Zero Emission Construction Sites: Status 2019

Construction is a key industrial sector, yet climate change and air pollution are critical threats to be addressed, with severe warnings from scientists. The construction industry therefore needs to evolve and contribute towards the shift to a sustainable society. Conventional methods currently contribute to both climate and air pollution. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Innovative zero emission technologies are being developed for all sectors, including the construction sector. While a decade ago it might have been unthinkable to assume that anything bigger than a car would be electrified, technological development has defied expectations and brought solutions to a sector in desperate need for innovation. Electric construction machinery, powered by batteries or fuel-cells, offer substantial benefits to the climate and to human health, amongst a range of other benefits.

As Frederic Hauge, Founder and CEO of Bellona, says:
Electrification is one of the most important solutions globally to cut emissions, use energy more efficiently, and create better cities. Zero emission construction sites fit perfectly in this picture. It is also a sector where public developers through their procurement can have a massive impact. Back in 2016 we started a collaboration with a municipal developer in Oslo to cut emissions from construction. Three years later we have the first site in which all machinery and equipment contribute zero emissions. The progress over these few years – technological, operational, and political – has been astounding. It is now clear to see for all in this market that zero emission technology is the way forward.”

However, the availability of models is lacking. There is no demand for zero emission machinery and they are more expensive upfront. Public procurement is helping to change this, with the city of Oslo taking the lead. Large public buyers such as cities have the power to create demand for these machines, which present a benefit to the wider environment and to their own citizens. Setting ambitious, predictable targets for the reduction of emissions from construction sites is a way to encourage suppliers to innovate and develop this new market for zero emission construction machinery. Using their large procuring power, buyers can and should set climate demands in their tenders. This way we can ensure a better future for all.

The report covers:

  • Scope and Definitions
  • Emissions from Construction Sites (Greenhouse Gases, Air Pollution, Noise)
  • Benefits of Zero Emission Construction Machinery
  • The Challenges and How to Overcome Them
  • Cities’ Initiatives
  • Current Policy Advances
  • Current Market Advances

Authors: Irini Vafiadis, Mark Preston Aragones, Christian Eriksen

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