, Edge calculate the environmental and financial bottom line value, and partial social return on investment potential of sustainability against the GLRL asset. In particular, we focussed on the financial bottom line using life cycle costing in accordance with the AS/NZS 4536:1999 standard.

The analysis showed that the Platinum rated GLRL would have performed better from a financial, environmental and social perspective assessed over the life of the asset (50 years was used). A snapshot of the project was presented at the Infrastructure Sustainability Council Australia’s annual conference in October 2015. The presentation is available here from ISCA’s website.

To discuss Edge’s 3 scenarios and how it could apply to your business get in touch with us.

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