Zero-emission construction sites
Conventional construction works are important sources of pollution both locally and globally. The construction industry contributes 23% of the world’s CO2 emissions across its entire supply chain, and approximately 5.5% of these emissions come directly from activities on construction sites — predominantly through the combustion of fossil fuels to power machinery and equipment. As the energy efficiency of building use has been ambitiously tackled over the past decade, the focus increasingly shifts to embodied carbon: the emissions footprint of material extraction, production, transport and construction works.
Currently there is no overarching policy at EU level that addresses greenhouse gas emissions from non-road mobile machinery and equipment, as it is not included in the Clean Vehicles Directive. Policies that touch upon construction machinery specifically do not do so sufficiently to address the climate and human health challenge. As it stands today, the EU’s Non-Road Mobile Machinery Regulation only addresses carbon monoxide (CO), total hydrocarbons (HC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), thereby ignoring the CO2 impact. Without a clear regulatory mandate at the EU level, suppliers await a clear signal from big buyers to demonstrate reliable demand for zero-emission NRMM solutions.
Large electric machines are not yet widely available anywhere in the world, but a growing number of machine manufacturers are beginning to innovate under mounting pressure from public procurers and large private contractors. A number of large emission-free machines are in circulation in the Nordic countries as of 2020, though not enough to keep up with regional demand.
ACTIVITIES OF THE WORKING GROUP
The cities in the working group on zero-emission construction sites (ZemCons) were working together to develop and pilot innovative procurement actions to promote alternatives to traditionally diesel-driven non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) used to carry out public construction works (such as diggers, excavators, wheel loaders, etc.).
The City of Oslo was the first in the world to launch a zero-emission construction site, using all electric machinery to complete street renovation works at Olav Vs Gate. In 2020, fully fossil-free construction sites debuted in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Trondheim. Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest and Vienna are in the process of identifying suitable pilot sites to have their first fossil- and/or emission-free construction sites.
Who was involved?
City of Amsterdam
City of Budapest
City of Copenhagen
City of Helsinki
City of Lisbon
City of Oslo
City of Trondheim
City of Vienna
NTNU: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
LESSONS LEARNED REPORT
A report on key takeaways from the collaboration between the cities involved in the working group
CURRENT AND FUTURE PROCUREMENT PLANS
A press release on the ongoing and future pilots of the cities of Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Trondheim, Budapest and Amsterdam