Contractors should use low energy site cabins and biofuels to help cut on-site carbon emissions

Driver training, low energy site cabins and biofuels are part of a package of measures being put forward to help contractors slash carbon emissions from site operations.

The plan which has been published by the Strategic Forum for Construction in partnership with the Carbon Trust highlights measures designed to cut the industry’s carbon emissions in England by 750,000 tonnes a year. It has been developed in response to the 2008 joint government and industry Strategy for Sustainable Construction, which set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 15% by 2012.

Paul Toyne, chairman of the carbon subgroup of the Strategic Forum for Construction, said the plan sets out the scale of the task and the actions that need to be taken. “The challenge for us now is to deliver it. While many individual companies are already taking significant steps to reduce their own emissions, this plan provides the blueprint for a pan-industry approach which will enable rapid progress on reducing energy consumption while maintaining business performance.”

Temporary site cabins are identified as one of the top sources of carbon emissions and wasted energy as they are often poorly insulated and lack the controls for heating, lighting and electricity use that are increasingly found in permanent buildings. The plan estimates that £45million and 200,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved each year by using modern “green” site offices that can cut carbon emissions and energy use by 50%, or by retrofitting existing cabins to be more energy efficient.

Other measures to achieve the 15% reduction target include:

  • More fuel efficient driving for freight, waste transport and business travel, and using more fuel efficient fleet vehicles - predicted saving £90million and 270,000 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Using construction plant efficiently. This includes educating site staff on the fuel efficient use of equipment, collecting and analysing energy data from on site equipment, and enabling all mobile plant to turn off automatically when not being used - predicted saving of £19million and 84,000 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Connecting construction sites to the national grid earlier to minimise the use of diesel powered generators - predicted saving of £7million and 45,000 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Improving energy efficiency in corporate offices - predicted saving of £4million and 28,000 tonnes of CO2 per year