Many times the EU Green Deal is discussed in the context of the transport and energy sector. In addition to these, also built environment is heavily contributing to the emissions. Finland has taken this into account with specific Green Deal of construction sites, where dozens of construction machinery running for months, contributing to air and noise pollution. First ones to adopt this voluntary commitment were the Ministry of the Environment, Senate Properties and the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Turku and Vantaa.
Global construction is forecast to grow 6.6% in 2021 and by 42% by 2030. With this growth comes an increased risk of pollution and waste. There is a lot of room for improvement as the global construction industry accounts for 23% of the world’s CO2 emissions across its entire supply chain. 5.5% is related to activities happening on construction sites, mainly due to the machinery which combust fossil fuels.
Yet again, goals are set in the far future. By 2030, at least 50 per cent of construction machinery and site transports will be powered by electricity, biogas or hydrogen. We should ask, why are there no baby steps measured and awarded?
Vedia has participated in several pilot projects related to construction site emissions. First one was emission-free construction Suurpellon Lukutori, Espoo in 2020. Most recently 6Aika: Future circular economy hubs in Finland (CircHubs) awarded Vedia to develop and pilot CVW -tool for working machines in Turku, Vantaa & Tampere. All together the emissions of 31 working machines were analyzed and suggestions for cutting emissions were made. The results showed that emission reduction potential without any investments but changing the way of operation was up to remarcable 35%. More reductions were available with biofuels, engine and powerline modernization, and electric machinery. All results can be found at 6Aika: ILPO-hanke vähähiilisyyttä edistävä kokeilupalveluhankinta (circhubs.fi) .
Based on these findings, it is fair to say that first emission goals should be set to coming years, not to 2030.