Emissions from construction sites need to be addressed in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from the construction sector. In contrast to other emissions related to the built environment that can be influenced over a building’s lifetime, the emissions from the construction sites are upfront.
Understanding the barriers and challenges we need to overcome to reduce these emissions is a crucial part of moving the construction sector in a more sustainable direction.
Identifying Data Gaps in Transport-related Emissions
The new report “Emission-free Construction Sites: Knowledge Gaps and Future Research Needs” stresses the urgent need to address greenhouse gas emissions in construction through research and pilot projects. The report gives insight into planning, design, environmental impact assessment, energy, waste reduction, regulations and financial incentives. Addressing data gaps in transport-related emissions and waste, it proposes enhancing collection methods, and exploring energy efficiency, battery electrification, and hydrogen technologies despite infrastructure limitations and cost barriers.
Overall, it advocates for gathering emissions data, fostering stakeholder cooperation, and aligning regulations to create a more sustainable construction industry.
The content of the report is divided into these six categories:
- Planning and designing
- Assessment of environmental impact
- Energy in construction and transport
- Waste and material resources
- Regulations and incentives
Harmonisation, Data Collection and Energy Efficiency
Building on the previously published report "Emission-free Construction Sites: Definitions, Boundaries, and Terminology – Current Status in the Nordic Countries", the new report identifies key points in regards to the knowledge gaps and research needs to achieve the goal of lowering emissions from the construction sites.
The points from the report include the need to harmonise Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies across Nordic countries, improve data collection on transportation related to emissions and waste as well as optimise energy efficiency in construction processes.
The report concludes that conventional solutions must be challenged, and new innovative solutions need to be developed and tested in real projects. Therefore, the report emphasises the urgency of identifying obstacles and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during construction.
Current Challenges and Need for Future Research
The report recognises challenges and barriers to reduce emissions from the construction sites. These includes infrastructure limitations and costs associated with advancements like battery electrification and hydrogen technologies. Overall, the report underscores the importance of gathering emission data, fostering dialogue among stakeholders and harmonising regulations.
The report advocates for research-backed decisions among stakeholders, highlighting the industry's need for extensive research, testing and pilot projects to drive change.
Read the report on “Emission-free construction sites: Knowledge gaps and future research needs” here