How we saved 390kg CO2e by taking the train to Valladolid

25 september 2023

For our travels to Valladolid, the hometown of our partner CARTIF, we chose a sustainable transport mode: the high speed train. On a distance of 1500 km between Brussels and the north of Spain we managed to save 390kg of CO2e.

In September there was another physical meeting of the BUILDSPACE project, this time in Valladolid, Spain. During this meeting the progress of the BUILDSPACE project was presented along with a workshop led by Nazka Mapps to gather feedback about a first set of wireframes. We divided the participants in four groups and let them give feedback with a post-it exercise to enable collaboration and cocreation. This turned out to be a win-win: the partners got to know each other better and we received some valuable feedback.


To travel from Brussels to Valladolid we opted for a sustainable transport mode: high speed rail. Within one and a half hours, we arrived in Paris-Nord railway station. And after a short metro trip to Paris-Montparnasse, we were off to Bayonne (four hours). Bayonne is the last major French city before the Spanish border. We decided to hire a rental car because the railway connection between France and Spain is not great, especially in the west, and we needed a car anyway to go from our hotel in Valladolid to the offices of CARTIF. The trip might have taken longer than travelling by plane, but was comfortable enough to work and prepare our workshop on the train.

Let's have closer look at the greenhouse gas emissions of our trip (round trip):

  • About 10 kg CO2e for the high speed train from Brussels to Bayonne
  • About 140 kg CO2e for the car trip from Bayonne to Valladolid (numbers for a medium sized car with petrol)

If we went by plane (round trip) we would emit a lot more:

  • About 525 kg CO2e for the plane from Brussels to Madrid (no direct flight to Valladolid)
  • About 15 kg CO2e for the train from Madrid to Valladolid
  • The inconvenience of always having to take a taxi from our hotel to the offices of CARTIF, not to mention the extra emissions.

After comparing different options, we used the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator by the United Nations to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions. This tool helps organisations estimate their emissions concerning various topics, including travel. When talking about impacts, it is important to calculate emissions by means of CO2e, as this also takes into account other greenhouse gasses and translates the impact into CO2 equivalents.

Taking the train was definitely the more sustainable option, in line with our mission to take our environmental responsibility seriously.


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